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The first 100 days with a real PPM tool

April 24, 2012 - Project Management, Technology

Internal IT projects. They’re usually regulatory, or born from an internal audit or an Enterprise Architecture-mandated upgrade. In other words, they’re usually not very fun, and aren’t very likely to have engaged, interested customers who are clamoring for the end result.

But what fun it was to roll out a Project Portfolio Management solution to our IT organization.

The PPM tool we had before:
- A database table to keep a flat list of our project inventory and some metadata
- Fragmented who-knows-where content management repositories for project deliverables
- (Zero visibility to detailed project schedules and key milestones)

The PPM tool we have now:
- PTC Windchill PPMLink, integrated with Microsoft Sharepoint 2010 and Project Server 2010
- All project deliverables in easy-to-find repositories in a single Sharepoint instance
- Published project plans in Project Server with reports highlighting key milestones
- Metrics, metrics, metrics!

Oh man. People actually want to use the thing. A solution roll-out to IT that people want to use? It’s a rare and wondrous thing.

And so far, the solution’s been great. We’ve done a lot of learning, a lot of teaching each other, and now are looking to the next step in our IT project management evolution.

We’re going to be doing three phased roll-outs of capabilities in the PPM solution, with phase 1 having been completed in the first quarter of this year:

  • Phase 1
    - Project Management
    - Content Management
    - Metrics and Reporting
  • Phase 2
    - Resource Management
    - MS Project Pro 2010 competency
  • Phase 3
    - Financial Management
    - Portfolio Management

What people seem to love the most? Actually being able to find the deliverables and dates they’re looking for, with a strategy in place to keep it that way.┬áThe biggest thing that’s tripped us up? Quirkiness in Project Server. We didn’t bank on having to learn and communicate so many tips and tricks to keep people from royally screwing up their plans.

It’s so critically important to ensure a phased roll-out of a PPM solution like this. If we had entered into this implementation with everything turned on, the change curve would’ve been way too steep and we would’ve lost customer engagement, buy-in, and embedment altogether. However, we also need to stay aggressive with our plans for the second and third phases, or we’ll lose momentum and leave value on the table.

And now that I’ve got this project in my sweaty little hands, there will be no wrangling it away from me.

What PPM tool does your organization use?


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