Project, Portfolio Management (PPM) for the Enterprise Whose System is it Anyway?

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1 Project, Portfolio Management (PPM) for the Enterprise Whose System is it Anyway? Protecting Your Investment with a Bottom-up Approach Revised December 2012 Heather Champoux, PMP

2 Contents Introduction...2 Common PPM Deployment Challenges...3 The Importance of Understanding Maturity...5 Deployment Tips...9 PPM Branding PPM Tools that Address Today s Challenges Conclusion... 18

3 Introduction There are many factors to consider when assessing your PPM (Project Portfolio Management) needs across your organization. It occurs more often than not that financial constraints or time to market requirements outweigh the critical need to truly understand and evaluate the original need for this organizational change. Of course that's not to say that those seeking PPM disciplines and applications don't have objectives in mind; but, whose objectives are they and how can you meet those objectives by enforcing a tool or discipline that only benefits those at the top? Well, in my mind the answer is simple...you can't. The most common mistake made in PPM deployments is the inability to define all stakeholders, their challenges, their tools and processes, and most importantly their current state of organizational project management maturity. An effective strategy for PPM implementation addresses all of the following areas: - Who will be using the system? - What are their current PPM challenges? - What tools and processes are they using today? Very similar to branding, which I'll touch on a bit later, knowing and understanding your target audience will undoubtedly result in higher user adaption, leading to overall acceptance and maximized ROI. The following topics will be covered in this document: 1. Common PPM Deployment Challenges 2. PPM Maturity Users and Capabilities 3. PPM Deployment Tips 4. PPM Branding 5. PPM Tools that Address Today s Challenges For additional details about EPM Live and its PPM capabilities and features, please visit EPM Live s website at 2

4 Common PPM Deployment Challenges Before we get into the various areas where maturity can be measured, let's first discuss three common challenges that can potentially cause a negative impact on PPM deployments. #1 - One solution rarely fits the needs of all users An enterprise system typically isn t tailored to meet all teams /users needs. Yet, an enterprise system is just that, a tool to be shared and used by the entire organization. The problem is that most teams in an organization work differently. They have different processes, they follow different leaders, and they have different areas of focus which results in different work. A PPM system must allow you to define your enterprise needs and then customize the tool to meet the needs of individual teams or departments. If each user understands that the tool will meet their needs and resolve their pain points, everyone wins. Executives get to see what they need across the enterprise and individual teams can work the way they work to make the tool effective. Usability equals success in an enterprise system; the data outputs are only as good as the information going into the tool. # 2 A PPM system rarely accommodates all other work that affects your project resources For example, where in my PPM system can I find my service request ticket that is affecting my ability to complete my project tasks on time? There are several components of PPM that are essential and the most important one is resource management. If you can t effectively manage your resources how will you end up with a quality product within budget and delivered on time? Once again, the answer is, you can t. In order to perform the resource management functions needed to obtain project success you must capture all work, not just project tasks. Let s say that Jim and Bill are working on my project and I can t figure out why they are so far behind on their tasks. I go into the PPM system and I see that they are only 50% allocated to three projects combined. As a PM that doesn t give me the insight needed to effectively manage my resources. It also doesn t help Jim and Bill with productivity because most likely they have a different system for every type of work they are managing. The solution? Your PPM system must have the ability to manage all work associated with all resources so that you can properly manage your organization s most valuable assets your resources. If you can remove the silos of information spread across your organization and accommodate all work in one solution, not only will you increase productivity but you could potentially reduce significant costs by eliminating unnecessary infrastructure, reducing the need for dedicated system expertise and removing the ongoing expense of maintaining redundant systems. # 3 - PPM systems seldom represent a complete portfolio, making visibility into all investments impossible Have you ever looked at your project portfolio in your PPM system and wondered why you are only seeing $265,000 worth of projects when you know you have allocated three times that amount for execution? Projects are everywhere, not just in your PMO or IT departments. You buy into project management because it proves to be valuable. It is worth investing dollars to hire project managers to manage the large projects; it's almost like buying insurance. You need to protect your original investment of saying "yes" let's execute on it! But an organization's portfolio will never be complete without including all the small projects that keep the business running. Projects are everywhere and so are the resources running those initiatives. Isn t visibility into all your investments critical in understanding your true portfolio health? A true PPM system must be able to accommodate all projects large and small, which means project management maturity will vary. A PPM system, in order to accomplish a complete portfolio, must provide tools for both complex schedule management as well as lightweight schedule management no project management scheduling expertise needed. It 3

