Much of the information you read about PPM touts the benefits and all of the great things you can deliver with a greater use of project and portfolio management. But can it really be that simple? Regardless of your role in PPM (CIO, PMO leader, portfolio manager, resource manager, etc.), you are undoubtedly aware of the unprecedented degree of business change taking place in the industry right now and likely overwhelmed before even thinking about what more you could possibly be doing.

While it is true that better PPM offers large benefits to organizations and business as a whole, that doesn’t mean it comes easy or naturally. Like many things, it requires work and a significant investment of time and resources to create the utopian state that you read about. Here we will outline some of the common challenges associated with PPM and hopefully allow leaders to anticipate and mitigate a few of those hurdles by being informed.

Change Management

With improved PPM processes and especially with additional software comes an element of change. Adding depth and breadth to the project lifecycle, strategic investment at the portfolio level, and supporting that with a layer of PPM software doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Understanding what adoption goals look like, what users will require access to the system, who might be a resister or a proponent of the change, setting realistic expectations while also communicating the goals are all ways to help your organization cope and roll out a change (or upgrade) to your PPM process.

Lack of Prioritization

As PPM improves visibility and alignment, organizations sometimes find how projects are selected and prioritized is not what is the best method for the business. Sometimes projects are approved based on executive order, by what comes in first, or simply a meeting to evaluate and select which initiatives the business should take on. While this is common, it isn’t necessarily the most effective method and can be improved with value-based prioritization. This requires the business to not only understand what is most valuable and stakeholders to agree, but also to assign quantitative metrics to value and implement a model. This process can be challenging but also significantly improves the production and outcome of the business as teams are working toward those projects that are most aligned with strategic business objectives.

Resource Management

Based on a recent survey we performed - PMXPO - Survey Says!. The top challenge for most PMOs whether they have a formal PPM solution or not, resource management, is often an area that is the most difficult but also the most impactful to the business. “Resource” is the broad term that refers to anything required for the execution of a project but most notably people, dollars, or equipment. The careful coordination and management of resources requires careful planning, tactful execution, and thorough reporting. With improved resource management comes efficiency for the business, greater credibility for the PMO and increased ROI on projects and investments.

Excel with a Strategy-Led Approach to PPM

The challenges outlined here are just a few of the common challenges posed to PMO leaders and are not automatically solved with the addition of tools or technology. It requires significant work and continuous improvement. This is where a strategy-led, business-outcome focused approach excels, using top-down project, program, and portfolio management to help mitigate risks and improve performance. By improving in these specific areas, PMOs and businesses alike can expect to see:

Increased organizational agility and receptive to changing demands

As changes are managed and improved upon by the PMO, the organization has a single source of truth and method of communication to smooth transitions and embrace uncertainty.

Improved portfolio prioritization and planning across the business

A hugely beneficial value contributor, portfolio prioritization empowers the organization to put precious resources on the projects that are the most important to the business.

Adaptive resource management to meet the needs of the organization.

Understanding true capacity of resources and aligning that with the demands of the business ensure the portfolio is set up for success from the beginning. With adaptive resourcing and efficient measurements, teams can improve utilization for both short term and long term gains.

Discover how PPM Trends and Innovations are shaping the future of project portfolio management.

Back to Mastering Project Portfolio Management.