10 Reasons Why Project Managers Need Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

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1 10 Reasons Why Project Managers Need Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

2 Introduction Many project managers might think they are doing just fine with spreadsheets or basic project management software and fear that a project portfolio management (PPM) solution will create more work for them. The truth is PPM has merits not just for executive management but for project managers also. While it may seem like a daunting initiative to get PPM implemented, in the long run it will pay off and actually improve everyday life. Below are ten reasons why you need PPM and some examples of how it can accelerate your career. 1. Prevent overworked resources We have all experienced a failed project. In fact, most project managers have had a project fail in the past 12 months, which is not surprising considering the industry average for project success hovers around 50%. While project failure can be defined in many ways late, overbudget, or not meeting requirements the reason for many failures is typically related to resources. At all levels, people are simply being asked to do more, and they are taking on more work than they can handle because they want to be viewed as collaborative team members. These behaviors are causing resources to be over-allocated and overworked. The effects of overworked resources ripple through the organization. For example, in many situations, individuals are forced to make their own prioritization decisions for their assigned work resulting in some projects not receiving fair share of the resource s time or effort to be successful. Secondly, when resources feel like they are overworked, they can easily become disengaged, tired, or overwhelmed which results in sub-optimal execution of assignments. Lastly, team members may feel like Project portfolio management solutions help organizations maintain the proper utilization of resources, ensuring they are always working on the highest priority work. 2

3 they must work on everything, every day causing partial completion on all work and nothing entirely completed or delivered. All of these situations hurt a project manager s ability to deliver successful projects. Project portfolio management solutions help organizations maintain the proper utilization of resources, ensuring they are always working on the highest PPM provides powerful modeling and impact analysis of your resource capacity using what-if scenario planning priority work. By understanding true resource capacity and allocating resources appropriately, organizations will see an increase of successful projects because over allocated and overworked resources are easily identified and quickly addressed. 2. Ensure alignment with the business As a project manager, you play a crucial role in propelling your organization forward through successful delivery of initiatives. You have likely mastered project execution through the effective use of project plans, task tracking, process, and status updates. These efforts result in on-time and on-budget project completions. On the surface this sounds like a win, but it is not enough in this hyper-competitive world. As a project manager, you need to think beyond delivery or execution and look at how your efforts align with business needs. Projects that are aligned to business needs are commonly higher profile and come with several benefits: PPM solutions provide a broad set of capabilities including scoring, prioritization, portfolio Make a bigger impact with your time and efforts organization, and dashboards to better Increase recognition and internal visibility upon delivery understand how requested demand and approved Lower risk of cancellation or being put on hold projects align with business needs. Create more internal support during execution phases 3

4 All too commonly we focus on completing the project or task without understanding why it important to the business. By understanding how well aligned the project work is to the business, you will naturally find yourself taking actions that will contribute more value over the course of execution not just completing something that was handed or assigned to you. PPM solutions provide a broad set of capabilities including scoring, prioritization, portfolio organization, and dashboards to better understand how requested demand and approved projects align with business needs. While project managers will always be expected to deliver, supplementing successful delivery with quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure business alignment will increase your impact on the bottom line. 3. Accountability across the organization As a project manager, stakeholders always hold you accountable for delivery of projects and initiatives under all circumstances. When a project becomes derailed, you are responsible for developing contingency plans and persevering through the adversity, even if the reason for derailment was out of your control. Bottom line is that you must honor your commitments and the buck stops with you. A PPM solution enables project managers to hold their team members and stakeholders accountable for their commitments. While this may be an unavoidable fact of project management, the reality is that you do not have to carry all of the weight on your shoulders. With proper access to data through PPM software, you can convey responsibilities and reduce the personal pressure or stress. A PPM solution enables project managers to hold their team members and stakeholders accountable for their commitments. These commitments can include delivering tasks, meeting deadlines, or simply not pulling resources onto lower priority projects. PPM will provide reports of your resources current allocation, facilitate creation of project milestones, and measure time actuals against project estimates. By consolidating this information into a single view, project managers can create a culture of accountability where everyone understands their roles, responsibilities and expectations, which increases your chances of project success. 4