5 is not realistic to believe that every project in your organization will be run by a true seasoned and experienced project manager. It is essential to consider all aspects of your work portfolio, accommodate all projects and offer a tool for every user in your organization. Every user within your organization will have different needs. As you can see from the challenges mentioned above, it is critical to accommodate and meet the needs of all users within your project AND work management tool. As you begin discussions of building a solution for your organization, don t forget to consider all users that will eventually play a role in acceptance and usability. 4

6 The Importance of Understanding Maturity In order to make a deployment successful you must know and understand your audience: - Who will be using the tool? - What challenges are the users facing with their current processes and toolsets? - What benefits are expected out of the tool for each of the user roles? - What capabilities are needed to ensure this application will meet the user's needs? - Where does each user fall in organizational project management maturity? Introducing a new system that is designed to take an organization from level one maturity to level five maturity in the first phase is destined to fail and will only introduce risks. Organizational readiness is a critical factor in implementing a PPM system and will essentially make or break your deployment success. Let's take a look at all the areas where maturity can be measured. Users There is more to PPM design then just defining the various roles in your organization. You must also understand the functions that each role plays in the business as well as what tools and processes are being leveraged to execute them. There are many maturity models available to help you determine where your organization and users reside in project management maturity. I tend to prefer the maturity model published by Gartner for PPM Maturity. Maturity can be measured by the tools and processes currently in place as well as the disciplines supported by them. Again, the faster you move up in maturity, the more risks you will introduce. When implementing a new system it is always a good idea to start with a transfer of the current processes. For example, if a user is managing their resources through a list of projects found in an excel worksheet; transfer that same process into the new toolset. If the user expresses that the same process is also one of their core challenges, make adjustments to that process where needed but start at the same level of process maturity within the PPM application. As users become familiar with the toolset, it will be appropriate to mature their processes as well as adopt new functionality within the PPM system. User readiness is crucial. Forcing your users to utilize a tool that leverages unfamiliar disciplines and processes will only result in user frustration, low user adaption and overall rejection of a critical investment. Don't expect to implement a PPM system that will leverage the same functionality for every user; instead, implement a flexible and scalable system that will accommodate all users and allow them to improve their productivity through gradual maturity progression. It is wise to not only determine current organizational readiness and maturity but also define a roadmap to ensure your organization has a plan for improving overall maturity to gain better control and management of all project and operational investments. Capabilities Similar to users, there are multiple levels of maturity found in system capabilities. As you define the processes that are currently in place for your users, the capability maturity will also be revealed. Let s take a look at some of the common PPM capabilities that will be defined in your PPM system. 5

