UMT360 Blog

Blog Posts from the Leader in Strategic Portfolio Management

Demand better demand management

Has any executive ever complained that they had too few projects?  Most feel that they have way too many projects, and can never get them all completed.  Yet having failed to deliver 100 projects for each of the last ten years they’ll still happily approve another 100 projects next year in the hope that something …

It’s time to go beyond – far beyond…

We’ve spent a lot of time in this series of blog posts looking at different elements – the imperatives – that are driving the need for Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM).  Because we believe that mastering these seemingly disparate elements is the key building a successful business.  But there’s another question, one that we’ve touched on …

UMT360 Positioned for its Strategic Portfolio Management Solution in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Strategic Portfolio Management

We’ve been telling the world for years now that Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) is the key to accelerating business transformation. And now we’re happy to announce our inclusion in Gartner’s new SPM Magic Quadrant. Gartner’s first ever Magic Quadrant on Strategic Portfolio Management has positioned UMT360 for its completeness of vision and ability to execute. …

Adopting Agile Execution Doesn’t Necessarily Make Your Business Agile.

It’s a familiar story.  You adopt Agile techniques to start delivering projects, and it seems to work well.  So, you start delivering more projects using Agile, and that works well too.  Sure, there are a few missteps and a few areas where it’s less successful, but you gloss over those, because, well, it’s Agile!  Over …

Is That Really The Outcome You Were Hoping For?

Why do you invest in projects and programs?  A simple question, but one that many employees likely can’t answer.  All investments are made to generate an outcome.  Whether that’s financial, reputational, regulatory, or any other category label you want to apply, every investment – in projects, programs, products, capabilities, technologies, et al has to produce …

Portfolio Analysis Answers The Age-Old Question “What If…?”

In an earlier post, we looked at roadmaps, something that has been getting a lot of attention in the last couple of years.  Most will agree that roadmaps need to have substance behind them and their purpose is to improve your ability to run your business and make key decisions.  And perhaps most importantly, they …

What’s the status of your status reports?

Since project management first became a formal discipline, status reports have been the bane of every project manager’s life.  Team members hate having to stop their work to update them.  Stakeholders doubt the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of them.  PMOs feel as though they spend way too much trying to corral them.  And leadership largely …

Roadmaps are the key to driving all transformation.

If your business doesn’t already some roadmaps, then you probably feel as though you should have them.  Because that’s what everyone seems to be been talking about – you have to have roadmaps, you can’t manage your business without roadmaps, roadmaps will unlock your strategic potential.  And on, and on, and on. But when you …

Effectively leveraging your most important asset – your resources.

It may be a cliché to say that people are your most important asset, but when it comes to Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM), that’s exactly what they are.  So far, we’ve considered the different ways work gets done, the different models for delivering on strategy, and the need to continuously adjust and adapt your plans …

To do planning right, it needs to be both continuous and adaptive.

A series of blogs about Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) wouldn’t be complete without a post stressing the importance of continuous or adaptive planning.  You may think you’ve heard it all before, but you really haven’t.  Because what is being promoted as the concept of continuous planning, and what many organizations have tried to embrace, isn’t …

What good is strategy if you can’t deliver on it?

Life used to be simple.  Leaders got together once a year and set priorities for the business, and those became goals and objectives.  Departments developed project proposals, with the “best” of those proposals (or the ones with the best sales pitch) approved as the initiatives that would help to achieve the stated goals and objectives.  …

SPM gives you the ability to see everything, no matter how it’s executed.

Our last post introduced the concept of Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM), kicking off a series of posts that will explore each of the key business imperatives you’ll need to address, and how effective SPM capabilities can help you address them.  There’s no better place to start than with the most fundamental question of all – …

Strategic Portfolio Management – the answer to today’s business imperatives

When Gartner starts talking about something, people typically listen.  And recently Gartner has been highlighting the importance of moving beyond the traditional project and portfolio management (PPM) approach to embrace the concept of Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM).  Broadly speaking, the idea behind SPM is that you manage all execution as if it is connected to …

Gartner advises organizations to adopt Strategic Portfolio Management processes and technology

A recent Gartner report offers insight into the evolving nature of PPM and the strategic portfolio management tools that program and portfolio management leaders need to effectively manage all work. This report is especially poignant to those who are tasked with driving digital transformation while also grappling with the associated challenges of managing work across …

