When projects grow into something larger and more complex than traditional methods can easily support, you need a tool that’s specifically built for the job.
Most of us have used things like spreadsheets, index cards, sticky notes (or maybe even napkins…) to organize project tasks, especially in our personal lives. But when projects grow into something larger and more complex than those methods can easily support, and especially when these projects are intended to deliver some type of benefit to your organization, you need a tool that’s specifically built for the job. So, what is project portfolio management (PPM), and what can using PPM software do for you? Well — a lot.
Before we dive into the benefits of PPM software, let’s first cover a basic definition of project portfolio management, or PPM. Essentially, a project portfolio is a portfolio that contains all of your department’s ongoing projects. Formalized PPM gives you a high-level view of all projects that are currently in progress, allowing you to see how and where your time, financial resources and talent are being put to use. This high-level view also lets you see the extent to which your ongoing projects are aligned with your overall objectives.
Waterfall, Agile, Kanban, Card Wall, basic task lists — all these project methodologies should be available within your PPM software because you need to fit the methodology to the project (and project team) and not the other way around. And for some projects, a hybrid approach that combines elements of more than one of these is the way to go. By “right-sizing” your project plans for the project you’re undertaking and the team of resources that will be doing the work, you are setting yourself up for success.
With project portfolio management, you get comprehensive support for all projects, regardless of size, complexity or simplicity.
Leverage an intake framework, which will help you compile, analyze and evaluate the data required to decide which ideas should become projects and which projects should be approved.
Project teams are more effective when they can seamlessly collaborate. Sharing notes, discussing issues and risks, and understanding status updates in real time contribute to top-notch project performance.
When it comes to project management, there is no bigger mantra than transparency. Gain a consolidated view of projects across the team with custom views and the ability to export or publish publicly.
Quickly and effectively plan projects using the right methodology for the job. Speed planning with project templates to support all maturity levels, from simple to complex, using the right fit for each project.
Quickly measure and report on the activities, issues, risks and tasks that have the biggest impacts on successful project completion. Set custom alerts for specific deviations, project health and project status.
Resource constraints are often reported as the No. 1 issue facing IT organizations. PMOs need a clear view of all work and resources across the portfolio for resource capacity planning.
Sometimes incidents and service requests need to become projects — and sometimes projects kick off service requests. With a single platform approach, you can manage both in one place, on one platform.
Eliminate surprises and identify potential roadblocks before they occur with a portfolio approach. Establish the framework to keep projects on track, aligned with goals and ensure completion on time and budget.
While many of your projects might be centered within the IT department, you may also work on projects with other departments like Facilities, Marketing, Human Resources, etc. There are a few things you should consider, and that your PPM software should help with.
First is, of course, collaboration. When project work is spread across departments, being able to communicate project-related information clearly and effectively is essential. And speaking of communication, you need to do so with a common language. By communicating with easy-to-understand and jargon-free dialog, you will avoid confusion and foster stronger relationships between departments — and that’s a good thing.
Project teams can range in size depending on the scope of a project. And those resources are often splitting time between multiple projects, or between projects and support tickets. Resource capacity planning allows you to fine tune resource allocation so that everything is covered, and certain team members aren’t underutilized while others are redlining — making everyone more productive.
A recent survey revealed that organizations that operate at the high end of the project management maturity scale are 2.5 times more likely to deliver projects both on schedule and on budget. PPM software will help you forecast project budgets and track resources’ time against that budget so you can make on-the-fly adjustments as needed to keep the project on course.
If your organization has a specific objective it wants to accomplish, there may be numerous projects that contribute to that overall effort — each with its own timeline, budget and resources. PPM software that allows you to look across all projects within a portfolio is vital. By managing with a portfolio approach — rather than managing projects in isolation — stakeholders can see how everything is tracking and aligned to their overall strategy.
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