Project Portfolio Management truly adds value

The Microsoft partners and customers testimonials in Barcelona at Project Momentum were very clear. Project Portfolio Management does really add value to the business.

According to the Campana and Schott Group, PPM adds value in 3 major ways:
1. It reduces time overrun (37% to 15%)
2. It reduces budget overrun (25% to 11%)
3. It increases the share of projects that really add economic value to the business

Top performers in PPM use it not only to standardize processes and rules but also to be in position to reprioritize and review projects more frequently as business conditions evolve which is a key advantage for them over competitors.

It is to be noted that PPM means different things to different people and often drives slightly different implementations while all add value:

  • Implementing a workflow for project prioritization
  • Prioritizing projects and simulating the value of different scenarios to make the best decision
  • Optimizing the use of resources

UMT Consulting Group mentioned that in their view PPM also facilitates the 3 Cs of demand management: Centralize, Control and Catalog. It provides the company with the ability to capture estimated costs and expected benefits over the course of the entire project over multiple years if necessary.

PM Consulting Services founder, Vladimir Ivanov, also uses PPM to accept and schedule change requests to existing projects in order to centralize and make these very visible to all involved with the project.

During the afternoon, we had the striking testimonial of Stéphane Perrin of Volvo IT who has recently deployed Project Server 2010. For him, the reasons for deciding an Enterprise Portfolio Management tool can be multiple.

3 reasons were key to his choice of the Project Server tool: Required functionalities coverage, quality/ease of the user interface and scalability of the solution.

Running many projects in parallel and managing several projects portfolios for the various customers of the transversal and global IT function, his advices were well listened to. He notably spoke about the different types of PPM that companies or in his case business units within the company may need. When his customers tel him "we want a PPM", he tries to make the distinction between those who want an operational PPM versus a strategic PPM. The operational PPM is mainly a dashboard to control projects execution while the strategic one involves processes and governance for project portfolio optimization.

So, before launching a full blown PPM implementation, check out what your company of B.U. really wants...

We also benefited from his insight on the training aspect. The approach he has retained for new PMs coming on board the PPM solution is a day and a half course to get the basic concepts followed by one the job coaching for 1 day with an experiences PM to help with the real day to day work the PM will need to perform on the new tool set. "Start small and be very clear on the objective" was the final advice I retained from Kudelski group this afternoon.

Michel Operto

I've been leading IT projects for more than 20 years at telecom and computer manufacturers: Thomson Sintra, Digital Equipment, NCR, Nortel Networks, Orange Business. My passion is Project Management and leadership and I run a blog on the PM best practices at