7 Portfolio Management Portfolio management includes both the discipline of identifying and selecting the RIGHT projects for your portfolio as well as the ability to effectively manage your portfolio of projects once they have entered the execution phase. Although portfolio selection is critical, many organizations begin with project execution or the managing of project schedules long before they consider the benefits of portfolio selection. Identifying the right projects for your business may include processes such as determining business objective alignment, identifying risk probability, resource and cost planning, and project portfolio scenario modeling. For the execution level user, portfolio management may simply be portfolio visibility across all projects and work. Visibility into project status, resources and costs generates awareness and will help prevent unforeseen risk to maintain a healthy portfolio. Questions that will help determine portfolio management maturity may include: - Will this tool help you manage potential projects? - What kind of information is required to accept or approve a project? - What is the process for moving projects from proposal to execution? - What project and work data must be seen across your portfolio to ensure a healthy portfolio? Project Management Projects and work will be the core of your PPM system. Project management maturity is a critical factor in determining what tools should be implemented and to what level of functionality. Don't be surprised if you end up spending the bulk of your design session answering the following question: How do you define a project? Most organizations function at a low maturity level. Maturity can be measured by the processes already in place within your PMO or across your projects. For example, are processes clearly defined or are they ad hoc? Do users use the same tool consistently or is everyone on their own when determining what tool works best for them? It is important here to understand what type of projects and work will be handled in the PPM system and how that work will be defined. Will you manage that work at the task level, the milestone level, or will projects be entered and tracked at the project level? Imagine filling out a document or project charter regarding your upcoming work. What questions need to be answered and what data needs to be defined? Once you have clearly identified the information that must be captured for all your projects, define what processes will take place to execute on them. How will you manage changes, issues and risks? The level of project detail and the depth of your processes will help determine maturity and corresponding functionality that should be introduced to the business within the PPM platform. Schedule Management In the last discipline area of project management you determined whether or not your projects will be detailed to the task level or will be managed at the project level only. If you determined that they will be managed at the task level, schedule management is the next necessary topic for design. This area is critical because we all work differently. Many PPM tools give you one scheduling option. This could be a point of failure for many organizations. Which user maturity level will the scheduling tool accommodate? For those that fall above or below that particular maturity level, what tool will they use? User adoption is the only answer for a successful PPM system. Every user must have the tools 6

8 necessary to manage their work at their level of comfort. If I m a Marketing Director who needs to maintain a simple list of campaigns, there is no question that I will need a different scheduling tool than a Construction Manager who needs to manage the build of a new hospital to code. Resource Management Resource management can mean many things. Let s take a look at the various ways resource management can be applied to your PPM tool. There is much more to this discipline than simply assigning work to a resource. We ll take it from the bottom up. A task or work is put into the system and a resource is assigned. The resource goes into the system, views his/her work, executes on the work and marks it as 100% complete. Some organizations stop here in the practice of resource management, but there are many more levels to reveal. How do you know which resource is available to work on the task? How do you know if they have the right skill set? Let s now work from the top town. A project has been defined and you need to build a resource plan against it. You don t know who is available or who has the proper expertise but you do know what role you need. You schedule 5 developers over the next 3 months to work on this project. Now you want to see which developers meet the requirements of your project. The PPM tool must be able to accommodate your method of resource management, whether the bottom up or top down approach, or both. Cost Management Let's move on to cost management. The following questions should be considered when determining cost management needs for your PPM system. At what level do you plan your project budget: project or task? This again will help you determine where the budget data will be entered into the tool. What types of costs must be tracked? For example, do you only want to track the costs associated with resources, or also other project costs such as purchases, expenses, materials, subcontractors, overhead, etc.? If the answer to this question is expenses, you may want to design an expense form used to track expenses and apply against your project's financials. If your organization isn t prepared to exercise cost management at the task or work level, don t. Start where you are now and then mature your processes as you adapt to the tool. A system that houses partial data can lead to poor decision making. How will you know what decisions are necessary when you don t have the visibility to see where you currently are with your costs? Tracking and Controlling Tracking and controlling is important because it not only defines the data to be tracked but the process for how it will be tracked within the system. For example, do you want team members to supply detailed progress information about their assignments? If so, you may want to allow team members the ability to go into their tasks and enter percent complete. Then, the updates can automate back into your schedule to save time and improve efficiency. Are you looking to include timesheets in your PPM system or are you looking to integrate your current timesheet system? If you do want to include timesheets in the system you will want to make sure that it has been configured to include the proper categories needed to reflect your business needs. If you were reporting actual hours worked on a weekly 7

