PPM Software: What Is It, and Does Your Business Need to Use It?
PPM software can lead your small business more reliably toward your company’s long-term goals.
Project portfolio management (PPM) is an often-misunderstood component of business planning and overall strategy. It is similar in name to project management (PM). That’s why many new entrepreneurs and managers mistake the two for being comparable. However, PM refers to the process of allocating resources to and effectively executing individual projects.
In contrast, PPM is the process of determining which projects to take on. Additionally, this process includes allocating the right project managers to be responsible for each project. It also includes organizing timelines, predicting profitability, and keeping all processes in line with the company’s overall goals.
It’s a complicated role. Thankfully, however, new lines of PPM software—like the products offered by Meisterplan—have made it more streamlined and efficient. The question is, do you really need PPM software to accomplish the responsibilities of a project portfolio manager?
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Key Responsibilities of PPM
First, let’s explain some of the core responsibilities of a project portfolio manager, or PPM, in contrast with a PM, or project manager:
- Project-related strategy. PPM’s are responsible for handling project-related strategy from a high level. For example, they’re the ones who decide which projects to take on, and who should be responsible for overseeing their ground-level execution.
- Project prioritization. Another core responsibility of PPM’s is to prioritize projects. They ensure that projects are completed in an order that satisfies all deadlines and achieves high-level organizational goals. For example, a PPM may choose to favor one project over another because it offers more profitability. Or they might choose to work on a particular client’s project, if they expect that client will forward more work in the future. They may also choose a quick project to complete first, if revenue is an urgent priority.
- Resource allocation. Depending on the project (and the nature of the organization), PPM’s may also be responsible for allocating resources for various projects. They may work to ensure each project has an appropriate project manager and a sufficient team of people to do the work efficiently. From there, it’s on the PM to delegate tasks and oversee day-to-day operations.
- Organizational strategic compliance. PPM’s are ingrained in the culture, values, objectives, and strategies of their respective organizations, since they usually operate at an executive level. Accordingly, they’re responsible for making sure that all projects are accepted, assigned, and completed in a way that aligns with the goals and requirements of the organization.
- Project analysis. PPM’s are also responsible for retroactive project analysis. That is, they examine how each project benefited the organization and determine whether there were any missteps that could have been prevented. This is mostly to aid in future decisions.
Main Benefits of PPM Software
So how could PPM software help?
- Data management. PPM software keeps the data on all projects in one place, so PPM’s can easily compare two different projects and/or crunch the numbers to ensure they’re making the correct logical decision.
- Visual tools. Most modern PPM platforms also offer visual tools, which make it easy for PPM’s to intuitively grasp how each project in the portfolio plays into the bigger picture. It increases their speed of analysis and makes the data more accessible.
- Alerts and reminders. Some PPM systems also offer alerts and reminders. That is, they notify PPM’s of incoming projects, upcoming deadlines, or other action-related items. This isn’t strictly necessary but is a valuable organization tool.
- Goal tracking. PPM platforms can also help PPM’s keep track of their high-level and project-level goals. They may be useful in communicating those goals to PM’s and other lower-level players for each project.
- Reports. Finally, PPM software is useful for generating high-level reports on each project. And they’re a good tool for the portfolio as a whole. That’s because they give a better understanding of things like profitability and resource management.
Is It Really Necessary?
Strictly speaking, it’s not “necessary” to have PPM software, or even to have a specific PPM role within your organization. However, without one, you may not be able to organize your projects efficiently. It might also be harder to maintain a project management process that’s in line with your organization’s core values and goals.
In conclusion, PPM software isn’t absolutely essential for a PPM to be successful. However, it will make their job significantly easier, more transparent, and more measurable. Considering the relatively low cost of adoption, there aren’t many reasons against using it.