Dear project manager,
You are doing a great job. You work hard on your project. You look after your team and work together to complete the project with the best possible results and on time. What you don’t need is more work, more reporting and more processes. And that is just what it seems project portfolio management would create for you. But project portfolio management isn’t just a process that creates more work, and it brings benefits to more than just senior management. You need PPM too! Surprised? Here are six reasons why you need PPM, and how it can actually improve your daily work.
Reason #1: Create Realistic Schedules
Tasks, deadlines, milestones, resource allocations, priorities, cross-project dependencies and risk levels… These are quite a few factors involved in project planning, and these are by no means all of them. The bottom line: project planning must always look into the future. The more factors that come into play and the further into the future projects are planned, the more difficult it becomes.
Multi-project planning in the context of project portfolio management uses available information to plan the near future accurately and realistically. What lies ahead further into the future can only be roughly planned – guesstimates do not help anyone at this point.
Project portfolio management solutions like Meisterplan make it easier to predict the future with features such as:
The ability to visualize capacity and demand for predictive resource management
Dashboards (graphical views of project data) for informed decisions
Scenario planning to assess the impact of potential changes
For you, as a project manager, this means that you can make a sound project timeline that is accountable for all relevant factors – or even get a working schedule without having to do extensive planning on your own.
Reason #2: Avoid Overloading Your Project Teams
Any project manager with some work experience has already become acquainted with the dreaded failed project. Delivered too late, failed to live up to expectations, over budget, not accepted by the end users, cut off mid-project –there are many reasons why projects fail. In a perfect world, if there are enough employees assigned to each project, they rarely fail. In reality, unfortunately, things are different. Employees are taking on more and more work at all levels. When a person is assigned to multiple projects, he or she often has to prioritize and neglect certain projects while still working overtime.
It is not easy for those who have to manage such an overloaded and disgruntled team. Therefore, it is important to avoid such scenarios from the beginning. Project portfolio management shows what the true resource capacity is on a company-wide level or on a team level. It also allows for smart allocations according to project prioritization. This helps both you and your team.
Reason #3: Solve Problem Projects Faster
Nobody likes to scream for help and nobody wants to abandon a project too soon or admit to even bigger problems. That is why projects in the green are often discussed in more detail than problem projects.
The fallacy is that, as a project manager, you might think you’d be blamed. However, many things are simply beyond your control or are completely understandable. Believe me, PPM helps project managers in difficult situations, be it through advice, decisions, or actions. You don’t have to be afraid that you will immediately be seen in a bad light.
Incidentally, many executives suspect that project managers are missing out on the “bad and ugly” in their reporting, which poses a great risk to the project’s career. Incidentally, many executives suspect that project managers omit the negatives from their reports, which poses a great risk to the development of projects.
The good news? Project portfolio management enables early detection of problems and, therefore, also timely interventions. It closes the dangerous communication gap within the organization and empowers you to get quick support for projects that are performing poorly or for conflicts that become visible through easy-to-understand reports and dashboards. And that happens without you having to specifically ask for help.
Thanks to PPM, more and more projects are added to the portfolio only if they are of high value for the company, have a controllable risk and can be realized in terms of resources and budget. In other words, the risk of failed projects drops immensely.
Reason #4: Find It Easier to Say No
We know the triumphant feeling of successfully completing a difficult project despite all the risks, obstacles and conflicts. But sometimes you have to say no to projects – especially when instructions make little sense and are not very realistic. This is the case, for example, if:
You do not have sufficient (or adequate) resources to complete a project in the given timeframe
An important resource would need to be removed from a higher priority project, which could have fatal consequences
A new task is important, but not urgent, and you cannot accept distractions right now
Are you afraid to express your skepticism and then be ignored? Project portfolio management and a Lean PPM solution like Meisterplan will help you avoid this situation or it will back up your arguments. With Meisterplan, you can easily demonstrate the effects of changes such as reducing resources or adding tasks. You can show decision makers the implications of the proposed scenario and initiate a productive discussion.
Reason #5: Learn from the Mistakes of Others
Your own experience as a project manager is immensely important in order to avoid mistakes. But the experience of others is equally important because you cannot experience every imaginable problem yourself. PPM ensures that “lessons learned” spread throughout the company and that the insights and solutions of others also help you.
Reason #6: Reduce Stress
Project portfolio management is here to make your life easier. Even if, at first glance, you may only see the extra work. Just keep in mind:
Suddenly, there is someone who takes care of the strategic issues of everyday business, follows your project progress and supports you with the appropriate methods and resources. With PPM, there is an early warning system for project problems and conflicts, which makes it easier to keep everything in the green. The burden of overseeing and regulating everything is no longer on your shoulders, and you can concentrate fully on day-to-day operations.
In addition, project portfolio management no longer needs a huge amount administrative management with a lot of bureaucracy. Approaches such as Lean PPM requires only a minimum amount of work from you, the project manager.
So let’s summarize. Project managers who:
do not want to commit avoidable mistakes,
want to be relieved,
want to focus on operational tasks,
don’t want to waste your energy on projects that are doomed to failure,
want to be heard by the stakeholders,
do not want to mess with overworked team members, and
want more success in their job,
need project portfolio management. Have we convinced you?