9 basis against projects, would you complete your time entry daily or do it at the end of the week? This response is also needed to help define your timesheet configuration. What work do you want to track? Is there a requirement to identify and track changes in scope or other issues when project status changes? If the answer is yes, you may want to define attributes needed for a change request list/log so project owners can easily adapt to those changes and adjust their costs, schedules and resources accordingly. Do you have a requirement to track project issues and risks? Is there a requirement to track other work items that need to be considered when managing your projects and resources such as service requests, action items, etc.? Again, data capture must take place for ALL work that affects your costs, resources and/or schedule. Reporting and Business Intelligence Now that we have addressed the main content needed for project and work definition and management, let s take a look at some of the outputs that may be considered in your PPM system design. Some questions to consider are: - Do you have reports that you use today that are used for analysis or decision making? - Do you currently have a requirement to generate a weekly/monthly status report? - Do you have any standard reports required for your projects? - What type of information would be useful when viewing project status? The answers to these questions will help you determine what reports and dashboards are necessary to ensure you are getting the outputs required to maximize ROI and optimize value of your PPM and work management system. As you can imagine, there are many more questions that can be asked to help you define a detailed business-specific design that is right for your organization. Other areas that must be considered in design include integration, demand management, workflow and governance and general collaboration needs. As questions are answered and more questions are generated, make sure you are considering every user and every maturity level. The level in which you capture data can vary, but ensuring that the system is built to make it easy to capture data COMPLETELY, across all projects and work, is critical for visibility and accuracy. 8

10 Deployment Tips There are a few steps you need to take to make your PPM deployment successful long before you start asking the questions necessary for requirements building. As a long time employee of EPM Live, a leading PPM software company that specializes in end-to-end PPM deployments, I have learned to follow a few simple steps prior to requirements gathering that will help ensure a successful PPM delivery. In this section I m going to refer to your requirements gathering meetings as a workshop. This section is specifically meant for those who are leading the PPM implementation effort and those who will be involved in the PPM requirements plan. #1 - Define your audience: Before you begin working with your stakeholders on defining your PPM organizational maturity and your requirements, ensure they understand the next steps as well as the right audience needed to avoid future holes in your PPM implementation plan. Don t take for granted that your audience understands the full extent of what will be discussed in the workshop. Without a high level overview of the questions that will be asked, they won't be able to appropriately define the right attendees to result in requirements that will meet the needs of every user. Always send the question overview topics (see some of the questions we asked above when defining maturity); those who are needed to answer the questions are required in the session for a successful delivery. #2 - Qualify expertise: It is critical to know the experience level of each individual in the room in regards to the workshop topic, in this case PPM. This will help you gauge the depth of questioning you need to accomplish to ensure you are getting all information needed to define a system that will meet their needs. #3 - Define the vision: What is PPM? If you don t define the vision, you are assuming that everyone fully understands the discipline that you are looking to achieve. For example, in a PPM system you will need to cover financial management. To do so you may need to involve the CFO. The CFO understands finances no doubt, but how do you know if he or she understands what enterprise project management is all about? Everyone must be working towards the same goal so you must define what that goal is. #4 - Understand the business: When you get in a room with various functional resources it not uncommon for them to go back and forth on how the business is run. Make sure that everyone agrees on the current processes that are being used currently in each area. You can t build a strategy or vision around unknowns. This will lead to rework in the future. Make sure everyone agrees on what is being done now, and ensure that everyone is thinking in the same direction. 9

11 #5 - Challenge theories: If any assumptions are being made in the session they must be challenged. Look for words such as I think, It s possible, etc. If there are parts of the business that are unknown, someone must be missing! Make sure you leave with a complete understanding of the business. Trust me, challenging your team on the thought process will only lead to innovation, new insights, and new value. #6 - Focus on pain points: If you don t focus on the pain points and challenges your teams are having today, how can you guarantee a system that won t recreate the same frustrations tomorrow? At the end of the day, if you can ensure that all pain points have been addressed in the end solution, you re half way there! #7 - Focus on strengths: It is important that your team understands what works today and how they can leverage their strengths to minimize their weaknesses. I know you have heard this before.don t fix what isn t broken! #8 - Consider those not present: This one is absolutely critical! Prep the workshop attendees to not only consider their areas and their pain points but the rest of the users as well. A tool cannot be successful without usability and if you can t tell each individual user how the tool will benefit them, you won t achieve adoption. #9 - Review risks: When discussing next steps it is also important to set expectations. There are always risks involved when defining strategy and toolsets. Taking on too much functionality at once will only introduce more risks. Properly analyze your current maturity level on the given topic. Take baby steps and allow for stabilization between phases to ensure adoption is successful. Enforce a training and support plan and make sure you know how to communicate the plan to others. Users will push back on the unfamiliar so involve key opinion leaders to help sell the problem along with the solution. Eliminate adoption barriers by knowing everyone s pain points and ensuring the tool will benefit all. #10 -YOU ARE THE EXPERT: This isn t really a tip but a statement. It is your responsibility to get the detail that you need to make informed decisions on behalf of your business. The business doesn t know what they don t know; you have to ask for it! 10

