Choosing the Right Project and Portfolio Management Solution

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1 Choosing the Right Project and Portfolio Management Solution Executive Summary In too many organizations today, innovation isn t happening fast enough. Within these businesses, skills are siloed and resources are misaligned. As businesses seek to speed innovation and meet their growth and revenue targets, they have to get maximum utility out of all their investments including in the areas of IT infrastructure, product development and human resources. Toward that end, an enterprise s project and portfolio management (PPM) can either be a huge ally or significant adversary. That s why, when making a change in PPM platforms, it s so vital to make the right choice. This buyer s guide is intended to help those decision makers tasked with making this critical buying decision focusing on the characteristics that help enterprises address both their immediate and longer term needs. This guide shows how, by leveraging a PPM platform that delivers both top-down, strategic portfolio management as well as bottom-up project management capabilities, organizations can maximize the ROI of their investments over the long term. It also shows how such capabilities as agile planning and application portfolio management increasingly represent essential requirements for speeding innovation in today s organizations. Introduction A rapidly evolving technology landscape and intensified business demands continue to place an increased premium on agility and performance and a decreased margin for error for today s organizations. Managing today s enterprises means contending with two key mandates: Working smart. While the demands for capabilities and performance continue to grow, budgets remain tight. Consequently, maximizing the success of every project and only taking on the right projects in the first place is an imperative. Speeding innovation. Organizations need to adapt to change and deliver new capabilities with increasing rapidity. Consequently, it s imperative that organizations squeeze maximum innovation out of each investment. In order to meet these pressing demands, effective PPM capabilities can be an integral asset and the lack thereof can be a tremendous liability. With effective PPM capabilities, organizations can speed time to market for new products and services, better prioritize and allocate resources, improve the success rates of projects, reduce project costs, and better exploit innovation. For years, research firms have surveyed enterprises and showed that successful PPM solutions enable organizations to boost the number of projects by 35%, reduce project costs by 37%, and reduce project failure rates by 59%. However, those kinds of results only get realized with the right PPM platform 1. Today s enterprises have a broad array of choices when it comes to PPM solutions. PPM vendors range from Fortune 50 enterprises to early stage market entrants. Solutions range from comprehensive suites to narrow point solutions. Delivery options range from complex, on-premise deployments with extensive development and integration work to pay-as-you-go SaaS options. For decision makers, finding the right solution is a matter of mapping the organization s top priorities and objectives to a platform s capabilities and strengths. This buyer s guide provides decision makers with insights into the key factors to look for in choosing the optimal PPM platform, outlining the capabilities and attributes that distinguish leading solutions and that help ensure a PPM investment delivers maximum return on investment in the long term.

2 Criteria #1: Comprehensive capabilities for the entire enterprise If the business landscape of the past year or two has revealed anything, it s that change is accelerating, and at an increasingly feverish pace. Given that, it s important to start with a focus both on immediate priorities and the increasingly volatile and hard-to-predict future. Toward that end, decision makers need to look at the breadth of capabilities a PPM platform provides and the degree to which it can accommodate longer term and more holistic objectives. For example, even if the immediate objectives for PPM are solely focused on the needs of the IT organization, it is important to assess the extent to which a PPM platform can support product development and other business units. The more comprehensive and flexible the PPM platform s capabilities are, the better equipped it will be for use across the entire project and services lifecycle and throughout an enterprise. By adopting a platform with this kind of extensibility and comprehensiveness, organizations can most fully realize the value and return on their PPM investments. Following are several key capabilities to look for in identifying a PPM platform that offers the broad utility required: Comprehensive role support. An effective PPM solution has to provide a common technology platform, yet one that can be configured to support a number of specific purposes and use cases, both within and across departments. Business-level configuration. Some adjustments may be necessary by role or by department. This may be as simple as creating forms, object actions, or using a design wizard for custom attributes. An example would be tailoring the solution for a Finance department where compliance attributes for Sarbanes-Oxley or Basel iii may be necessary. This business-level configuration should not require a programmer to implement. Enterprise-wide reporting and dashboards. It is vital to have a PPM platform that can provide management with a top-level, unified view of projects, resources, budgets, requirements, and timelines from across the enterprise. Global support. Even if the initial deployment scope of a PPM platform is within a single region, that can change quickly. That s why it s important to look for platforms that can, with a single instance, provide capabilities for supporting multiple locales, languages, and currencies. To meet the above objectives, organizations may be considering an integrated solution from a single vendor or selected functionality from a variety of vendors. If this is the case, be sure to look closely at the practical aspects of integrating these combined solutions. For example, how much customization and integration effort is required? Will a single user need to have multiple licenses? Does each solution offer a consistent user interface? These types of considerations can play a big role in the ultimate adoption and total cost of ownership of a PPM platform. Criteria #2: Short-term adaptability Often, organizations require PPM support for shorter term initiatives. To support an organization over the long term, a PPM platform should be adaptable to support these more ad hoc, near-term projects and objectives. It s important to find solutions that offer the agility required to be configured and deployed to support these demands, both affordably and efficiently. Toward that end, look for platforms that offer: SaaS capabilities that enable quick rollout and the fast addition of users and use cases Flexible pricing options that don t require big upfront investments or long-term commitments Preconfigured content that enables fast user training and deployment Fast, easy scale and contraction, so organizations can both support quick-turn projects and reduce users and resources after a project is complete 2

