Managing your Portfolio – picking the solution that works for you…

–  If the time has come to implement a PPM solution, what is the correct solution and is Open Source an option for you?

“Apparently PPM isn’t so self-evident after all. So what do we do? Business leaders want the business to be successful. They want sound business processes they can depend upon. Project managers want their projects to be successful, so the company will be successful.

So it sounds like we’re all on the same page, right? Wrong. Here’s where the age-old dilemma rears its ugly head for the business leader and project manager alike—there are limited resources, lots of ideas and projects, only so much time in a day and . . . oh yes, things keep changing..”   – PMI – What is Project Portfolio Management

According to a recent survey by the Center for Business Practice, over 70% of those surveyed believe that their ‘projects are better aligned to business strategy” due to the implementation, over 50% believe that they are “working on the right things” and over 40% believe the implementation of a PPM has “led to increased cost savings”.

In today’s economy with a focus on right-sizing portfolios and ensuring the investment of an enterprise is focused on strategies and projects with the highest ROI, it is clear that the demand for project and portfolio management (PPM) solutions is on the rise.

As businesses are evaluating the benefits of investing & implementing a PPM solution they are using the following questions, according to PMI & Gartner[i], to make the right decision:

  1. Are we investing in the right things?
  2. Are we optimizing our capacity?
  3. How well are we executing?
  4. Can we absorb all the changes?
  5. Are we realizing the promised benefits?

Source: http://www.projecttimes.com

Once a business has made the decision to proceed with the selection of a solution they face a new set of challenges which they will have to take in account.

  • “What functionality should we be looking for?”
  • “What is the right cost for an adequate solution? Paying only for what we need”
  • “What kind of learning curve is assumed?”
  • “How much effort is involved in implementing the solution?”

Based on the above criteria and potential benefits from an implementation of a PPM, proceeding with choice can depend on the size of your company and current project portfolio.  While most evaluation efforts will naturally arrive at one of the major vendors who provide solutions such as Microsoft, CA or HP. If your company already has an implementation of one the previous solutions you may benefit from the previous learnings and chose to follow the same path.  If however, you are starting out with a clean-slate you might be better off deciding one a solution that offers many of the same features as the above but has a smaller cost of entry.  Enter the Open Source PPM solutions. In addition to being open source many of them are SaaS models as well.

Here are a few of the best options out there, and following are a set of posts with reviews and information on implementation of these solutions:

[Plandora | www.plandora.org][ii]

The Plandora project was born to be a tool to help the software development process, from the customer requirement until the task conclusion, and consequently gather the “history” of project. The Plandora system can be useful for teams that have problems with resource bottle-necks, parallel projects, critical deadlines, necessity for scope documentation of tasks and requirements, etc.

[Project Open | www.projectopen.com][iii]

UsingProject Open over the internet helps business owners to focus on their business activities while we handle the IT support role.

It reduces IT staffing requirements and ensures predictable implementation and management costs based on pay-as-you-go subscription service basis. Since no installation is necessary, customers gain benefits more quickly.

[ProjectNet | www.project.net][iv]

Project.net is a complete Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution designed to capture, display, report on, and resolve the complex interrelationships organizations tackle when planning and executing major initiatives.

Project.net was developed to resolve the major shortcoming of alternatives: weak adoption by teams, leading to minimal data entered into the system, resulting in a dearth of information for decision support at all levels. Project.net delivers a rich, high-quality project management record by assuring that the team – not just management – benefits through their active collaboration through Project.net.

[37 Signals – Basecamp | http://basecamphq.com][v] (non- Open Source, but impressive)

Basecamp’s focus on simplicity, clarity, and ease of use make it truly unique. For years project management software was about charts, graphs, and stats. And you know what? It didn’t work. Pictures and numbers don’t get projects done. Basecamp tackles project management from an entirely different angle: A focus on communication and collaboration. Basecamp brings people together.

I hope you enjoy the reviews in the following posts and that you find it helpful if you are currently looking to implement a solution.  I also welcome comments and input from those of you who may have looked at or implemented an Open Source Solution.


[i] http://www.gartner.com/it/content/911400/911412/project_portfolio_mgmt_excerpt.pdf

[ii] http://www.plandora.org/project.htm

[iii] http://www.project-open.com/en/services/project-open-hosting-saas.html

[iv] http://www.project.net/about

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