Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

Originally posted on the ProjExc Project Excellence Blog on 22-Sep-08

These days, many companies are finding that an effective way to evaluate the entire portfolio and control costs is to use a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution, which make it easier to look at projects as an aggregate collection of cost centres to help identify inefficiencies. With PPM, organisations can also more easily determine which projects add the most value to the business.

For example, we note that Keith Carlson, CEO of on-demand PPM vendor Innotas has recently stated “In tough economic times, leaders need to streamline the project portfolio in order to get leaner while still maintaining their ability to produce value. But without an integrated PPM solution, the entire exercise of prioritizing the project portfolio can become uninformed guesswork.”

Like with many other parts of PM, PMO and Programme Management, with the emergence of web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, PPM is now available at a fraction of the price of installed solutions. Instead of requiring commitment to costly and inefficient enterprise-wide site licenses, SaaS PPM solutions can be deployed on a subscription or per-seat basis, and users can be added or subtracted at any time. SaaS solutions are also faster to implement and carry a much lower risk burden than traditional enterprise software. Whatever type of PPM solution an organisation chooses – installed or SaaS – there are several key steps to evaluating the project portfolio:

1.compare high-value projects to decide on the right combination to fund.
2.evaluate and rank which projects are the most valuable to the organization.
3.look for ways to allocate limited resources to the most important projects by ensuring high-value projects are properly covered and the delivery process is in place to ensure happy stakeholders.
4.look for opportunities to merge projects and gain efficiencies. Ask how projects relate to each other, has the company developed a consistent and holistic view of the overall project portfolio and can these projects be combined into one integrated initiative.
5.monitor project performance closely to get better control of potential cost overruns.

With PPM in place as a centralised, visible management framework, unforeseen cost overrun meltdowns can be avoided more easily.

We note that Innotas recently released a white paper, “Focus Under Pressure: Why Project Portfolio Management Becomes Mission-Critical in a Down Economy,” which defines five key steps to evaluating the project portfolio with an eye for cutting costs and doing more with less.
A theme close to the hearts of a number of our clients right now!