3 Criteria #3: Strategic portfolio management When assessing PPM platforms, decision makers should look for robust, strategic capabilities that enable effective strategic portfolio management. Optimal solutions should help provide cohesive insights across investments to help leadership determine which efforts have the best prospects for high returns. Further, these platforms should facilitate the process of capturing market input and feeding that directly into development planning. While many of today s options are very strong at a bottoms-up approach to portfolio planning, it is important to consider solutions that can bring together a wide array of strategic plans into a top-down view that can help make smarter portfolio decisions. Effective PPM platforms need to: Facilitate and streamline the capture, rank, and use of customer ideas, and enable team members to move seamlessly from ideas to roadmap planning. Enable the community to suggest and vote on ideas. Then, team members should be able to seamlessly integrate ideas into a product backlog, for example as a product requirement. Equip managers with what-if analysis capabilities that make it easy to consider the impact of changes to the portfolio, helping expose potential interdependencies and prevent unintended results. An example of a portfolio dashboard 3

4 Criteria #4: Application portfolio management PPM platforms should support decision makers in determining which applications are meeting goals and which are not. Today, a big part of this is making the best decisions surrounding whether to optimize, update, or retire an on-premise application, or move the capabilities into the cloud. To meet these objectives, following are some essential capabilities the PPM platform should deliver: Facilitate the creation of an accurate inventory of the applications in your portfolio, including interdependencies among different applications. Deliver pre-defined content that walks users through the decision model for ascertaining whether an application is a candidate for migration to the cloud. Support the assignment of the business value associated with every application in the portfolio. Enable the specification of the technical condition of each application in terms of quality, performance, and availability. Equip users with an ability to rate applications based on their strategic fit within their associated architecture. Further, it is optimal to leverage platforms that marry application portfolio management and project management. For example, after an organization makes a decision to retire an application, the platform should automatically kick off a new project to facilitate this application retirement, featuring pre-configured templates that walk project leads through the required next steps, such as putting together the team needed. Rationalize current & future applications based on business criteria 4

5 Criteria #5: Robust demand management There are two areas to consider when managing demand. First, how can you capture the demands of the business and align them with your strategic goals? Second, what is your ability to meet that demand with the resources available? This includes managing the human resources needed to execute work, along with other factors such as budget, materials, and assets. The right solution should enable you to: Capture and manage current time utilization and costs, and measure the capacity available for additional work. Leverage the power of the crowd to identify the highest value ideas and provide customers and partners with a voice into the development of the roadmap of future products and services. Report on actual performance, and compare results against targets, and to drill down into interactive, real-time dashboards that can be configured to meet the specific needs of stakeholders at all levels of the business. Optimize product portfolios and corresponding product roadmaps with a holistic view of the entire innovation portfolio including new ideas, requirements, current development projects and in-market product performance, along with strategies and priorities for all levels of the organization. Holistic view of product roadmaps Robust demand management enables organizations to get the buy in from both business and IT on an agreed upon investment model which can decrease incoming demand between 50-80%. How? Only the demand that fits into the agreed upon strategic objectives gets filtered into the portfolio saving time and money. 5

6 Criteria #6: Flexible project management To support an organization s long-term project management efforts, a PPM platform must accommodate a range of development approaches, including those in place currently and those that may be adopted in the future. Look for platforms that can support such development approaches as waterfall, Agile, phase-gate, standard, and more. This requires the following pre-defined content: Project methodology and defined attributes, which streamlines new project creation Standard dashboards and reports for tracking success Pre-built workflows and portlet views to expedite adoption Automated synchronization that ensures a project s updates is aligned with its associated process Given many organizations are beginning to adopt Agile planning, it is important to leverage platforms that offer the flexibility to do some or all of a project in Agile. At the same time, even if multiple approaches are used, results should still be rolled up into a normalized portfolio. Criteria #7: Unified resource management To be effective, a PPM platform should provide unified capabilities for resource management and capacity planning. Toward that end, look for platforms that enable team members to: Track availability of full-time employees and contractors, both by role and each individual Filter reports by role to see what projects and what areas are utilizing that role Compare resource utilization with capacity to identify resources available for new projects Effective resource management is the one of the most apparent ways to gain efficiencies that can turn into immediate innovation efforts. Criteria #8: Agile and requirement planning By enabling the rapid adoption of new development methodologies such as Agile planning, PPM platforms can help speed innovation. Toward this end, it is imperative to align requirement planning with demand management. This requires the following capabilities: Real-time visibility of the relationships between requirements, which is vital for avoiding duplication and facilitating the management of each detail required. A traceability matrix that provides a visual representation of the requirement s origin and lifecycle. Management of in-depth user stories, backlogs, and sprints once a requirement is advanced to the development stage. Details on individual sprints, along with information on development teams, user stories and overall capacities. Simplified time entry that eliminates the need for separate pages, systems or forms, along with support for updates from mobile devices. Project watch lists that provide executives with the information they need to assess top projects, and filter views by areas of interest. 6

