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Project Portfolio Management

Is Your PMO Naughty or Nice?

Published By Alexandra Zaniewski
Is Your PMO Naughty or Nice?

With Christmas around the corner, you must be wondering if you are on Santa’s nice list or whether you will be receiving coal under the Christmas tree this year.

Your project management office (PMO) is no different. Many project managers are still using spreadsheets and other basic project management software, avoiding a project portfolio management (PPM) tool with the fear that it will create more work for them. PPM is essential for today’s project developments. It helps companies drive strategic value and goals, selecting the right projects, applying the right resources, and providing the right level of visibility to manage and make good decisions. If you find yourself relating to many of these 12 issues, then it is time to consider getting a PPM tool for your PMO this Christmas. Get your PMO onto Santa’s Nice list by avoiding these project management offenses:

  1. Late, over-budget projects and missed deadlines: this could be caused by a variety of factors, but a common indicator and should not be overlooked, as things will only get worse.
  2. Resource shortages, resource conflicts, and overloaded teams: this would be an immediate sign that you need a resource management solution if you are already experiencing such problems
  3. Portfolio does not deliver against strategic objectives, lacking alignment with business: this is a recipe for disaster. Alignment is crucial to ensure success.
  4. Difficult to fix or kill underperforming or failing projects: if projects are failing or generally proving to be more difficult then they need to be, then it is time that you invest in a tool that will help you identify these projects early on, and reevaluate the risk involved to reduce overinvestment in risky projects.
  5. Too much overhead wasted on managing PMO processes and deliverables: sometimes things get overcomplicated and instead of simplifying process, it only makes it more complex. The right balance is hard to achieve, but should be sought after to use time and resources efficiently.
  6. No central visibility to portfolio investments across the business and no accountability: might be difficult to measure visibility, but if you are feeling it is lacking, it likely is. Visibility leads to accountability, and ultimately better project execution and success.
  7. High percentage of unsuccessful projects: if you are at this stage, then a change is needed immediately. This could be due to a variety of reasons – poor project selection, lack of executive support or failure to measure success – but the cause needs to be identified and rectified.
  8. Poor investment balance across strategic areas: the portfolio of projects needs to contain a healthy balance of maintenance and strategic projects. In order to drive business value, a substantial portion of investment should be in strategic projects. Be able to identify and deliver on your strategic projects.
  9. Meetings spent arguing about the facts instead of making decisions (Data Integrity): the facts should already be present and easily available, allowing you to have productive meetings.
  10. Process exceeding the capabilities of complex, difficult to maintain spreadsheets: Spreadsheets are difficult to manage for any team and data gets lost. Make sure everyone is using the same data with a single source of truth.
  11. High uncertainty in portfolio/poor understanding of risk: Projects should be assessed both in the inventory phase as well as throughout the execution of the project. If risky projects become bad investments, they should discontinue. Alternatively, if they become in need of more resources to justify continued investment, that should be evaluated as well. In any case, you should understand and be able to monitor the risk of your projects.
  12. Executives not able to articulate priorities and/or innovation strategy – better communication and reporting: Communication is key to the success of any project. A PPM solution will allow you to communicate more efficiently with everyone. Priorities must be identified and agreed upon before using them as project selection criteria. Strategic value should always be the driver of project selection.

*Reference Tech Clarity Report

You may be comfortable with spreadsheets, but that is no longer enough. It is time to consider a PPM solution. Push your projects further and demand accountability from your organization, as they demand results from you.

If your PMO is receiving coal this Christmas, start building your business case for a better PMO. Don’t be on Santa’s naughty list again.

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Written by Alexandra Zaniewski

Alexandra Zaniewski graduated from Santa Clara University with a BA in Communication Studies. She later went on to obtain her Master’s in Communication at California State University. Alexandra works as a Marketing Programs Coordinator at Planview, specifically focusing on Innotas by Planview customer communication and creation of campaigns to the IT PMO community.