Making the Business Case for PPM

Posted by Megan Cacioppo on July 11, 2017

DOD_The Business Case for PPM

Every project manager can probably relate - the project starts off great, fresh from kick-off the team is optimistic and the path to success is clear.  But soon problems arise and before you know it, you are headed for a late delivery.  For the DoD, that can mean the delay of urgent capabilities to the warfighter.  For a contractor, it can impact your profitability and reputation.

As a member of the project team, you know you need to invest in more sophisticated project management tools for on-time and on-budget delivery.  In a recent seminar, Jimmy Malik, Deltek Senior Software Solutions Engineer, discussed steps to convince management to get on board with the investment.

<Watch Making the Business Case for PPM webinar now>

Step #1: Take the Pulse of Your Practice

Perhaps some obvious indicators of project issues – losing money or missing key milestone dates – look great.  But what’s under the hood?  It may be in chaos with the team in reactive mode - staff working long hours, the project manager shuffling resources to put out fires. 

Jimmy explained that Integrated PPM (project and portfolio management) provides visibility, control and predictability - critical for organizations that serve the government and work on tight margins.  PPM reduces surprises that happen with siloed solutions that take days or weeks to pull together schedule, cost and risk information.  Proactive alerts warn project managers about issues so they can address them before they impact schedule, cost, revenue and margin.

TIP #2: Determine the PMO Model

The PMO function has gained traction in recent years.  The Deltek Clarity GovCon Industry Study shows that the number of organizations with a PMO increased from 40-65% in the last year. 

And the function itself is changing, with more emphasis on digital.  The model for the future leverages the latest project management technology to better communicate and provide quicker transparency.  Siloed PMOs are being replaced with models in which executives can directly interact with the PMO in the same manner as they have been doing with the project manager or engineer, all at the same time.  No longer do they have to wait for the PMO briefing.

Step #3:  Define the PMO Vision

The PMO vision should start with consistency.  Even with diverse projects, it is critical to have consistent policy procedures, delivery practices, reporting and resources.

As Jimmy explained, if you're part of a resource constrained or matrix organization, resource optimization is a daily challenge. Carefully plan a vision that goes beyond allocating resources based on skillsets and availability.  Instead, start by aligning the project to portfolio KPIs and further up the chain to corporate goals and initiatives.

Step #4:  Gain Organizational Buy in

Strong PMOs understand that cultural change is difficult even in the best of circumstances.  They work to build buy-in through both formal and informal communication.  And although the process can vary depending on the size and structure of the organization, gaining traction requires consensus up and down the chain.

Step #5:  Create a PPM Culture

The longevity of PPM relies on having a great culture to sustain it.  Jimmy talks about how this goes hand-in-hand with 3 habits taken directly from Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. According to Stephen Covey: 1) The organization must want to know what they are doing and why, 2) They need the skills to make it work; training on project management principles and tools is required, and 3) Companies need to create the desire, offer financial incentives and publicly reward those individuals who bubble up risk.

<Watch Making the Business Case for PPM webinar now>

To learn more about Deltek’s PPM solutions <click here>