Six Tips for a Successful PPM Software Implementation

| , Team Innotas

When planning to implement a Project Portfolio Management software solution, there are several factors to keep in mind that could be the difference between success and failure.  Below are six key areas to examine prior to implementation kickoff…

  1. How much change will the PPM solution be creating?

One of the biggest reasons that PPM implementations fail is because organizations cannot cope with the amount of change required by the systems.  If you are new to PPM, often a Top Down approach to the implementation can minimize organizational change and still contribute a large amount of value to the organization.  If you’d like to learn more about Top Down, please check out my blog entry: What is Top Down PPM and Why is It Important.

 

  1. Is the executive team strongly behind this initiative?

Often one of the most difficult duties of implementing a PPM solution is establishing the PPM tool as the de facto authority for managing and maintaining project information.  It can be especially difficult to establish this clout if the PPM solution is being rolled-out with little organizational support or involvement.  When implementing a PPM solution it is critical to ensure that VP and/or C-Level executives are involved and understand the value and objectives of the roll-out.

 

  1. Think about outputs before defining inputs.

Before starting to define fields in your PPM solution for managing and executing projects, think about what reporting outputs will be important for your stakeholders.  Defining a concise list of outputs will help you better understand what information you need to capture in the PPM solution initially.  This will ensure that you are only capturing relevant information in your PPM solution and will also minimize the amount of care and feeding required by your end users, thus facilitating adoption.

 

  1. Centralized or Federated?

There are two main adoption approaches to consider for keeping the information in your PPM solution updated.

  1. Centralized – a centralized rollout is usually a great approach for larger organizations with hundreds of resources. In this approach the PMO team is responsible for meeting with different business leaders (usually weekly or monthly), collecting project and resource staffing information, and then updating the PPM solution for analysis, reporting, and planning.
  2. Federated – a federated approach relies on end users and/or non-PMO project owners to keep project and resource information in the PPM solution updated. This approach usually works well for small to mid-sized organizations.  An effective way to encourage adoption in a federated PPM model is for the PMO to send a reminder email once per week for project owners to update their project and resource information in the PPM solution.

 

  1. Avoid Big Bang

Many PPM solutions have a lot of bells and whistles and it can be tempting to try to take advantage of all of these features at the onset of the PPM roll out.  However, more often than not, a big bang approach to a PPM roll-out will set your organization up for failure due to the amount of care and feeding required by end users to keep the PPM solution up to date.  A better approach is to start small and to incrementally add capabilities to your PPM solution over time as the organization matures and usage becomes ingrained in your process.

 

  1. Ensure that You Have the Right Personnel Assigned to the Implementation

Often PPM implementations fail due to an organization not assigning the right resources to own the implementation, or not being able to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to the implementation.  Depending on your current PMO maturity level and the complexity of the tool you are implementing this may vary.  At Innotas we will often recommend assigning a Business Analyst who is capable of dedicating at least 25% of his/her time to own the implementation, and recommend key stakeholder (PMO Director, etc.) involvement for ~10% of their time.