7 Support for Agile planning Criteria #9: Effective collaboration support PPM platforms should enhance collaboration, both within and across teams, organizations, and regions. To streamline efforts and encourage user engagement, PPM platforms should: Foster the capture, sharing, prioritization, and sorting of ideas, and enable the efficient submission of these ideas into the appropriate development phase. Offer support for mobile devices. Deliver built-in collaboration tools including alerts and updates, document management, threaded discussions, calendars, action items, and workflow processes. Provide such capabilities as virtual walls for Agile development users that enable distributed teams to collaborate and share visibility. Criteria #10: Insights that fuel business alignment Given the nature of the role they serve, PPM platforms can play a huge role in the improved alignment of IT and business. To maximize this potential, PPM platforms should combine the visibility needed to do top-down strategic planning and bottom-up project and program management. Following are some of the more important requirements for supporting IT and business alignment: Capabilities for clearly aligning top-level strategies with resources, requirements, and schedules throughout the innovation lifecycle Rich reporting and what-if analysis capabilities that enable deep investigation of potential project impacts Reporting and dashboards that can be tailored by role Fast, effective, and current tracking of actual versus planned costs Pre-configured reports and dashboards that provide the key visibility required for management objectives On demand dashboards that provide intuitive and holistic views of KPIs 7

8 Toward this end, PPM platforms shouldn t require manual data exports or technical team involvement in order for managers to obtain the reports and dashboards required. Further, look for PPM platforms that provide strong configuration management database functionality that can help managers understand the potential impact of changes made to components of business services and reduce the risk of outages when changes are enacted. Criteria #11: Flexible deployment and ease of use The true value of any PPM platform will only be realized if it is used extensively by all the team members that need it. Consequently, the ease of a platform s deployment and use is a critical factor in the ultimate returns of a PPM investment. Following are a few key considerations to take into account in terms of deployment: SaaS, hosted, and on-premise options. The less time and resources required to implement a solution, the faster an organization can recoup its costs. In this regard, the availability of a PPM solution that is delivered via a SaaS or hosted model can be a tremendous benefit. For those organizations that require on-premise deployment, carefully assess the integration effort required and the platform s support for the infrastructure in place. Broad deployment support. It is imperative for decision makers to choose a platform that offers support for their organization s existing databases, servers, and defect tracking systems. In addition, support for multiple browsers and server platforms is also vital in ensuring broad usage and deployment. Configuration rather than customization. Advanced PPM platforms shouldn t require the extensive investment of technical staff time in order to be tailored to the specific needs of the business. Project managers should be able to do the bulk of the configuration required via an intuitive interface. Further, to facilitate user acceptance and to maximize user productivity on the new platform, following are some key requirements: Ease of use. The PPM platform shouldn t require costly training for users to be able to work with and be productive with the new platform. Consistent user interface. By providing a consistent user experience across all key modules or capabilities, a PPM platform reduces the user s learning curve, boosts productivity, and enhances platform adoption. Pre-packaged training and support capabilities and content. Training and support materials are critical to ensuring the effective and consistent use of the PPM platform. Search for PPM platforms that offer pre-packaged training and support content, and robust capabilities for centrally managing these materials. These capabilities should be backed by strong self-service and knowledge management functionality. With these capabilities, organizations can streamline the development and delivery process and ensure users always get the current, useful resources they need, when they need them. 8

9 Buyer s Evaluation Worksheet Evaluation Criteria Weighting Vendor 1 Vendor 2 Vendor 3 Comprehensive role support Business-level configuration Enterprise-wide reporting and dashboards Global support Short-term adaptability Strategic portfolio management Application portfolio management Robust demand management Flexible project management Unified resource management Agile and requirement planning Effective collaboration support SaaS, hosted, and on-premise options Broad deployment support Configurability Ease of Use Pre-packaged training and support capabilities and content 9

10 Conclusion When looking to adopt a new PPM platform, senior executives will have key near-term objectives that absolutely have to be addressed if any investment is to be deemed a success. However, when making these investment decisions, it s also important to balance these critical near-term requirements with the need to address more holistic, enterprise-wide, and long-term objectives. By finding a PPM solution that bridges these twin demands, organizations can be well positioned to wring maximum value from their PPM investments. To help decision makers that are kicking off a new PPM platform evaluation, CA Technologies also offers a request for proposal (RFP) template. This template provides a comprehensive list of criteria in an easy-to-use format that facilitates the initiation of the RFP process. Copyright 2012 CA. All rights reserved. All trademarks, trade names, service marks and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies. This document is for your informational purposes only. CA assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information. To the extent permitted by applicable law, CA provides this document as is without warranty of any kind, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. In no event will CA be liable for any loss or damage, direct or indirect, from the use of this document, including, without limitation, lost profits, business interruption, goodwill or lost data, even if CA is expressly advised in advance of the possibility of such damages.

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