12 PPM Branding Why is branding PPM so important? A few years back at the PMI Global Congress Conference, I attended a break out session led by one of project management's thought leaders, Jim Pennypacker. Jim gave a very informative presentation on branding. I never thought of branding as such a generic discipline. It doesn't only apply to products; it applies to anything that must be sold. Are you a consultant looking for your next engagement, a PMO Director attempting to sell executives on why project management is critical for your organization or a Marketing Director trying to increase awareness across your industry? As Jim put it clearly in his presentation, we all have a brand. Seriously, think about it. Do you know what your brand is? Are you taking the right steps to market your brand? In today's economy PPM is a brand that we all must sell. With tightening budgets and reduced overhead, PPM is needed now more than ever. In order to accomplish the goals originally set forth in the project definition, we must end up with a quality product. After all, that's what a project is right; an initiative with a clearly defined start and finish AND a valueadd end result. The best way to grasp a concept is to relate it to familiar scenarios. First, I'm going to help you sell the project management brand to your organization and your teams, and in the next section I'm going to tell you why EPM Live is the right brand to execute it. Let's start by answering one question, "What do I want people to say about my brand?" Branding PPM Answer: As defined by Wikipedia, PPM is a term used by project managers and project management (PM) organizations, or PMOs, to describe methods for analyzing and collectively managing a group of current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics. The fundamental objective of PPM is to determine the optimal mix and sequencing of proposed projects to best achieve the organization's overall goals - typically expressed in terms of hard economic measures, business strategy goals, or technical strategy goals - while honoring constraints imposed by management or external real-world factors. The PPM discipline will ensure that this cost efficient method is both intentional and consistent as you continue to enforce PPM throughout your organization. If you could guarantee that all projects and work are completed utilizing the least amount of dollars, time and resources, resulting in the highest quality product, wouldn't you sign up for that promise? The bad economy is no reason to reduce PPM in your organization; now is the time to capitalize on PPM. You will save money and protect the investments by utilizing the discipline. It is absolutely critical that we sell the PPM brand to our organizations before we begin implementation. We all must brand ourselves, our skills and our business! A brand must bring consistent value to its audience. PPM is an essential brand for organizations to enforce that will ensure the right projects are being completed at the right time within the given budget. Let's not forget the critical output of any project...increased value. 11

13 PPM Tools that Address Today s Challenges Before we start talking about PPM tools, let s recap the common PPM deployment challenges that many businesses face today: - One solution rarely fits the needs of all users - A PPM system rarely accommodates all other work that affects your project resources - PPM systems seldom represent a complete portfolio, making visibility into all investments impossible Searching for a PPM solution has never been easy and with the increased demand to do more with less, businesses are finding it more difficult than ever to meet the needs of the business with a single toolset. The good news is this has all changed. EPM Live has successfully completed hundreds of PPM deployments over the last few years and with every deployment, we see the same challenges. You are not alone, and yes, there is an answer. EPM Live can help you overrule every PPM challenge with a solid solution. EPM Live began its business in early 1999 as a Project Management consulting company specializing in Enterprise Project Management deployments. After many years of experience, EPM Live came to the realization that the common challenges of every deployment could easily be addressed with the right technology. Today, EPM Live has thousands of PPM software users and continues to add clients to the likes of Avery Dennison, Waste Management, the U.S. Navy, NASA, Jack in the Box, and many more. Let s take a look at why these organizations are choosing EPM Live and what we can do to help you make your PPM deployment a success: - Challenge #1: One solution rarely fits the needs of all users Solution: EPM Live is built with the user in mind. If management cannot get the end users to use the system, the system will not be a success. For this reason, EPM Live has been designed to take into account all the various users that will be using the tool, highlighted below. Seasoned Project Managers can leverage the scheduling engine they love such as Microsoft Project and publish their schedules directly to EPM Live for team collaboration and visibility. 12

