A Complete Guide to PPM Processes and the Scientrix Platform
We know that strategic portfolio management can be challenging. We have simplified the process by providing the technology and space where you can manage your overall portfolio, align projects to strategies and goals, rigorously prioritise your project pipeline, manage resources and report back to executives on the health of the portfolio.
Without effective project portfolio management, organisations often select projects unsystematically, leading to constraints on budgets and resources. Keep reading to learn how you can take your company’s project portfolio management capability to the next level and how the Scientrix platform can transform the way you manage your portfolio.
What is Project Portfolio Management (PPM)?
PPM refers to the strategic optimisation of resource allocation, prioritisation, and scheduling across many projects and analysing the potential return on undertaking a new project. Project management focuses on execution and delivery, essentially doing projects right, whereas project portfolio management focuses on doing the right projects at the right time. PPM predicts potential problems, reviews progress, manages budgets, and ensures that all the portfolio outcomes support the organisation’s strategic goals and objectives. It highlights questions such as:
- What projects are we currently driving in the organisation?
- How do we contribute to our company’s strategic objectives with these projects?
- Do all our project efforts genuinely impact the goals we have set for ourselves?
- Do we have sufficient projects in the pipeline to deliver on top-down goals?
- Do we have available resources and budgets to take on a new project?
- What current projects might act as a barrier to undertaking new projects?
- What are the interdependencies between projects?
- What risks arise from those interdependencies?
- Do we have a balanced selection of projects to deliver short and longer-term impact?
- Are there duplications and overlaps between projects?
- How are our projects currently performing?
- Are there common issues across projects that can impact viability?
What are the consequences of not implementing PPM?
Organisations generally have more projects than the resources and budget needed to execute them successfully. They overload project teams or cut corners to get projects completed. Focusing on the wrong projects or too many at a time can cause delays, cost overruns, and poor returns. Most PPM software is either overly complex or oversimplified. Executives need a clearer view of what’s happening in their portfolio to drive better decision-making. Without robust project portfolio software, organisations could face consequences such as:
- Low-value project selection and wasted resources.
- Project overload and strategy-driven rather than capacity-driven execution.
- Under-resourced projects and immense pressure on project teams.
- Reduced competitiveness and slower time-to-market due to project delays.
- No project maturity or opportunities for improved project management.
Choosing Project Portfolio Management Software
It is vital that you choose the right PPM software to facilitate how projects are valued, planned, and delivered. Good PPM software should have the following:
- Portfolio Capabilities:
- A centralised project site with all project information in one place.
- A scalable project request management system that can easily capture, review, monitor and track project requests.
- Ability to quickly analyse the portfolio using multiple, custom-defined evaluation criteria.
- Ability to make connections between strategy, objectives, goals and projects, between teams and projects or simply between projects.
- Ability to drill down into detailed execution to determine causes for failure.
- Ability to create and visualise high-level roadmaps.
- Ability to accommodate different modes of governance—agile, waterfall, hybrid or none.
- An overview of project resources and capacity utilisation.
- Immediate visibility into high-level, real-time portfolio health dashboards.
- Ability to roll up budgets and benefits and visualise value creation over time.
- Governance Capabilities:
- Tools for workflow visualisation and reduced administrative work.
- Insightful and easy project reporting.
- Collaborative functions for team members.
- Project knowledge repositories to allow for learning over time.
- Organisational Change Capabilities:
- Practical deployment with minimal onboarding burden.
- Access to a help centre with video learning materials.
- Good balance between user flexibility and standardised procedures.
- Favour process simplicity and transparency.
- Hide sophisticated and complex functionalities from average users.
Why is Scientrix the solution?
Scientrix provides a holistic overview of your portfolio so you can align projects with your strategic and financial goals, optimally leverage available resources, take informed risks and establish synergies between all your projects. We make it easy to tell the story of the portfolio through strong visualisation, prioritisation, and resource
management capabilities. Some of our benefits include the following:
- User-friendly interface, intuitive design and simple functionality.
- Robust data collection and reporting across multiple projects and portfolios to enable smart decision-making.
- Complete visibility into your project pipeline, including new requests, current projects, and resource allocation.
- Effective risk management to reduce time, budget and impact slippages.
- Exceptionally powerful analytical capabilities.
- Improved communication and collaboration between project teams.
- Eliminating reliance on multiple applications that can confuse workflows.
So what are the steps to effective PPM, and what capabilities in Scientrix assist those processes?
Before selecting projects, you must know your organisation’s direction to align your project portfolio with your strategic planning. By seeing the big picture of how a proposed project will fit into goals and objectives, organisations can make better decisions on what projects to choose and what initiatives will create the most return. With Scientrix, you can map your overall ambition with a balanced set of
strategic objectives and key results and meaningfully drive change through an overview of all projects, where they contribute to the strategy, when to expect results and to what degree the project will impact the overall goals.