5 4. Create accurate project forecasts A project manager s forecast is a personal commitment to the organization. The ability to accurately forecast project schedules directly affects your reputation as a project management professional. PPM solutions provide the necessary tools to create accurate forecasts, most specifically: Capacity and demand planning of resources Dashboards for data-driven decision making Access to real-time data for communicating and making course corrections PPM solutions provide the necessary tools to create accurate forecasts What-if scenario planning to analyze the impact of potential changes A PPM solution will provide an opportunity to upgrade from static data in spreadsheets to a holistic set of real-time capabilities that injects confidence in your committed forecasts. 5. Deliver more on-time and on-budget projects As a project manager, you are typically measured by your ability to deliver projects on-time and on-budget. However, sometimes situations arise that are outside of your control resource changes, strategy shifts, and customer fallouts to name a few. When changes occur, your ability to stay on-track can severely be hindered, not to mention your ability to justify why. PPM solutions provide justifications through reports and dashboards that PROJECTS PROJECTS ON-TIME ON-BUDGET leverage real-time data for clearly communicating to stakeholders. In fact, organizations who adopt portfolio management have proven to deliver higher rates of on-time and High Low High Low Maturity Maturity Maturity Maturity on-budget projects. PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT MATURITY Source: PMI Pulse of the Profession

6 6. Become a trusted advisor Project managers are already trusted with leading some of the organizations most impactful projects and initiatives. When project managers utilize the capabilities of a PPM solution, they put themselves in the role of a trusted advisor for several situations. PPM solutions enable project managers to take a leadership position and communicate future resource requirements to accomplish organizational goals. One of the biggest challenges for management is to accurately forecast or predict the resource needs of the organization 3, 6, or even 12 months in advance. However, many project managers are in a position to assess resource gaps but do not always communicate the data due to political or cultural concerns. The concern is that you may be viewed as complaining or looking for an excuse why certain initiatives are not being completed per schedule. Or, maybe you do convey concerns, but without the supported data, stakeholders fail to take them seriously. PPM solutions enable project managers to take a leadership position and communicate future resource requirements to accomplish organizational goals. When there is organizational agreement to use your PPM software as the system of record, the political and cultural concerns are eliminated. Your role is to effectively communicate information in a consumable format. PPM software is configurable, enabling you to present actionable data in a format that your stakeholders will understand. You can then take a proactive role in getting stakeholders involved and flagging risks early to help resolve issues before they occur adding personal credibility and establishing yourself as a trusted advisor for the organization. 7. Better communication and reporting You may think that you are providing sufficient communication about projects and initiatives. However, the reality is that most project managers only report out when things are going well or in the green. While this makes us feel good and keeps us under the radar, it does not help the organization. Your stakeholders and management team are looking for ways to help you by removing roadblocks, A PPM solution will provide several configurable reports and dashboards to facilitate communicating with all stakeholders 6

7 making prioritization decisions, and providing guidance. If they are only aware of on-track projects, then there is little opportunity for them to add value to the discussion. You miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of an attentive, supportive management team. More specifically, Gartner research found that 80% of business executives believe that project managers should provide Innotas highlights business alignment of projects through accurate status reports (the good, the configurable dashboards and reports of your portfolio. bad, and the ugly), but only 33% felt that project managers are actually doing it well. Providing inaccurate or fluffed data causes further damage because warning signs of wasted efforts are covered up rather than communicated. Reporting is simply a gap in most organizations and this gap directly impacts the organization s performance. A PPM solution will provide several configurable reports and dashboards to facilitate communicating with all stakeholders from team members, to management, and the line of business (LOB). Project managers need to drive healthier conversations that foster better decision making. 8. Increase flexibility and business agility Organizations are striving to become more agile, not just in their development methodology, but their overall approach to running the business. Unfortunately many project managers have not fully embraced this concept because the implications are not always clear. Too often, project managers are viewed as rigid, inflexible, and unable to adapt to changing business needs. PPM solutions enable you to assess, absorb, and quickly react to changes in your environment. You can do this with PPM by: Communicating the impact of resource changes to your team Providing data to demonstrate how critical a particular resource is to the team and giving alternatives to any proposed reallocations 7

