What is Project Portfolio Management (PPM)?

Most of us have used spreadsheets, index cards and sticky notes (or maybe even napkins…) to organize project tasks, especially in our personal lives. But when projects grow into something larger and more complex than those methods can easily support, especially when these projects are intended to deliver some type of benefit to your business, you need a tool specifically built for the job. So, what is Project Portfolio Management (PPM), and how can using PPM software help you? Well—it can do a lot.

What is Project Portfolio Management?

Before we dive into the benefits of PPM software, let’s first cover the basic definition of project portfolio management (PPM). Essentially, a project portfolio is a portfolio that contains all of your company’s ongoing projects. Formalized PPM gives your company a high-level view of all projects that are currently in progress, allowing you to see how and where your time, financial resources and talent are being put to use. This high-level view also lets you see the extent to which your ongoing projects are aligned with your overall business objectives.

These days, the project management office (PMO) usually has so many projects going at once that PPM is almost impossible without designated software. That’s where project management software comes in.

One Tool, Many Project Methodologies

Waterfall, Agile, Kanban, Card Wall, basic task lists—all these project methodologies should be available within your PPM software because you need to fit the methodology to the project (and project team) and not the other way around. And for some projects, a hybrid approach that combines elements of more than one of these is the way to go. By “right-sizing” your project plans for the project you’re undertaking and the team of resources that will be doing the work, you are setting yourself up for success.

With project portfolio management, you get comprehensive support for all projects, regardless of size, complexity or simplicity.

PROJECT INTAKE AND WORKFLOW

Leverage an intake framework, which will help you compile, analyze, and evaluate the data required to decide which ideas should become projects and which projects should be approved.

COLLABORATION

Project teams are more effective when they can seamlessly collaborate. Sharing notes, discussing issues and risks, and understanding status updates in real-time contribute to top-notch project performance.

DASHBOARDS AND REPORTING

When it comes to project management, there is no bigger mantra than transparency. Gain a consolidated view of projects across the team with custom views and the ability to export or publish publicly.

PROJECT PLANNING

Quickly and effectively plan projects using the right methodology for the job. Speed planning with project templates to support all maturity levels, from simple to complex, using the right fit for each project.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Quickly measure and report on the activities, issues, risks, and tasks that have the biggest impacts on successful project completion. Set custom alerts for specific deviations, project health and project status.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Resource constraints are often reported as the number one issue facing IT organizations. PMOs need a clear view of all work and resources across the portfolio for resource capacity planning.

TICKETS AND PROJECTS

Sometimes incidents and service requests need to become projects – and sometimes projects kick off service requests. With a single platform approach, you can manage both in one place, on one platform.

PORTFOLIO APPROACH

Eliminate surprises and identify potential roadblocks before they occur with a portfolio approach. Establish the framework to keep projects on track, aligned with goals and ensure completion on time and within budget.

Flexibility to Manage Projects for IT, Facilities, Marketing, HR and More

While many of your projects might be centered within the IT department, you may also work on projects with other departments, like facilities, marketing, human resources, etc. There are a few things you should consider and that your PPM software should help with.

First is, of course, collaboration. When project work is spread across departments, being able to communicate project-related information clearly and effectively is essential. And speaking of communication, you need to do so with a common language. By communicating with easy-to-understand and jargon-free dialog, you will avoid confusion and foster stronger relationships between departments—and that’s a good thing.

  • Support for all project methods: Waterfall, Agile, Kanban, Card Wall and basic task lists.
  • Flexible to manage projects for IT, facilities, marketing, HR and more.
  • Institute workflow to ensure that steps are moved along as planned.
  • Conduct in-depth resource capacity planning analysis.
  • Engage in budget planning and time tracking for better outcomes.
  • What-if planning scenario mapping.
  • Manage project documents in a centralized storage repository.