PPM gives companies a bird’s eye view of upcoming, current and past projects. Grouping projects in a portfolio and creating a view of the collective change efforts across an organisation gives leaders the information they need to understand if a sufficient change is happening to sustain and improve the company’s outcomes. Scientrix helps you to map, align, maximise and balance your portfolio. Use our overview capability to compare all aspects of your portfolio in one place and use filters to interpret the story of the portfolio, see rising patterns, decide where you have to focus, and what you need to do to lead your company on the right path. You can also keep goal-minded with our roadmap tool. A roadmap view allows you to see every project on a timeline, quickly discern any conflicts, and resolve them before
they interfere with the goals and objectives of your organisation.
Demand Management and Project Prioritisation
Once you have catalogued and aligned all your projects, you will require a systematic method of differentiating between prospective projects to determine which projects should or should not go forward. With Scientrix, you can ensure project proposals are in the pipeline. Our effective intake processes allow you to identify potential projects, use valuation criteria to decide whether they are worth executing, roadmap ideas into the future and actively monitor budgets, forecasts and
risk/reward analysis of current and potential projects.
Resource and Capacity Management
Now that you’ve chosen the best projects for your portfolio, it’s time to focus on capacity planning and resource availability. People are often either overloaded or underutilised. You must know what pool of resources you have available, how much capacity they have to spend on projects and when members at total capacity will become available again. With Scientrix, you can calculate capacity utilisation per
person and use filters and colour-coding to get an overview of all resources. You can also understand the core competencies of your team members and assign the most qualified employees to specific projects, identify skills shortages in your portfolio and determine slippage risk based on people’s strengths and capacity in their respective projects.
The Portfolio management office’s role is to find best practice ways for managing projects to achieve speed and impact through projects. Different projects need to be governed in different ways, depending on the type of project. Some projects follow a more traditional project management approach, others through applying agile methodologies, and some use a hybrid of these methods. The PMO manager’s role is to standardise implementation and improve project management skills in the organisation so they can get consistent information about projects. Scientrix allows you to use evaluation criteria to determine what governance method to apply and enables you to set up standardised templates for different governance methods.
Portfolio Visualisation, Analytics and Reporting
Once you have set up our portfolio, analysed it and evaluated the execution health of the projects, you are ready to report to the EXCO team. They will want to know:
- Do we have sufficient projects?
- Are we still on track to realise value?
- Where do we have risk?
It is essential to have a quick way of demonstrating portfolio balance. Organisations require strong visualisation, analytics and reporting to determine whether projects are making an impact, whether project execution is on track and to realise synergy potential among projects. This is where Scientrix excels. Leverage our system’s focused insights, grid analytics and flexible reporting to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Our system’s pattern and other analytics assist strategic decision-making. You can measure the health of your projects and dive deeply into project data to see progress and measure performance. Visualise what you are spending money on and the value of those expenditures, or find opportunities for improvement and identify issue patterns midstream that may impact projects downstream.
Connections Between Dependent Projects
Knowing which projects depend on each other is essential to allow an optimal execution flow over time. Scientrix has brilliantly mastered making connections between projects. You can link dependent projects and get an understanding of which projects have several dependencies on other projects—allowing you to prioritise these projects as they may impact the success of others.
Balance is generally one of the weakest elements in portfolio construction. A maximised portfolio may be out of balance due to an inappropriate risk profile or subjecting the organisation to excessive or insufficient risk. Taking risks is an intrinsic part of running a business, and measuring risk against reward boils down to smart decision-making. Bringing numerous projects into a portfolio can surface risks
because of interdependencies or assigning the same resources and skills to multiple projects. With Scientrix, you can identify and proactively manage project risks, implement the necessary measures to prevent or mitigate uncertainty within the project portfolio, and weigh risks against rewards.
A clear governance framework is another critical area for successful project portfolio management. Governance specifies the responsibilities of individuals in each process and how these team members will work together to make good project decisions. Strong governance helps organisations to select the right projects at the right time and ensure these projects are successful. Taking a proactive approach to risk management, resource allocation, and project interdependencies at the portfolio level can remove common roadblocks for teams. Governance processes should help, not hinder, project teams and be appropriate to the size of your company. Senior managers must regularly review the overall portfolio’s performance, particularly around alignment with business strategy.
As is true for all aspects of running a business, a lack of communication can significantly impact the success of projects in your portfolio. With Scientrix, you can connect and coordinate with all team members, seamlessly track the history of shared documents, observe changes between versions and keep everyone on the same page to ensure a collaborative workforce.
Sometimes it can be necessary to integrate already existing systems with your PPM software. With the Scientrix coordination capabilities, you can integrate with other systems, import data, avoid delays and circumvent constructing time-consuming graphic presentations to visualise the story of your portfolio. Scientrix offers native
integrations to tools like Smartsheet, JIRA and many others.
Are you ready to join?
Any industry simultaneously working on multiple projects can benefit from the discipline of project portfolio management. Are your projects unfocused and misaligned? Do too many projects compete for your limited resources? Are your projects not delivering results? Or are you simply frustrated with the reporting capabilities of your current toolset? Well, we can help! Get in touch for support and guidance from our highly experienced team. Stop wasting time and resources. Do
the right projects at the right time, successfully, starting today!