PPM Tool or PPM Process: Which Comes First?

Mike Donoghue is a member of a multinational information technology corporation where he collaborates on the communications guidelines and customer relationship strategies affecting the interactions with internal and external clients. He has analyzed, defined, designed and overseen processes for various engagements including product usability and customer satisfaction, best practice enterprise standardization, relationship/branding structures, and distribution effectiveness and direction. He has also established corporate library solutions to provide frameworks for sales, marketing, training, and support divisions.

Many managers are aggressive about getting a tool to help with their project portfolio management process. For some, they feel ready to implement a new (perhaps even non-existent) PPM discipline and want to use a tool to direct their actions. Others see their existing PPM maturing and think that a tool should be incorporated to add foundational support and guidance to their existing structure.

While it may be nice and shiny and promise great things, you should not be taken in by its enticing appearance. Instead, look at the root levels of what a tool can do—if it can help with existing or undeveloped functions, and if you really need one at all.

For IT-based organizations, upper management may find its company’s PPM efforts a mystery. If it is mired in technological projects, then it may be difficult to obtain concise (let alone comprehensible) updates regarding progress and objectives, thereby making it elusive for upper echelons to stay engaged in the challenges being faced.

Instead of being able to provide stronger support to project teams, their ability to make confident decisions and have better oversight over necessary resources is diminished. For these reasons, a PPM tool may promise some very attractive solutions.

For the ideal portfolio perspective, one needs to have strategic business insight—something that an “off-the-shelf” …

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