The margin of error in business is very narrow. Make the wrong decision about a product specification or release schedule, and very quickly you can find yourself and your company under unexpected pressure. So often it’s small errors in planning, scheduling, resource management, and change management that can result in the biggest stressors and ultimately costs to a business. To mitigate these risks and pressure points you need to take advantage of a project portfolio management tool.
Effective project portfolio management allows you to make the planning, resource, scheduling, and financial decisions that keep you aligned with your company and client goals. It can be easy to lose sight of the best ways to maximize your internal resources to deliver on your internal and external customer commitments.
Fortunately, there are a range of project portfolio management tools available to you that can help you keep your business needs front-and-center while providing you with a simple and easy-to-use interface. When researching a project portfolio management tool, choose one that meets your distinct business needs.
You need a tool that makes it simple for you to see the big picture and drill down to the nitty-gritty details of the project. Look for a solution that gives you one interface from which to manage all of your company’s projects and various portfolios, client and internal demands, resource demands, financial requirements, and incorporates time tracking.
To be effective, you need to be able to confidently know that your product deliverables mesh with the people you have working on the product. Knowing this allows you to move forward and then look deeper into how best to manage your teams and then refine the product deliverables, ensuring you stay on budget and meet client demands.
It’s easy to get caught up in product ideas and improvements and lose sight of which of these can offer the greatest return on investment. To understand this, you need a solution that enables you to rank customer demands, track changes in global and niche technology, input feedback from your product management and research and development teams, and to update and refine your list of product feature requests and improvements.
When you have this key data in one malleable product management solution you can generate graphs, break-down charts, and slides that clearly show how you can realize your expected return on investment. With this information, you can make the required changes, whether this is hiring more staff, allocating more budget to a specific team, scaling back on feature requests, or making an investment in new technologies.
Can we do this in three days instead of five? Can these three team members easily move to another team and get started immediately? Do we have the right hardware and software to get this project done? How are the teams performing? What can we do to improve the performance of our teams?
These are questions you need to be asking yourself and ones that can’t be easily answered without a very deep understanding of your people, their skillsets, and the barriers that are preventing them from doing their best work. Your project portfolio management tool should allow you to analyze this data and help you determine how your business demands can be achieved with the resources you have available.
Choose a solution that gives you the freedom to use multiple project management approaches. You might be currently transitioning to Agile or moving onto waterfall or considering trialing a team with phase-gate. Whichever management approach you are using, you want to make sure your solution allows you the flexibility to migrate from one to another and to update your workflows accordingly.
Simple to Deploy
No one wants a cumbersome software solution. Look for a tool that can be used easily by the entire company – it’s imperative that everyone involved in a project from finance to human resources to research and development to upper management is comfortable with and can use your project portfolio management tool. If the entire company is not using the chosen solution, project management will break down and you’ll soon become victim of the small errors and decisions that can add up to huge costs.
Look for detailed documentation, good product support, configurable options that give users options in how they interact with the tool, a familiar user interface design, and built-in product training and on boarding.
Your chosen project portfolio management tool needs to meet the unique demands of your company. When reviewing your solution options, take advantage of free trials, review product documentation, interact with support, and use it in some real-world scenarios. Remember it’s the small errors and decisions that can end up being make-or-break for your company – choose the project portfolio management tool that will allow you to make the right decisions to keep your company moving forward.
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