With that in mind, let's consider the big picture wish list – what a PPM should be. Below I've listed five of those concepts and why most PPM offers fail to deliver what an organization really needs from a PPM solution in order to truly be effective...
Ability to breakdown business strategies. A solid PPM requires that you be able to break any business strategy down into multiple portfolios and organizations. Flexibility and user-friendliness are key and most offerings fail miserably in this area. These two concepts should be at the forefront of a PPMs software design and that's where most fall short.
Dynamic Prioritization. It's a key functionality of most wish lists Users should also be able to fund and staff initiatives and actions according to strategic targets, as well as available budgets and resources. This functionality should be expected out of the box in order to make PPM everything you need it to be, but in general it just isn't there.
Not be tied down to waterfall or Agile. The right PPM should allow you to plan work and schedule your resources in a standard or agile mode without being locked into either. Ideally, PPM offering should fit flexibility your organization will obviously need over your entire project portfolio.
Provide high level and wide angle views of the project landscape. A full featured PM should also be able to dynamically control execution and progress on several axes and identify the potential gaps with the original targets. High level views and wide angle views of your projects at a glance means you have access to better decision making for the full portfolio of projects you're handling at any given moment... and this is what the right PPM solution is all about. Sadly, this again another key failing point for most leading PPM offerings.
Realignment with changing organizational directions. Back to flexibility – the PPM needs to be able to re-align... periodically... with the changing direction and needs of the organization. It's how it handles these changes with the growing and changing portfolio quickly and efficiently without lots of redesign, re-configuration, or re-work that is a sign of “will it really work for your needs?”. In most cases, the answer turns out to be “no” with 95% of the PPM offerings on the table now.
Summary / call for input
Keep in mind, what I've pointed out here are some high end wish and best case scenarios for PPMs. For true effectiveness and functionality, I feel that we need to set our goals high in what we expect our PPM to do if we really want full adaptation and something that will manage our project portfolio in a way that will help, not hinder, project prioritization and strategy. When not think high – it's what we need and where our important funding dollars should be spent. Find a PPM that offers these things and the senior management funding approval will be much easier.
Readers – what are your thoughts on PPM functionality and organizational needs? Do you have a PPM solution and does it really fit your needs well? Please share and discuss.