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 will magically change.
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 occasionally in these posts, that eventually must be addressed. What’s next after mastering projects?
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.
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 time, teams start to create custom processes, you lose any standardization that you may have had initially, and pretty soon, gaining any insight into what’s happening from the top-down becomes impossible. The classic story of the perils in trying to scale Agile.
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 a meaningful outcome or it fails.
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 must have the ability to support portfolio analytics.
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 ignores them.
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.
There’s only one reason to engage in any piece of work – and that’s to achieve value. Sometimes the value is direct – like more revenue or lower costs. And sometimes it’s indirect – compliance, customer and employee satisfaction and the like. But regardless of how value is defined, every piece of work do has to deliver more than is invested in it. And in the vast majority of cases, what’s invested eventually comes down to money.
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 shifting circumstances and emerging opportunities. But regardless of how well any of that happens, you only deliver through the work that people do.
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 continuous planning at all. And it certainly isn’t adaptive.
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. Except that really wasn’t so simple, was it?
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 – what’s going on in your business?
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 your enterprise strategy – because it is.
A recent Gartner report offers insight into the evolving nature of PPM and the 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 a variety of tools and work styles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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 workflows, using modern tools and no code.
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 before it is approved.”
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!
Microsoft recently released a new feature for Project called Roadmap. According to Microsoft, “Roadmap is a visually exciting way to combine information from multiple Waterfall and Agile projects and share it with co-workers.” But that’s just the beginning…
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?
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).
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 for free here) here’s a brief overview.
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).
Margaret Wallace MPM, MCP, MCTS
October 24th, 2017
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 product can do for them would like to learn about this too!
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 work-arounds.
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 64%.
Margaret Wallace MPM, MCP, MCTS
August 17th, 2016
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.
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.
We’re excited to be participating in the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit once again this year. The Summit will will be in Orlando from June 6-8. If you plan on attending, please do stop by the UMT360 booth and say hello.
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.
“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 occasionally fall for a modern myth or urban legend. Just ask anyone who still believes that Elvis has never really “left the building.”
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 impact on your business.
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 face precisely the same challenges.
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 to admit to wondering how my presentation would resonate with the an audience comprised largely of folks who don’t share my native tongue. (Of course, some who know me would argue that an Englishman living in the U.S. must already have plenty of experience communicating with people who don’t speak his language.)
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 the world’s leading PMOs. Each year it seems to get better and better, with just about everyone responsible for directing their organization’s portfolio of projects, programs and initiatives in attendance!
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.
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.
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. We should be feeling pretty good about ourselves now.
In fact, with all this newfound visibility and insight, we could do a much better job with our traditional “set-it-and-forget-it” approach to annual planning. Read the rest of this entry
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 must be gathered and reconciled from disparate systems and then reports must be manually developed. Read the rest of this entry
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 PPM process to manage the demand for new investments.
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 decision-making. In short, they need to add more sophisticated business governance and investment planning and controls to their PPM process. But how?
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.
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. Read the rest of this entry
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. Read the rest of this entry
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 cloud products and services to federal agencies to be recognized as a secure provider.
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 stop by booth # 549 – we’d love to see you! Because not only can we show you how to make Project work harder for you. We also have a fun challenge that could make all your walking of the show floor really pay off!
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 be causing that gap, and what they can do to start addressing it. Read the rest of this entry
We asked the audience attending a recent UMT360 webinar – comprised mostly of Enterprise Architects (EAs) – a few questions. I learn the most when I hear directly from the professionals in our industry, so I thought I’d share a few of the results that I found particularly illuminating. Read the rest of this entry
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 that technology is having on today’s PPM professionals. One point in particular really resonated with me – traditional know-how is no longer enough for PPM professionals. Read the rest of this entry
(Final post of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.)
In this series of blog posts, we’ve established the importance of focusing on capabilities, prioritization, allocation and road maps as they relate to the Strategic PMO. But at the end of the day, all of those ideas and concepts simply set us up for being able to effectively deliver results. And delivery is a bit more complex than simply “finishing the project”. Successful delivery requires organizations to:
(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. Read the rest of this entry
(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 “allocate-or-not” mindset. Needless to say, these static and stagnant approaches are not very efficient. Read the rest of this entry
(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 strategies. Clearly, the ability to appropriately set priorities is crucial when it comes to managing enterprise investments. Read the rest of this entry
(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. Organizations struggle to bridge this gap because they lack the clarity required to focus on the capabilities that will help them achieve their strategy. Read the rest of this entry
(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 – so fascinating. As I listened to Harvard Business School Professor Dr. Michael E. Porter’s presentation, some ideas occurred to me about the gaps between strategy and execution that are way too prevalent in today’s enterprise program and portfolio management (EPPM). Read the rest of this entry
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 themselves on the continuum of establishing a strategic PMO. Literally. Because after taking the survey, each participant placed an old-school Polaroid selfie on the UMT360 booth corresponding to their score, showing how each respondent measured up against their peers. Read the rest of this entry
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 of business leader is emerging to help buck the trend and transform PPM. And the UMT360 team will be at the PMO Symposium in Miami to help showcase how these leaders are breaking the cycle of unreliable planning, cost overruns and project failures.
If you’re planning on attending the PMO Symposium in Miami from November 16-19, stop by the UMT360 booth to say hello. You can participate in our survey, picture how you measure up against your peers and be in the running for one of the free GoPro cameras we’ll be giving away at the end of each day. Read the rest of this entry
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 IT assessment survey. It was a quick and fun survey that measured responses on a scale ranging from “I have No Idea” to “We’re Awesome!” This survey was designed to help provide a sense of how IT leaders see their own organization’s development and transformation especially as it relates to these five principles of Enterprise Portfolio Management.
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?
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 investment decisions for the portfolio. (If you missed the webcast, it is archived here.)
Because interest in the webinar was so strong, we wanted to extend the conversation and have created the UMT360 Strategic PMO Breakfast Series. We’re fortunate in that Carl has signed on to present his wisdom again, but we’ll also take some time to look at the latest product developments that help the Strategic PMO fulfill the vision Carl will present, including:
Integrating investment planning and controls across the PPM life-cycle that result in optimized spend and maximized ROI
Streamlining capital planning and building stronger business cases
Automating financial tracking and variance analysis to enable dynamic planning
Establishing a benefits realization framework to measure results
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 the leap to becoming a strategic PMO office by focusing efforts on gaining control of their investments. Annual planning and traditional resource allocation is not enough, as it cannot accommodate the challenges of market complexity and rapid change. Portfolio rebalancing allows organizations to keep their investment priorities in check and optimize the resource allocation and consumption.
UMT360 are the experts in Enterprise Portfolio Management consulting services and solutions. Our proven methodology provides PMO, IT, business and finance leaders with the critical business planning and controls needed to improve their decision making and transform how they manage enterprise investments. Leveraging our industry leading expertise and technology along with Microsoft’s PPM platform, we help organizations at every level of maturity gain the visibility, insight and enterprise perspective they need to align execution with strategy across all project, program, product, IT asset and capability portfolios. A multi-year winner of Microsoft’s Partner of the Year for PPM, the company has been named a Gartner Cool Vendor in Program and Portfolio Management and is consistently recognized as a Visionary in the Gartner Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Magic Quadrant.