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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 would expect from a gathering of thought-leaders, there were lots of people extolling the virtues of thinking more strategically and warning everyone who would listen that digital business transformation is threatening to – if it hasn’t already – disrupt all of our lives.

Learning from clients about their successes

Events like this are always great opportunities to gain perspective on some of the larger issues that impact project management from a “30,000 foot view”. But it’s also the perfect place to learn from folks on the front-lines who are delivering day-in and day-out in the face of a variety of challenges. People like UMT360 client Andrew North from Mondelēz, who shared how his organization has simplified, automated & enhanced portfolio visibility.

So what’s keeping PMOs up at night?

While at the event, the UMT360 team surveyed dozens of people to learn which of 10 selected business imperatives were top-of-mind. The results were predictable to anyone who’s been paying attention to the changes within PPM over the past few years, and instructive for those of us whose job it is to help organizations accelerate the transformation their executives are now demanding.

Results of UMT360 survey asking “Which are the top 3 imperatives keeping you up at night?”

The tri-modal reality is on everyone’s mind

One of the imperatives many folks seem concerned about is their ability (or more likely, their inability) to gain visibility across what we call the tri-modal reality. That is, managing work across a combination of traditional, Agile and back-of-the-napkin methodologies. They understand that while it’s important to allow teams to execute in the manner that they prefer, there’s also a concern that the organization needs to provide better visibility across all work, regardless of how it’s being delivered.

Portfolio management seems to be the missing link

Another seeming blind-spot for many is the lack of insight across the portfolio. We call this the missing link, and it’s obviously something that many organizations continue to struggle with. When taken together with the ability to go beyond projects and connect portfolios across the enterprise, it’s clear that portfolio management is an area that more and more organizations have concerns about, but aren’t quite sure what to do.

Ignore these imperatives at your own risk

Other areas of concern for many who took our survey include value management/benefits realization, resource management and adopting a more dynamic continuous planning approach. What’s becoming clear is that all of these imperatives are critical for any organization to address if they are truly interested in developing the capabilities that will help them to more effectively drive digital business transformation.

Strategy execution is the key to driving transformation

One of the big take-aways from this year’s Gartner PPM Summit was that in order to avoid disruption and continue to develop innovative products and services, organizations must invest in digital business transformation. Indeed, the best way for PMO, Finance, Business and IT leaders to respond to this mandate is by continuing to master both Strategy Planning and Execution. But doing so requires capabilities that integrate both top-down portfolio management capabilities with bottom-up project delivery best practices. Like Gartner, we have lots of ideas about how to help organizations do just that. What is your organization doing? Let us know in the comments.