Migrating from Oracle Primavera to Microsoft Project Online

These days, more and more organizations are looking to make the switch from Oracle Primavera to Microsoft Project Online. This decision can be driven by the need to move to a cloud-based SaaS solution, or simply because the organization wants a better user experience and increased flexibility for managing projects and portfolios. Organizations that have …

UMT360 extends Project for the Web capabilities

Project for the web marks the next chapter for Microsoft Project, providing a distinctive modern web interface and user experience for managing work of any size. In this post, we’ll explore how you can quickly add the robust portfolio management capabilities needed to help you accelerate business transformation. In addition to an elegant and easy-to-use …

Gartner Market Guide Confirms Strategy Execution Requires The Right Tools.

The most recent Gartner Market Guide for Strategy Execution Management features a simple but profound statement: “Strategy should always drive what we decide to do and how we decide to do it.” Take it from a company who has been saying essentially the same thing for years, that quote really nails it. Strategy execution expertise …

Using Microsoft Teams collaboration capabilities with UMT360

Many organizations are in the process of moving from Skype to Microsoft Teams. In addition to providing the ability to message and call team members, Microsoft Teams also provides great team collaboration capabilities. Let’s take a look at how to leverage those capabilities in conjunction with UMT360.

What Are The Keys To Mastering Portfolio Management?

Chances are good that if you’re not already acting on a mandate from your executives to drive business transformation, you’re looking for a way to do just that. But if you approach this challenge focused only on project execution, you’ll soon discover that driving transformation without first connecting execution to strategy is next to impossible. …

Streamlining Resource Planning

Resource management has always been a thorn in the side for organizations looking to optimize precious resources. For one educational institution, adopting a new process has literally meant the difference between night and day. Here’s a before and after look at how they improved it… A very sticky situationDuring their quarterly planning process, the team …

Configuring custom project fields in Project for the web

You may already know this, but Project for the web comes with a Dynamics app called Project. At the time of writing this post, the app provides you with the following capabilities: Access to a central repository of all the projects created with Project for the web Access to the pool of resources assigned to …

Using Power Automate to create automated approval workflows in Project

Project for the web is Microsoft’s most recent offering for cloud-based work and project management. It’s built on top of Common Data Service (CDS), which opens a lot of possibilities when working with Microsoft’s new chapter of project management software. One of the scenarios made possible by CDS and the Power platform is building robust …

Gartner Magic Quadrant recognizes UMT360 as a visionary

Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications (IIPA) was just released, and once again, UMT360 has been recognized as a visionary provider. According to Gartner, “integrating portfolios using IIPA software enables IT managers to see the cost, effort, technical complexity, feasibility and interrelated effects of a proposed IT change or digital initiative …

Building reports and dashboards with Project for the web

Project for the web marks the next chapter for Microsoft Project, providing a distinctive modern web interface and user experience for managing work of any size. Project for the web is built on the Microsoft Power Platform, which means that, unlike its predecessor, all data is stored in the Common Data Service (CDS). Why is …

Microsoft’s Work Management Offerings Just Got More Interesting!

Microsoft’s robust selection of modern work management offerings just got a whole lot more interesting with the release of Project for the web. This exciting new, modern web-based task and project management solution provides an experience that supports co-authoring, interactive grid/board/timeline views and a whole lot more! A range of work management solutions This new …

The View From The Gartner PPM Summit

Last month in Washington DC, PPM leaders from all over the world gathered for Gartner’s Program & Portfolio Management Summit. We thought we’d share a few observations from the event. With close to 2,000 attendees, this annual Gartner summit is certainly one of the highlights of the year for anyone involved with PPM. As one …

Gartner’s Market Guide For Strategy Execution

Gartner’s recent market guide on Strategy Execution Management Software advises that any PPM leader interested in driving business transformation invest in tools to help them more effectively manage strategy execution. So what does that mean?

Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for IIPA Recognizes UMT360 As A Visionary

For the seventh consecutive year, UMT360 is once again recognized as a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications (IIPA). In its 2018 report, Gartner recognizes UMT360 for its completeness of vision and ability to execute. The full report can be found here (Gartner subscription required).