8 Demonstrating how you already have a lack of resources and how changes would further affect your team With organizations becoming more agile, project managers must find ways to adapt to the change. PPM solutions can facilitate the transition by providing planning and budgeting capabilities that agile development lacks, and giving project managers measurable metrics to keep moving forward. 9. Helping you say no As a project manager, you likely aim to please. It s gratifying to be the one that helped deliver that difficult project, overcame obstacles, and beat the odds; but sometimes it is okay to say no. This does not mean defying your manager or stakeholders and refusing to follow directives. However, it is okay to pushback when the directive does not make business sense or is not setup for success: When you do not have enough (or the appropriate) resources to successfully complete a project, yet you still agree to the timeline When a resource is pulled and you do not clearly communicate the consequences When the requested work is not urgent AND important. Many times important things can wait and things that cannot wait are not important. Do not let disruptions distract you from achieving the goals or meeting desired business outcomes. PPM solutions incorporate planning capabilities to help you demonstrate the impact of pulled resources, approving low value projects, or resource capacity shortfalls. Learning to say no is about forcing the organization to prioritize and stay focused on commitments. PPM solutions incorporate planning capabilities to help you demonstrate the impact of pulled resources, approving low value projects, or resource capacity shortfalls. Sometimes it takes a little data and pushback to get the conversation started with stakeholders. Having a data-driven PPM system to help you analyze and communicate the challenges can make the difference between being heard or ignored. 8

9 10. Increase Collaboration Your team most likely utilizes chat solutions like Skype, HipChat, or Slack and shared document solutions like Box, Dropbox, or Sharepoint. The problem with collaboration is that project managers focus too much on collaborating with project team members for the purposes of executing tasks and achieving milestones. The missing link with this approach is collaborating up, down and across your organization with key stakeholders, your management, and lines of businesses (LOBs). Too often the impact of daily decisions your team makes to complete project work affects other areas of the organization. It is crucial for project managers to think about how they can increase collaboration beyond their immediate project teams. PPM solutions provide dynamic capabilities to foster conversation and collaboration with the entire organization. PPM solutions provide dynamic capabilities to foster conversation and collaboration with the entire organization. You can proactively collaborate without adding the additional overhead of gathering, consolidating and organizing real-time data. Since PPM systems provide access to real-time data, you can be confident when walking into a meeting, ad-hoc discussion, or strategic PMO conversation. Conclusion As a project manager you must not get complacent in your current approach of spreadsheets and outdated project management tools. Push projects further and demand accountability from your organization much like they demand results from you. Raise the bar with PPM and realize the true potential of projects, your team, and most importantly, yourself. Want To Learn More? Check Out These Assets: Whitepaper: Building a Business Case For PPM Read Whitepaper Data Sheet: Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Product Details Read Data Sheet Video: Innotas PPM Overview Watch Video 9

10 About Innotas Innotas, the leading provider of Cloud Portfolio Management solutions, delivers a seamless way to manage projects, resources and applications across the enterprise. Innotas solves the challenge of visibility and tracking the portfolio of IT and Product Development projects. The solution aligns effort and budgets to meet company goals, while enabling prioritization and agility for planning resource capacity. The result is a standardization of work execution across silos of project management teams. Innotas solutions include Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Application Portfolio Management (APM), Predictive Portfolio Analysis (PPA), Resource Management, Agile Portfolio Management, and the Innotas Integration Platform. Innotas is rated as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Based Project and Portfolio Management Services and a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis. Founded in 2006, Innotas is headquartered in San Francisco and has hundreds of customers nationwide, across healthcare, government, education and other industries. For more information, visit or call Innotas 111 Sutter Street, Suite 300 San Francisco, CA Tel: Toll-free: Innotas. All rights reserved.

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