Changing market conditions add additional pressure to PPM practitioners: With uncertain economics keeping many companies away from recruiting for now, the resource pool is limited and competition is fierce. In response, PMOs are looking towards increasingly capable PPM platforms that tap into new technologies to maintain their relevance and offer new possibilities. Mobile access, for example, has become an important design feature as project data is brought into the field with executives. Ditto Cloud-hosted services, which are simplifying the back-end issues and allowing project teams to focus on the matters at hand in a hosted, collaborative workspace.
Even the most accessible PPM environment won’t be of much use without data, however; for this reason, PMOs are looking past simple trace-and-track project management to fully integrated PPM systems that link project status with back-end HR, financials, vendor sourcing and other systems.
Read Part 2 - Data-driven project portfolio management.
Even application lifecycle management tools are being integrated, allowing project managers to monitor development progress without making developers feel they’re being watched by an impatient taskmaster.
Careful planning and execution have paid off for LandCorp, a WA land and infrastructure development company that manages around 200 long-term projects over the course of 10 years.
Struggling with a system originally developed in 1995, LandCorp recently revisited its project management strategy and spent seven months to plan the PMO’s new design and ensure executives were on the same page. After considerable hard work — and user outreach, training days, demonstrations and a two-day pilot test that tied up 20 per cent of LandCorp’s staff — the new environment is now set to go live and expected to substantially improve visibility of the company’s resources.
To ensure the project stayed on track, IT manager, Roland Parrotte, monitored progress using regular gateway reviews run by a project control group made up of six other executives that met regularly throughout the implementation. User acceptance testing, third-party reviews and the development of internal knowledge have all helped the new PPM environment — which has been integrated with the corporate Oracle Financials system — to improve project visibility and overall planning capabilities.
“When you’re dealing with 20 years’ worth of data, you need to know what the truth is,” Parrotte says. “This is not just an IT project; it’s a project management implementation to assist LandCorp’s project managers. When things change, you need to have that portfolio and that ideas approach to be able to make decisions. We’re changing the way we deal with our data, and our PPM system will be the source of truth for our general ledger and budgets from here on in.”
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