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Selecting a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Solution: Three Key Criteria

Selecting a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Solution: Three Key Criteria
By Tushar Patel

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software will bring several benefits to any organization, regardless of size, industry sector, or maturity.  PPM software will increase your visibility into the work your resources are executing, enable you to prioritize new work that is being requested, make your organization run more efficiently and ultimately increase the ROI of your projects, resources, and applications – resulting in greater business value. When choosing a solution and vendor, there are several criteria that should be evaluated, here are my top three:
 

#1 – Top-Down Portfolio Approach

I hear time and time again that CIOs and PMOs struggle with demonstrating business value – one reason is because they are hyper focused on execution. Execution is important, in fact, it is really, really important (more on this later). However, I would argue that strategically planning your projects and resources before you start execution is even more important. Read the Complete Article

Solving Multi-PM Limitations with Resource Planning

Solving Multi-PM Limitations with Resource Planning
By Patricia Goh

One would say that a project manager’s spirit animal is an octopus. With so many responsibilities, project managers are expected to be able to see things from the bigger picture, as well as being able to spot the nitty-gritty details. Alongside great communication skills and people skills, there’s also a demand in technical skills, risk management, cost management and more. But even with eight arms and extremely high IQ, all the way at the deep end of project management lie challenges that require unconventional problem-solving methods.

One of the main limitations of project management is managing multiple projects. These projects could be overlapping or happening at the same time. Scheduling resources and tasks for these simultaneous projects becomes more difficult and time-consuming. A useful and effective alternative is to use resource planning methods to address multi-project management challenges.

Project management is about planning based on projects, while resource planning is about assigning projects to resources. Read the Complete Article

Predictive Project Portfolio Analysis

Predictive Project Portfolio Analysis
By Tushar Patel

It seems that the speed of business is ever-increasing, spurred on by agile development models and strategies to shorten go-to-market times for new products and internal initiatives.

For project managers, this means the challenge of accurately forecasting, planning for, budgeting and staffing projects is becoming more complex in return. To stay competitive, organizations need the ability to predict which group of projects will generate the most value when the inevitable market or environmental changes occur. This isn’t easy, as this requires forecasting or foreshadowing resource needs and project timelines with high accuracy.

So what’s the solution? Predictive portfolio solutions automate the planning and re-planning process, enabling organizations to quickly adapt to changes –and save time and money. Predictive technologies also enable key insights for future resource bottlenecks and provide a recommended schedule for helping you decide what to work on and when. Here are some important points to consider when making the shift towards becoming a predictive organization. Read the Complete Article

So You Think Your Company Has High Organizational Project Management Maturity?

So You Think Your Company Has High Organizational Project Management Maturity?
By Kiron D. Bondale

I’ve written a lot about the criticality of organizational project management maturity in increasing the likelihood of complex projects delivering expected value within approved baselines.

Without a modest level of organizational support, the most capable project managers will find themselves hamstrung by weak project sponsors, turf protecting resource managers and distracted, overwhelmed team members. On the other hand, organizations at a higher level of maturity will enable novice project managers to succeed by giving them the right tools, support and guidance to develop.

But what does a higher level of organizational project management maturity look like?

If we took the approach used by many maturity model-based assessments, we’d be checking for the existence of higher level processes. But existence of processes doesn’t prove capability. So perhaps we need to look for some more compelling evidence.

  1. Project management onboarding

    It’s common for companies to provide onboarding for new project managers on methodology, governance or tools, but how many provide a primer on project management for all staff?

Read the Complete Article

Project Management Tools Can Significantly Boost Work Management

Project Management Tools Can Significantly Boost Work Management
By Sharon Thomson

Projects play a vital role in growth of business. Successful projects enable businesses to achieve various objectives and goals which ultimately boost their growth and development. But managing projects is not that as easy as it appears to be.

Projects consists of several tasks which may vary in terms of complexity. These need to be executed in a scheduled and organized manner by various team members working over a project. For this tasks need to be properly defined and documented, which is not possible through manual means.

The tasks need to be properly distributed among team members, so that they can timely execute them. But for this to happen, proper coordination among various members and their progress over tasks needs to be precisely tracked and reviewed.

Problems being faced while managing multiple projects

As more and more businesses are opting for globally dispersed team members for conducting their operations, it becomes problematic to maintain fast and effective communication between them. Read the Complete Article

Understanding The Efficient Frontier in Project Portfolio Investment Decision Making

Understanding The Efficient Frontier in Project Portfolio Investment Decision Making
By Eduardo Levenfeld

It’s common when companies are approving project proposals, ordering by priority and then selecting one by one till reach the budget limit, the results they achieve be good but not efficient, or, in other words, the portfolio will not deliver the maximum value with the present cost limit (budget limit).

