Project portfolio mgt: "Draconian enforcement doesn't work" [podcast]

Achieving successful technology implementations requires IT and business to establish shared expectations around project goals, objectives, and process. Too often, the business doesn’t understand real technology constraints while IT remains blissfully unaware of why some projects were even started.

Achieving successful technology implementations requires IT and business to establish shared expectations around project goals, objectives, and process. Too often, the business doesn't understand real technology constraints while IT remains blissfully unaware of why some projects were even started.

Project portfolio management (PPM) software attempts to bridge these gaps by explicitly linking IT activities to business goals.

To learn more, I spoke with Ken Cheney, HP's director of product marketing for project and portfolio management, asset management, and IT financial management products. Ken was in Boston to discuss the latest release of HP's Project Portfolio Management Center.

Listen to the podcast to hear an expert discuss project portfolio management. I've combined Ken's comments from the podcast with points he made during a separate, off-mic interview:

On IT challenges:

Despite flat budgets and increasing costs, organizations ask IT to drive innovation or return money back to the business. Everyone in IT must understand what the business trying to accomplish; IT plays a critical role helping an organization achieve those business goals.

Infrastructure costs have been stable, but resource costs have skyrocketed; addressing this means improving automation and connecting systems.

IT must coordinate across a number of moving parts, including strategy, applications, and operations. Each of these groups has become its own disconnected island, throwing work over the fence from one team to another.

The challenge of coordinating across these disparate teams lies at the heart of high IT failure rates.

I've illustrated this point in the following diagram (click the picture to see a larger version):

Project portfolio management: “Draconian enforcement doesn’t work” [podcast]

On PPM software:

Project portfolio management software shows where IT resources are being used, the risks associated with projects in the queue, and whether projects have been prioritized correctly. Increasing the visibility of activities performed by stakeholders based on their role helps everyone get the information they need to make better decisions.

On information hiding and other organizational issues:

That's definitely been an issue with IT.

Most successful organizations have top-down, executive level support. Although Draconian enforcement doesn't work, everyone must understand issues the organization is trying to address.

On implementing PPM software:

Organizations can possess different levels of project management maturity, ranging from PMP-certified folks to people that know absolutely nothing about project management. Getting baselines in place is very critical, so everyone in the organization works from the same playbook. Projects succeed when organizations adopt standard baselines and methodologies for getting work done.

[Thanks to Erin Muhlhan from Burson-Marsteller for arranging this interview. For more posts related to project portfolio management, click here.]

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