The Right Tool for the Right Job

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently received an email from the head of a PMO who was going through the process of reviewing his organization’s project portfolio management (PPM) software and was unsure how to proceed. He wasn’t looking for advice around which tool to select, rather he was looking for guidance as to how such tools needed to be used—and in particular how they needed to work with project-level tools, both from an integration standpoint and from a user interaction standpoint for project managers and teams. This is an interesting topic that doesn’t get much attention, so I want to look at it in this article. That probably requires us to start with a few definitions…

Project management tools today
At the top of most organizations’ stable of project management-related tools is the PPM solution. These started life as a way to centrally manage multiple projects, but today’s offerings are much more than that. Better viewed as investment management tools, they allow organizations to plan project investments, track portfolio spending and progress, conduct modeling and analysis, and produce powerful and intuitive reporting.

They also include flexible workflow engines and collaboration tools to make it easier to work across multiple users and business areas. Increasingly, they include not only powerful data warehouse capabilities, but also …

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