As the company grew, the size and complexity of the projects grew as well. To combat this growing complexity, the team developed a governance committee to plan and prioritize projects across multiple teams. This committee of representatives from relevant business functions meet once a month to manage the project intake process and make decisions on what is in the pipeline. Because the committee was highly democratic in nature and gave the team an opportunity to show their work to the broader company, it greatly improved transparency. However, as the company continued to grow, the Strategic Programs team saw a need to streamline this process even more.
At that point, the project pipeline and portfolio were managed in a shared spreadsheet. As more projects entered the pipeline and those projects grew more complex, it became more and more difficult to visualize the project portfolio and its impacts on resources. Ping Identity needed to see a full overview of all project timings, durations and priorities. At the same time, they needed to see when teams had available capacity to complete incoming projects. Some of their employees were in high demand, and everyone wanted them on their projects. It became very important to plan out their capacities far in advance to prevent missed delivery dates. The spreadsheets did not represent this kind of information in a way that was easy to understand or work with.
The spreadsheets used to manage the project portfolio also caused duplicate work for the Strategic Programs team. To provide a clear overview of the entire project portfolio to the governance committee, project managers had to enter their staffing plans in both Smartsheet and the spreadsheet. In addition, when a new project was added to the portfolio, all the formulas needed to be updated to correctly represent the impacts of the new project. “Every time a new project came on, someone would ask, ‘Hey Dan, can you go in and update the formulas so that they all work again?’ So, in other words, it was not very scalable.” said Madden. The spreadsheet representation of the project portfolio may have worked well for the team in the past, but it was simply too manual of a process to be scaled.