Does the PMO Need a Tool?

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If your PMO does not currently have a PPM tool, it should, at least, be using some tools and techniques to provide services and information to your stakeholders. Put simply, you need to use the best and most appropriate blend of tools that you can to provide effective and efficient PMO services.

There might be a wealth of reasons why you do not use a formal/commercial PPM tool; it is likely these reasons will all be based on a selection of the following:

  • Your Portfolio of project seems too small to benefit from a PPM tool
  • Your project management function is not mature enough to consider having a PPM tool
  • The expense of a PPM tool cannot be justified in the current budget
  • The Project delivery staff do not see the benefit and will not engage in using a PPM tool
  • You have used a tool but implementation was not successful and it has fallen into dis-repair and dis-use
  • Your organisation feel their change process is unique and no PPM tool will fit.

The Small Project portfolio

Most organisations that run projects will have a number of them active per year and will benefit from some analysis of the projects grouped together, giving common information. Significant investment in a PPM tool is not likely to be necessary for a small number of projects, but there will need to be some manual collection of data and careful planning to get reasonable analysis.

 

A complete PPM tool might be over the top in the case of a small population of projects but some ability to collect common information and easily report it will be helpful.

 

Project Management Maturity

As we have discussed in other posts Why do PPM tools fail? The organisation can make the mistake of selecting a complex and demanding PPM tool that the project delivery team cannot effectively use. Clearly the tool needs to be appropriate to the level of understanding and experience in the project delivery team.

 

Expense of tool

Although the expense of a PPM tool is a common reason for not buying one, the decision whether or not to use one should be the same as for determining the value of running any other project. Therefore, the cost of the tool needs to be judged against the benefits it provides. A PPM tool or any other tools used in the PMO should make the job of delivering projects easier and provide more value than the cost of purchase, license or development of the tool. If it does not meet that simple demand, then why is it being deployed?

 

Engagement of Project teams

One of the most difficult areas is opposition to the introduction of a tool because project teams see the tool as an obstacle to successful projects or an unnecessary micro management of project and programme managers. All Project delivery stakeholders need to be involved during the selection and implementation of PPM tools. Some project management staff may feel threatened but if the tool is used correctly to improve the delivery of projects and provide useful information, then this need not be the case.

 

The existing or previous PPM tool failed

Another difficult case is the occasion where a PPM tool has been selected and for whatever reason it has not provided the expected outcome. It may be that it does not provide the functionality expected or that it has in built-in issues that were not apparent when purchasing the tool. But it can be just as easily failing through lack of engagement or just simply lack of understanding of how to collect and use data effective at the portfolio level. Organisations where PPM implementations have failed are naturally reticent about venturing into future PPM implementations. In these circumstances it is doubly important that all stakeholders are engaged, trained and appropriately involved in the whole process.

 

The Organisation is unique and PPM tool do not fit

Another difficult point to overcome is the situation where your organisation believes their requirement is unique and no tool can provide a solution. It is extremely rare that a project portfolio requirement is so different in an organisation that no tool can provide an answer. This point will require some flexibility from the organisation to look at standard approaches, also in some situations the use of the tool might need to be adapted. But if you are buying a package it is best to avoid having it modified. Modified Packages are never as good a fit as bespoke solutions and more expensive than the standard offering.

 

Conclusions

If you believe that your organisation is not ready to use a PPM tool or has had bad experiences in the use of tools there is still a need for the PMO to collect data and provide a service in matching projects to the organisations need and capability to deliver them. A simple set of tools that assist in collecting data from projects and measuring organisations expectation and performance achieved is invaluable for PMOs that do not have that information at their finger tips from a PPM solution.

However, if a PPM tool is needed it is vital that the most appropriate one is selected and adequate training and support is given to those using it to gain the benefit from the purchase.

 

How can LogicTicks help?

LogicTicks can help with:

  • The analysis of whether or not a PPM tool is appropriate
  • Provide support and guidance in better use of Microsoft Office and other existing tools you have in place to help improve data collection and accuracy
  • If a PPM tool is needed, then LogicTicks can support in the selection of the most appropriate PPM solution
  • LogicTicks can help to raise the maturity level of project management delivery and therefore gain maximum advantage from the implementation of a PPM tool.