14 Microsoft Project Accidental Project Managers (those that manage departmental projects but may not have formal PM training) can leverage EPM Live s online planner for building schedules, tracking dependencies and assigning resources. Online Planner Because every team typically has projects, team leads in marketing, HR and other business areas can build extensive task lists leveraging PPM disciplines that include resource management and cost management, but without the need to understand the calculations of a scheduling engine. 13

15 Simple Task List Product teams can even use the online Agile Planner to plan iterations, releases and products. The Agile Planner can also be used to apply an Agile planning methodology to any work within your organization. Agile Planner The PPM tool is not only meant for the Project Managers but the Team Members as well. Every user must be able to answer the question What s in it for me? If they can t answer the question with a positive benefit, most likely they won t use the tool. EPM Live allows Team Members to work the way they are used to working. They can now see all of their work across the entire organization in one centralized location. It makes no difference as to what type of work it is. 14

16 My Work List Team Members can also use every day tools they use today to increase the adoption rate. For example, those that are used to using Outlook can create their tasks in EPM Live and publish them to their Outlook task list while using a bi-directional feed to keep them updated. EPM Live also has social networking tools for those who are prone to a more social work approach. As for Executives, there are numerous prebuilt reports and dashboards to meet the need of every decision maker. Regardless of what type of KPIs they would like to see, EPM Live reports on all PPM elements including costs, resources, schedules, risks, issues and more. EPM Live Reports 15

17 Portfolio Visibility - Challenge #2: A PPM system rarely accommodates all other work that affects your project resources Solution: EPM Live understands that in order to have a truly successful PPM solution, you must accommodate all the work that affects your bottom line. To do so, EPM Live has built a full PPM solution that brings all projects, all work, all products, all applications and all services together in one centralized location! You have many options for all work management: easily integrate with other LOB systems to bring all work together, retire legacy systems and migrate your business to EPM Live, or define your EPM Live system as an all work management system from the get go and leverage EPM Live s free solution apps to get you up and running quickly. EPM Live Integrations 16

18 App Solutions - Challenge #3: PPM systems seldom represent a complete portfolio, making visibility into all investments impossible Solution: In many organizations it is common to track large IT projects within your PPM toolset. Now, more than ever, it is critical to show all projects that are utilizing your organizations resources in the same tool. As mentioned in both challenge #1 and challenge #2 you will always have large and small projects, seasoned and unseasoned Project Managers, and work coming in from every corner of your organization. If you are putting in $2m into your organization every year, every piece of that investment should be included in your PPM toolset. Remember, there are tools to accommodate every user so user maturity should no longer be the excuse here. EPM Live has made it easy for every organization to gain control of their project and work portfolios. To learn how to get started, visit EPM Live today! 17

19 Conclusion We have now given you the tools you need to begin a successful PPM implementation. Make sure you consider all tips within this paper to ensure that all of your stakeholders are defined, all challenges and strengths are documented and all requirements are accounted for. By the way, are you wondering what the answer is to the question, Whose system is it anyway? The answer is simple.it s yours, it s your boss s, it s his/her boss s, it s your team s, and it s your organization s. So, make sure your chosen PPM system meets the needs of everyone and you will be a rock star! To learn more about how EPM Live can help you meet your PPM needs, please contact EPM Live at or visit the EPM Live website at To get a free project management solution online, please click here! EPM Live Website 18

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