Conduct In-depth Resource Capacity Planning Analysis

Project teams can range in size depending on the scope of a project. And those resources are often splitting time between multiple projects, or between projects and support tickets. Resource capacity planning allows you to fine-tune resource allocation so that everything is covered, and certain team members aren’t underutilized while others are redlining – making everyone more productive.

Make Data-driven Decisions

The reporting platform integrates project, portfolio, enterprise, and IT Service Management (ITSM) -along with third-party data – to give an unparalleled understanding of the enterprise without the need for expensive third-party reporting tools. Don’t just collect data – use it.

  • Manage proposed, planned and current projects with approval tracking.
  • Prioritize projects and optimize the project portfolio.
  • Track and manage the execution with time, resource and expense tracking.
  • Perform what-if analysis and engage in resource capacity planning.

Engage in Budget Planning and Time Tracking for Better Outcomes

Organizations that operate at the high end of the project management maturity scale are 2.5 times more likely to deliver projects both on schedule and on budget. PPM software will help you forecast project budgets and track resources’ time against that budget so you can make on-the-fly adjustments as needed to keep the project on course.

Why a Project Portfolio Makes a Big Difference

If your organization has a specific business objective it wants to accomplish, there may be numerous projects that contribute to that overall effort—each with its own timeline, budget and resources. PPM software that allows you to look across all projects within a portfolio is vital. By managing with a portfolio approach—rather than managing projects in isolation—stakeholders can see how everything is tracking and aligned to the strategic needs of the business.

Kern Health Systems Levels Up Project Management with TeamDynamix

Prior to using TeamDynamix for project management, the team at Kern Family Health Care, a Medi-Cal managed care health plan serving residents of Kern County, California, would maintain a shared spreadsheet with information about projects that were proposed, approved, and underway.

According to LaVonne Banks, director of Kern Health Systems’ enterprise project management office (EPMO), this process was inefficient and project managers did not have easy visibility into the status of projects. Looking to improve its project management process, Kern Health Systems implemented TeamDynamix in the summer of 2021.

With a simple and intuitive user interface, TeamDynamix makes it easy for project managers to evaluate project requests, approve and prioritize initiatives, assign resources and track and report on progress. TeamDynamix helps EPMO staff keep projects on course, establish clear expectations, and allocate resources more effectively.

“With TeamDynamix, I always have a source of truth on project data,” Banks observes.

Using TeamDynamix brings greater transparency to the project management process. It also saves Banks and her staff a great deal of time when they want to understand the status of projects and report this to organizational leaders.

“I love the platform’s reporting features,” she says. “They’re super easy to use. Being able to pull reports and quickly see real-time data is wonderful.”

Another key benefit of TeamDynamix is that it helps EPMO staff get out ahead of potential issues before they become full-blown problems. While some challenges are beyond the control of project managers, having greater insight makes it more likely that projects will be completed on time and under budget.

“We can quickly identify resource constraints and make adjustments when unexpected circumstances arise,” Banks says. “Because we can identify these issues earlier, we have a better chance of staying on top of resource management.”

Better transparency leads to more accountability and, ultimately, a higher success rate on projects.

When you consider that project portfolio management tools can cost several times as much for similar features and functionality, “the value of TeamDynamix is incomparable,” Banks concludes.

Better Together: IT Service Management and PPM on One Platform

For organizations wanting to engage in better resource capacity planning across the entire organization, a combined approach to PPM and IT Service Management (ITSM) is the answer. Resource capacity planning allows you to get a big-picture view of your entire IT organization, allowing you to balance workloads across projects and support; and to see the different types of work that need to be done at any given time. This approach is especially useful when you have limited resources, but an increase in demand for the support of remote learning and remote workforces.

There are many benefits to the one platform approach for ITSM and PPM including:

  • Improved IT productivity
  • Improved quality of service (QoS)
  • Improved IT performance measurement and reporting capabilities

To see how organizations are using ITSM and PPM together check out:

This post was originally posted in November 2020 and has been updated with new information.

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