You are probably wondering to know if there is a well defined way to figure out the most efficient projects combinations according to budget limits and other constraints and, yes, there is a method called Efficient Frontier that’s the scope of this introductory post.

The Efficient Frontier

In 1952, the Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz published an article named “Portfolio Selection” in which he defined the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT), and, according to MPT, he concluded that an optimal portfolio is the one that delivers the maximum return for a given risk level. Read the Complete Article

Are You Ready for a PPM or EPM Tool?

Are You Ready for a PPM or EPM Tool?
By Kiron D. Bondale

So you want to buy a PPM or EPM (Enterprise Project Management) tool? Congratulations – vendors will be filling up your e-mail Inbox with ROI calculators, dazzling dashboard screenshots and glowing client case studies to convince you that their solution is the only reasonable choice!

But before you finalize the business case to secure funding, let’s run through a simple list of questions. If you can’t conclusively answer “yes” to all of them and have the data to back up this confidence, it might be advisable to wait until you do.

  • Are your PM practices institutionalized (and how do you know)? If you don’t have some sort of documented methodology, and don’t have the evidence reflecting compliance with those practices, why do you think introducing a tool is going to make any difference?
  • Do you have sustainable executive sponsorship and resource management commitment (and how do you know)?

Read the Complete Article

What To Keep in Mind When Managing Multiple Projects

What To Keep in Mind When Managing Multiple Projects
By Cora Systems

Time to market is one of the most important factors when it comes to the management of projects. However today’s projects are more complicated and dynamic than ever before and it is becoming increasingly common for project managers to face the task of managing multiple projects simultaneously.

It requires a certain skill to be able to manage multiple projects, budgets, resources and schedules at once. Unless it is done correctly the management of these components on a multiple level can be difficult.

A few tips to keep in mind when managing multiple projects:

  • The Ideal Project Manager: The successful management of multiple projects tends to come down to the project manager. A project manager of multiple projects must be able to adapt to the different teams and initiatives involved across the board. They should have the skills and capability to communicate and handle all project related information and delegate tasks among the teams/projects.
Read the Complete Article

Don’t Ignore Customer Capacity When Populating Your Project Portfolios!

Don’t Ignore Customer Capacity When Populating Your Project Portfolios!
By Kiron D. Bondale

Whether your company conducts planning on an annual or a continuous basis, the approach is usually the same: identifying and mapping demand against a finite supply of financial and human resources. High-level effort estimates get derived and aggregated across cross-functional project wish-lists to help governance bodies make decisions about project selection and prioritization.

Estimation and capacity-determination usually focuses on the staff that will be producing key deliverables on these projects and a key role that often gets neglected is the project customer. In some organizations, this role may also be called the project sponsor if the sponsor’s responsibilities extend beyond providing funding for the project to acting as the main organization advocate, key decision-maker and default point of contact for issues and risks escalated by the project team.

While a customer is not (usually) responsible for producing project deliverables, if they have insufficient time to commit to the project, the impacts of this capacity shortfall could include:

  • Delayed decisions resulting in project schedule impacts
  • Reduced organization awareness, buy-in and operational readiness to fully benefit from the project’s outputs

  • Deliverables rework with accompanying cost impacts based on changes in direction or resulting from decisions that were made with insufficient thought or focus

  • Frustration on the part of the project team or project manager when escalated issues, risks or actions are not addressed in a timely fashion

What is especially challenging about this is that while it may be possible (if project budgets have flexibility) to bring in outside assistance to address shortfalls in producing project deliverables, it is rarely possible for a hired gun to easily take over the role of project customer as it usually requires significant specific operational or functional knowledge coupled with well established relationships with peers and executives. Read the Complete Article

Defining Project Portfolio Management

Defining Project Portfolio Management
By Jennifer Whitt

We get so many questions asking, “What’s the difference between project management, program management, and portfolio management?” People are daunted by the idea that it is complex, but we think it’s simple once you look at the definition and concepts of portfolio management. In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition (PMBOK ) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a portfolio is a collection of projects or programs or other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives. A key that I want to point out here is that a collection of projects is for a strategic business objective. How many times has your team become so concerned about task, activities and deliverables that they forget or lose sight of why they are doing what they’re doing? The big picture is lost on all the details. Read the Complete Article

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