Project portfolio management, or selecting the right projects, is an art. Fortunately there are applications that support this process. By centralizing projects and monitoring how the projects contribute to the objectives of a company, but also by monitoring the financial performance and providing insightful reports. But: which project portfolio management application should you select? And: what should you pay attention to?
Define your scope
There is a big difference between project management and project portfolio management. The first discipline is about effective implementation, while the second is all about choosing the right projects. It is a different perspective, that requires different software functionality. Therefore, determine the scope before you start searching for an appropriate application. Do you want to support the project managers with the project execution? If so, there is more than enough suitable software that is very strong in project management. Are you looking for a total overview at a higher level, so that you can work on the right projects at all times? Then focus on a supplier who has project portfolio management as its core business.
Think big, but start small
When you look for ppm software, you will find many applications that offer endless functionalities. From demand management to stimulate new ideas to complete solutions for detailed resource planning, up to fully integrated applications with existing legacy systems. Although each company needs to define whether such extensive solution is required, it is often wiser to start with a manageable application and grow later if needed. The success of a new application also depends on how easy it is to implement and to use. As successful project portfolio management stands or falls with a complete overview, everyone involved must make use of it. Think big, but don’t lose sight of the goal and start small.
Choose a modern user interface
It may sound logical, but: the usability of a program is crucial. Does it meet modern best practices? Can users navigate quickly and easily? Of course every supplier offers training, but it is about the post-implementation period. An application that is easy to use is also adopted faster. If people are positive about the user-friendliness of software, it certainly helps in a successful implementation.
Choose an application that grows
In particular, also investigate whether applications fit the format of your organization. Some applications offer so much functionality that it might be overwhelming for your type of organisation and your specific challenge. Other suppliers may now offer the right options, but not in a few years, when your organisation matures in the field of ppm. Therefore, discuss with potential suppliers on how they ensure that a project portfolio management application grows to fit your needs.
Stay in the lead even after implementation
The ease of configuration is an important factor to discuss with potential suppliers. In other words: should the supplier be involved in every change after the initial implementation, or can you make configuration changes yourself? Make sure that you are able to train in-house people so you are in the lead after the implementation. This will help to keep costs under control and ensures that you retain knowledge about design and certain choices.
In short, be critical but also real. Keep it manageable and find an application that grows with you along the ppm way.