Using PPM Solutions to Join High Performers

Author: Lindsey Marymont

High performing and low performing companies face many of the same challenges. Both are impacted by changes in the economy, consumer trends, evolving regulations, etc. High performers, however, are often more poised to face these challenges.

Efficient project management is one of the most valuable tools in a business manager’s arsenal. It can help bridge the gap between low performers and high performers. Research from the latest PMI Pulse of the Profession Report provides insight into key areas PMOs can focus on to bring themselves closer to the high performing mark.

Institute Executive Sponsorship

An executive sponsor offers the support, direction, and resources a project needs to succeed. They also ensure all projects in their portfolio are aligned with the company’s strategic targets.

Research from PMI shows that high performers attach executive sponsors to 80% or more of their projects, which leads to 40% more successful projects than low performers who have executive sponsors on less than 50% of their projects.

Early and direct involvement of executives in key projects, paired with the right Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools, allows executive teams to see which projects are taking up the most time and resources compared with which projects are delivering the most profitable results. This pairing makes it easy to identify inefficiencies within your company. Without the right tools to provide insights, many executives feel they are flying blind or making decisions without complete information. Providing executives accurate and up to date information can enable them to make more informed decisions and ensure the investment in future projects based on a track record of success.

Control and Prevent Scope Creep

Every extra step added mid-project potentially results in lower profit margins and unsatisfied clients or stakeholders. Unless the appropriate adjustments to time, resources, and costs are made, you’ll go over budgets and deadlines.

When this expansion is uncontrolled, it’s known as scope creep. PMI found that scope creep typically affects around 33% of the average high performing company’s projects whereas it affects around 69% of the average low performing company’s projects.

Scope creep is common but can be mitigated by aligning project scope with stakeholder expectations from the very beginning. Set up a defined feedback loop between your project manager and key stakeholders as well.

Additionally, project complexity has been shown to contribute to scope creep, and many companies are still using PPM solutions that can’t keep up. Make sure you’re using the right PPM tools to meet the demands and complexity of your projects.

Increase Value Delivery Capabilities

High performing organizations invest the time and resources necessary to constantly mature their value delivery capabilities. They actively shape the company culture and structure to adapt to change, which allows the organization to pivot when industry disruptions are thrown their way.

High performers use both experience and data to find the right balance of efficiency and creativity for their business and projects. This allows them to simultaneously minimize risks while increasing value for their customers.

High performing companies keep track of and invest in technologies that increase their value delivery capabilities. Learning which management approach to take on each project requires experimenting, but the right technology can save you time and money. PPM tools track project performance and allow you to use data to learn which approach—iterative, predictive, agile, or incremental—is the best for each project.  

PMI separates the data into responses from “Champions” and “Low Performers” to indicate the gap between the two types of PMOs. While there are many ways in which an organization can become more efficient and move toward a champion status, these three key areas are where many organizations fall short. Taking a look at how a PPM solution can help support the PMO and drive efficiency throughout the project lifecycle, can ultimately help bridge the gap and bring your PMO closer to becoming a high performer.