Enterprise level Project and Portfolio Management: Tips for Success

1. The ultimate long-term relationship: Secure and maintain executive management support:
To gain and sustain project momentum, executives must support the automation of project and portfolio management processes that span multiple business units.

• Enterprise projects cross organizational boundaries and touch multiple levels within each business unit. To keep support from end users, it is critical to understand the value of working with the project and portfolio management (PPM) system. Executive support and reliance on data from PPM systems quickly and clearly communicates business value.
• The most successful customers invariably have had strong C-Level support and engagement. Conversely, those that do not have such support often experience implementations that tend to falter or take longer time to deliver value.

2. See the forest and the trees: Gain visibility into the entire corporate project portfolio
Real-time visibility helps you understand how project investments are aligned with corporate goals.
• Knowing which projects will add value to the business — and which will not — is a quick way to achieve rapid return on investment. The Gantry Group 2008 Benchmark Study of PPM users demonstrated that in just one year, firms that canceled non-strategic projects saved nearly eight percent of their annual IT budget.
• Visibility into the entire portfolio helps show project dependencies and adapts projects and resources when business conditions change. This ultimately keeps projects on time and on budget.

3. Standards are your friend: Implement and automate standard project methodologies
If your organization is going to rely on the information gathered by a PPM system, then likewise, you need to ensure that the data is reliable and credible.
• Implementing standard project methodologies will provide much needed consistency to data capture, aggregation and reporting.
• You can greatly increase project manager productivity by implementing standard project management practices across the organization. Doing so eliminates the need to manually aggregate information from multiple, disparate sources. The Gantry Group 2008 Benchmark Study of PPM users revealed that automating standard project and portfolio management practices decreased time spent generating status reports by more than 30 percent after just one year.

4. Keep it simple
Don’t over engineer your processes!
• Focus on automating process areas that will deliver the greatest initial value. Stay committed to process simplicity – because this focus will make it easier to implement and adopt a PPM system.
• You need early wins. If you over engineer your processes or try to push the organization past its maturity level, users will abandon. Again, stick to automating a process that will fix a known organizational pain point – in as few steps as possible.

5. Rise and shine: Measure and communicate (early and often)
Set benchmarks that will show your business executives that the solution is delivering benefits. Remember: you cannot over-communicate success in the early adoption stages.
• Determine a metric you’d like to improve. For example, pick improved project timeliness or increased project manager productivity – and make a point of capturing information so that you can report on it to management at intervals that make sense for you.
• Establish regular communications with your management team, using real-time reports and dashboards. Use the information as the basis for decision-making. Doing so will help build your credibility, while keeping people informed and discussions more focused on facts and less on emotion.