Responding To A Mandate For Business Transformation

Every year, UMT360 participates in the Gartner PPM Summit. This year’s event was held June 12-14 in National Harbor, MD. As they have in previous years, the folks at ProjectManagement.com asked me to provide some observations on this year’s Summit. You can find the whole article here, but if you don’t have an account (register …

UMT360 Named A Visionary In Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for IIPA

UMT360 has once again been recognized as a Visionary in Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications (IIPA). This is the sixth consecutive year that UMT360 has been recognized by Gartner for its completeness of vision and ability to execute. The full report can be found here (Gartner subscription required).

Using Dependencies & Validations for Project Online/Server Fields

I was recently teaching a class for UMT360 Administrators, and as I was covering the feature Dependencies and Validations for Project Server Fields, one of my students in the class exclaimed in a eureka moment, “I didn’t know we could do that!” So I thought, maybe others who are not aware of what their UMT360 …

Introducing UMT360 Apps for Microsoft PPM

There’s no question that Microsoft Project Online and Project Server are world-class PPM solutions. When implemented correctly, Microsoft’s PPM platform enables organizations to establish the solid foundation they need to manage project execution. But when it comes to extending capabilities beyond Microsoft’s core PPM features, organizations have historically relied on expensive and complicated customizations and …

New tools and techniques turn project management into strategy execution

Gartner recently published its Market Guide for Strategy Execution Software. If you’re a Gartner client, you can access it here. The report speaks to the “execution gap” that many organizations are struggling with, and the main culprit seems to be a reliance on traditional tools and processes that keep project success rates stuck at around …

New Pricing & Options For Microsoft PPM Cloud

Microsoft recently announced new pricing for its Project Cloud PPM platform. As with any pricing change, how this new plan may impact your organization depends on your particular situation. Let’s first take a look at the facts, which will help provide a clearer idea of what it could mean to you.

For today’s strategic PMO, real business transformation begins at home

What do people really mean when they talk about business transformation? And why do we seem to be hearing so much about business transformation within the context of project and program management? Perhaps a few insights from this year’s Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit in Orlando can help to answer those questions.

Can A PPM Platform Really Deliver 300% ROI?

A recent Forrester Consulting report commissioned by Microsoft examines the costs and benefits of deploying Office 365 Project and Portfolio Management. The bottom-line? According to Forrester, a typical organization can realize a 301% ROI over three years! That’s a pretty bold claim, so let’s take a look at how they arrived at that figure.

Microsoft PPM Platforms: The Fact And The Fiction

“Decades-old fables about Microsoft Project’s lack of capabilities bear little resemblance to today’s reality.” We’ve all heard the age-old myths about the moon being made of cheese or fantastic creatures patrolling murky depths or hairy giants haunting the Pacific Northwest. With experience comes the wisdom to recognize which is truth and which isn’t. Yet, some of us do still …

Looking to do more in 2016?

The end of the year is a time to connect with loved ones, celebrate the holidays, and make resolutions for the New Year. For PMO leaders, it’s also the perfect time to take a step back and assess the effectiveness of the processes you use to manage project and program investments, while also assessing their …

On A Journey To PMO Maturity

This fall, the UMT360 team participated in several industry events featuring PMO leaders presenting thought-provoking keynotes and informative breakout sessions. Attending these events always gives us a chance to learn, along with an opportunity to speak with PMO leaders from all walks of life. It also is a great reminder that no two organizations have exactly the same needs or …

Is Your PMO Ready To Lead?

UMT360’s own Ben Chamberlain presents the keynote at this year’s Project Management Days event in Helsinki. I was invited to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Project Management Days in Helsinki. It was an honor to kick off this event in front of hundreds of project management professionals from around the world. But I have …

An Oasis For PMOs In The Desert

The UMT360 team, along with PMO leaders from around the world, will be in Phoenix from November 8-11, 2015 for the PMO Symposium.   The PMO Symposium is one of our favorite events of the year. It’s where hundreds of business leaders gather for a behind-the-scenes look into the proven strategies and practices that drive success for some of …

A Good Start Makes All The Difference

It’s back-to-school time. And that means a fresh start for kids just looking for an opportunity to learn and grow. This year, the UMT360 team is hoping to make a difference for a few foster kids here in Washington state. Because each fall, thousands of them head back to school, and too many lack the essentials to succeed in the classroom.

Is Robust Benefits Realization Finally In Reach?

