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5 min read

Implementing your next PPM solution? Be wary of these common pitfalls.

George Lloyd

George Lloyd
Manager | Energy, utilities and resources | London

Do any of these following sound like familiar issues you face in your organisation?

•    Limited or no visibility of what resources are needed to complete your project objectives

•    Inability to see what resources are available to meet new demand

•    Unable to understand cross-project dependencies and critical portfolio milestones.

If so, then these are hallmarks of an organisation that is likely to have a strong business case to review your project, portfolio management processes and consider adoption of a Project and Programme Management (PPM) tool. By doing so, you stand to improve project plan predictability, achieve higher resource utilisation, cement the ambitions for the portfolio delivery model, and ensure that your tooling supports agile elements and workflow as required. Sounds ideal. But before you sign anywhere near a dotted line consider the following common pitfalls…

How do you select a tool that meets your needs?

  • Undoubtedly as part of any procurement, you will evaluate a number of PPM suppliers to determine which provider best fit your requirements
  • Before you start this process it is vital to keep your end user’s requirements (Portfolio/ Project/ Resource Managers) in mind so when you see new functionality you can challenge whether these support a User Requirement or are simply noise that will detract from their core activities
  • Consider how much effort is required to complete common scenarios (including any workarounds) in both time and successive clicks; if arduous end users will simply not adopt. Remember to repeat the same scenarios on a demo version away from sales representatives to test the system as an actual adopter will. This will help you see if the system is intuitive or an end user’s nightmare.

How do you get the best value out of a PPM tool?

  • For 90% of companies commencing on their PPM journey, they will have significant dependencies on longstanding, cumbersome excel alternatives that have long since passed their sell-by date
  • When utilising a new tool there is a significant opportunity to improve your processes; however, all too often, companies will seek to replicate their exact process using the new PPM solution 
  • Use Out-Of-The-Box capabilities wherever possible and challenge whether they can fulfil your requirements (without costly developer time). Significant thought has gone into designing market-leading PPM tools that will cover a wide range of capabilities. Work with you PPM provider to understand the best path to deliver your requirements and don’t be afraid of altering the status quo - it may get you to your destination quicker.

What data migration issues can you avoid?

Is there one commonly accepted and frequently updated organisational chart in your company?

Are all resources tagged to a Business Unit?

Do your projects/ programmes follow a commonly accepted hierarchy?

If so, these data points will provide the backbone of your PPM solution and will make migration a doddle; however, when these are incomplete or incorrect then you have an uphill struggle.

Assess these points and spend time getting into detail as you will likely find multiple versions of the same data or backdoors that enable colleagues to alter core datasets you didn’t realise.

Avoid these common pitfalls and you will be well placed to improve your portfolio planning and resource management processes through the implementation of a PPM solution.