Focus on Strategy over Projects – The Growth of PPM

Brandi Johnson

Jan 22 2016 6 min read

In 5 Trends that Will Transform Project Management, Moira Alexander outlines key areas where project management may evolve in 2016. In this blog series, we break down each of those trends, along with our perspective on the importance of an integrated project management solution to help you move with these trends.

Trend 1: Laser-focus on strategy over projects

For trend 1, Alexander forecasts that “Leaders will need to transform their PMO management teams to focus all efforts around reaching business goals.” This includes a focus on creating a centralized project management office for the enterprise, along with the selection of team members based on their strengths in adding value to the organization rather than department representation.

Centralized Project Management

Many organizations run disparate systems for different department projects. For cross-departmental projects, the project leader will choose their own favored project management system and style, and the other team members will need to adapt to that system and style.

Centralizing project management in an enterprise project management system provides value to the business in the following ways:

  • Support overall business strategy. Centralizing project management helps to ensure that all new projects are supporting the overall business strategy, not just individual department goals.
  • Optimize resource use. Resource management, or the process of assigning people to work on the project. Allocating the right resources to the projects, regardless of their department or team member status helps to support the overall project management.
  • Prioritization on value to the organization. Related to the overall support of the business strategy is the ability to prioritize projects on value to the organization. Individuals and departments are likely to prioritize the projects that have the biggest impact on their jobs. Centralizing this decision-making and prioritization ensures that highest value projects are given priority.
  • Streamline workflows. If we look back at the example of individual departments using individual project management solutions, it’s easy to see the value in having a centralized project management solution. This allows all team members to see all of their work in one centralized location, rather than spending time and energy updating multiple disparate systems.
  • Improved reporting. When projects are spread across disparate systems, it’s also very challenging to understand the progress of projects and the costs of projects to the business. A centralized project management system centralizes all of your project data for improved visibility and reporting.

Portfolio Project Management

Moving into centralized project management is the process of moving into project portfolio management (PPM). PPM solutions, like Cloud Coach, allow companies to organize their projects into portfolios, perform cost-benefit analysis, and prioritize projects based on strategic company initiatives. Projects can move through a criteria-based approval process to ensure corporate sponsorship and financial allocations support the project, before a single task is completed.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations with mature portfolio management practices have much better outcomes than those with low maturity. Those companies with a high maturity have 30% more project deliveries on time, 28% more projects are within budget, and 21% more projects meet their goals and business intent.

©2015 Project Management Institute, Inc. PMI® Thought Leadership Series: The Power of Portfolio Management, The Practitioner’s Perspective: Winning through Project Portfolio Management

When evaluating the move to a PPM system, consider setting benchmarks to understand the impact of centralized project management on your project performance. Important data includes the number of projects undertaken, the cost of those projects to the business, and the overall outcome of the projects. In terms of overall outcome, keep in mind the several characteristics that define a successful project, including time, budget, and business goals.

Once you have established these benchmarks – which can be challenging when your projects have been handled in many disparate systems – you can set goals for moving to a portfolio management strategy with a centralized project management focus.


Brandi Johnson

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