Part 5 in a series on how to extend the value of Microsoft Project Online & Project Server…By now we know how important good business cases are to ensuring good project and program selection. A business case helps the organization determine the relative value of investments, and are also used to evaluate and prioritize competing initiatives. But …

Creating A Dynamic Planning Framework & Taking Corrective Action

Part 4 in a series on how to extend the value of Microsoft Project Online & Project Server…OK, so we’ve seen how to easy it is to integrate financials into our PPM process. We’ve recognized the importance of building robust business cases. We’ve realized that time wasted on manual reporting can be spent on more strategic activities. …

It’s Time To Automate Status Reporting & Variance Analysis

Part 3 in a series on how to extend the value of Microsoft Project Online & Project Server…One the banes of today’s Project Management professionals is status reporting. It’s an important component of any PPM process. But’s it’s often a logistical nightmare that typically involves manual processes that suck valuable time away from more strategic activities. Data …

Better Portfolios Begin with Better Business Cases

Part 2 in a series on how to extend the value of Microsoft Project Online & Project Server…An organization’s portfolio of projects is really a collection of strategic investments. And these investments are of course made with the expectation that they will drive better business results. Too often, not enough is done on the front-end of the …

Why It’s Important To Integrate Investment Planning & Controls

Part 1 in a series on how to extend the value of Microsoft Project Online & Project Server… The growing pressures on today’s PMO require that they deliver more than just strong tactical project management skills. To support these strategic demands, project management professionals need increased visibility. They need direct access to information that helps guide better …

The Winds of Digital Change Are Howling

This year’s Gartner PPM Summit was held just outside of Dallas, TX, in early June. One of the highlights of the event was the standing room-only presentation by UMT360 client Frank LaRocca about how PMOs need to adjust their methods to adapt to a changing business environment. The wild local weather that passed through the area just …

It’s time for the PMO to focus on the big picture

No, the UMT360 team didn’t come up with the theme for this year’s Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit. But we certainly could have. Because from our perspective, the event’s theme — Thriving on Digital Chaos: Innovation, Agility and Collaboration — sounds exactly like what we’ve been telling our clients for years now.

Managing Investments – That’s Your Real Project!

We met a lot of folks at the Microsoft Ignite Conference in Chicago last week. And while everyone we spoke with had unique and specific challenges, one common thread ran through our conversations. Most organizations we spoke with used Microsoft Project Online or Project Server as their PPM tool, yet still wanted a more efficient and effective way to manage their projects. …

What’s FedRAMP and why is it important to you?

If you work in public sector IT, you’ve probably heard of FedRAMP. And if it hasn’t yet made an impact on you or your agency, it soon will. FedRAMP stands for The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. It’s essentially a comprehensive framework, established in 2012, that defines what it takes for a company providing …

Things Will Be Heating Up At Ignite Next Week!

Close to 20,000 people will gather in Chicago for Microsoft Ignite during the first week of May. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there, but we’re particularly interested in connecting with anyone who manages or depends on Microsoft Project Online and Project Server. If that sounds like you, and you’re planning on attending Ignite, please …

The Enterprise’s Biggest Challenge – Bridging the Planning & Execution Gap

A recent UMT360 webinar attracted about 200 project management professionals interested in learning more about how today’s PMO can bridge the planning and execution gap. Judging from the responses to our poll questions during the presentation, nobody doubts that there is a gap. But it’s clear that many organizations are not quite sure what may …

Digitalization And The Changing Role Of PPM

I am an avid proponent of the transformative effects of technology. Indeed, digitalizing traditional PPM is core to our mission of helping organizations bridge the gap between strategy and execution. That’s why the recent Q&A with Gartner “Thriving on Digital Chaos” caught my attention. It’s an interesting read, one that touches on the disruptive impact …

Mapping the Road from Investments to Value Realization

(Part five of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.) Effective planning and execution of strategic initiatives requires that processes, technology and implementation all be synchronized with company strategy. Organizations that ignore these dependencies risk not being able to implement even moderately complex programs.

