5 Common Project Portfolio Management Adoption Hurdles and How to Avoid Them

Henry Bennett

Explore the 5 most common Project Portfolio Management Adoption Hurdles and How to Avoid Them

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is designed to provide clarity and accountability to your entire project management and project delivery process. The Project Portfolio Management implementation itself will bring about change and just like any other change management project, it will likely be met with some degree of resistance. What’s more, with the unrivalled level of transparency and exposure that PPM will bring to the people, projects and processes within the business, there will naturally be a degree of scepticism and fear felt among the senior management team. There will be many challenges and hurdles to overcome when implementing PPM, here are some of the typical barriers faced:

1. The Dreaded Company Culture & In House Politics
Company culture and in house politics will be one of the main barriers to adoption. Resistance to Project Portfolio Management is likely and will not be fully understood by all involved, therefore you will need to constantly educate staff regarding the benefits and value of PPM. Appointing a Project Portfolio Management ’evangelist’ will assist with this task.

2. A Failure to Tackle Resistance
Management failing to identify and tackle resistant individuals early on in the process is a mistake. Do not assume that individuals will improve their performance once the new product is introduced. If your company has a low level of project and programme management maturity, you may need to engage with external experts, or look to outsource your PMO function.

3. A Lack of Senior Management “Buy In”
Senior management ‘buy in’ to the purpose, benefits and value PPM will bring to the business is vital to the adoption process. In order to achieve this, consensus must be reached amongst management on the criteria for selecting, authorising and approving projects. This will reduce the number of pet projects in play, ensure senior management understand the benefits and deliverables of each project, and help provide a consistent repeatable system for delivering projects and services.

4. Disruption and Change
PPM adoption will inevitably cause a degree of disruption; any disagreements over the pace of introduction will only cause further problems. The tool selection process along with the support and investment needed for a successful PPM implementation will present major challenges for the business to overcome. To overcome this, avoid taking the big bang approach, an execution led approach, with thousands of tasks is highly complex and very difficult to achieve in an acceptable time frame. Take a strategic led approach, focus on the business objectives and implement a top down approach, where all project stakeholders can clearly see each projects deliverables, and the impact on the organisations resource capability and finances.

5. Big Brother is watching you
The business may need to collect timesheet data in order to gain the full picture on what employees are working on and how this impacts the delivery of the project portfolio. Staff may view the adoption of timesheet technology as the ‘Big Brother Syndrome ‘and may feel as if they are being watched. It is therefore important that you are educating staff about the real benefits such as increased productivity and utilisation, as well as timesheet data being key to analysing project progress and portfolio health.