Linking Resource Allocation To Strategy

(Part four of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.) For many companies, the allocation of resources is driven from the bottom up. Allocation decisions are often disconnected from business capabilities, are commonly based only on one year of data, or are guided by a simple …

Prioritization – Making The Right Tradeoffs

(Part three of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.) A recent Gartner report provides some interesting perspective on the impact that prioritization has on today’s enterprise. Gartner reports that a majority of CIOs agree that non-prioritized, competing projects and programs are an obstacle to implementing …

Connecting Strategy to Execution

(Part two of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.) To be truly successful, every organization must have a well-articulated strategy. And it’s crucial that this strategy be tightly aligned with an execution plan. But for many, there’s still a significant gap between strategy and execution. …

Evolving From Tactical To Strategic PMO

(Part one of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.) For decades now, the PMO has been typically focused on tactical execution. Which is what made the keynote address at this year’s PMO Symposium – by one of the world’s foremost authorities on competitive advantage – …

Shaking The Traditional PMO… Like A Polaroid Picture

The UMT360 team just returned from the PMO Symposium in South Florida, where we met lots of folks interested in learning about transforming their PMO. Symposium attendees stopping by the UMT360 booth learned about the benefits of establishing a strategic PMO and participated in the UMT360 PMO Maturity Assessment. The assessment survey helps organizations picture …

Powering The Strategic PMO

You’re probably familiar with the grim statistics. Industry analysts tell us that traditional PPM is failing to deliver the anticipated results. And despite continued and significant investments in PPM, companies are still losing up to 46% of the planned business value from their project portfolios. Clearly, the status quo isn’t working. But a new breed …

Survey Results Hint At Big Challenges for IT Transformation

A big thanks to all the attendees of the IT Portfolio Management Conference in Chicago who stopped by the UMT360 booth. The event was a fantastic opportunity to connect with IT leaders looking to transform how they manage enterprise IT investments. Many of the folks who stopped by the UMT360 booth participated in our 2014 …

Traditional Strategic Planning Is Still Not Very Strategic

Enterprises have invested billions of dollars implementing PPM solutions under the promise that they would increase project effectiveness and efficiency. But have those solutions delivered on their promises? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Traditional PPM is simply failing to deliver the anticipated results. There are many reasons, but at a fundamental level, PPM is notorious …

Just What is a Strategic PMO?

UMT360’s recent webinar schedule has focused on enabling PMOs to be strategic. Great topics, with some world-class PMO professionals including Learning How to Establish a Strategic PMO with Carl Souchereau from SNC Lavalin T&D, and Changing the PMO Status Quo with Frank La Rocca from ConEd. In fact, we’ve seen so much interest in the …

Calling All Strategic PMOs (And Those Looking to Become One)

Back in July, we ran a successful webinar discussing what it takes to create a strategic PMO. The webcast, led by Carl Souchereau, formerly of TransAlta and now Project Director at SNC Lavalin, provided practical advice around mastering the important yet tactical aspects of project management as well as taking strategic responsibility for managing the …

The Power of Regular Portfolio Reviews and Dynamic Reallocation

During a recent UMT360 webinar covering How to Become a Strategic PMO (see archive here), we found that only 1% have regular dynamic reallocation reviews via automated processes. Another 39% have regular reviews, but require manual, time-intensive efforts to collect and standardize data. UMT360’s message to PPM practitioners is that this is their opportunity to take …

UMT360 v6.4 – Product Update 4

We’re pleased to announce the availability of UMT360 v6.4 – Product Update 4 (PU4). Product Updates include all previously released public updates and private hotfixes. We strongly recommend that any patch and release is validated in a non-production environment first before being applied to production environments. Here is a list of changes that will be …

UMT360 v6.3 – Product Update 3

We’re pleased to announce the availability of UMT360 v6.3 – Product Update 3 (PU3). Product Updates include all previously released public updates and private hotfixes. We strongly recommend that any patch and release is validated in a non-production environment first before being applied to production environments. Here is a list of changes that will be …

UMT360 v6.2 – Product Update 2

We’re pleased to announce the availability of UMT360 v6.2 – Product Update 2 (PU2). Product Updates include all previously released public updates and private hotfixes. We strongly recommend that any patch and release is validated in a non-production environment first before being applied to production environments.

UMT360 v6.1 – Product Update 1

We’re pleased to announce the availability of UMT360 v6.1 – Product Update 1 (PU1). Product Updates include all previously released public updates and private hotfixes. We strongly recommend that any patch and release is validated in a non-production environment first before being applied to production environments.

Release announcement: UMT360 v6.0

We’re excited to announce the availability of UMT360 v6.0, a major release supporting SharePoint 2016, 2019 and Project Online. This release includes a set of new features, as well as various enhancements across all product areas. All previously released public updates and private hotfixes are also part of v6.0. We strongly recommend that any release …