Last week, Niel Nickolaisen’s story on SearchCIO.com “Project and portfolio management dead? Try these PPM process tips” had an attention grabbing title indeed. Especially if you’re like me and believe in the vital importance of good project and portfolio management to the success or mediocrity of organizations.
So, after the title grabbed my attention, I read the rest of the story looking for reasons to consider possible career changes. (Who wants to work on something that is dead?). And guess what? I agree with Niel’s perspective. He cites examples where organizations have over engineered what could and should be an easy process. It’s one thing to have lots of checks and balances when you’re flying spacecraft, building nuclear power plants, etc… but the process and structure for your portfolio governance should be appropriate for your situation. Just because a consultant had this complicated spreadsheet, or 20 question scoring model, doesn’t make it a good fit for you and your organization.
It’s also important to have the right people involved in the decision making process. Have the wrong people involved and the process will break down.
HP PPM is a comprehensive solution, but that doesn’t mean that every feature is needed for every situation. One of our best best practices is to keep the implementation SIMPLE.
On the topic of simplicity – here’s some of what other people have recently said about simplicity –
- The George Whitesides talk about the science of simplicity – From TED 2010 or
- Then there’s John Goodpasture’s recent blog post on Simplicity “Simplicity v Complexity”, where he talks about how Project Managers frequently face sponsors who have a simple vision of what they want, but the reality is there is complexity required to deliver.
- And from John’s blog post, here’s a link to Jack Dorsey’s discussion with Charlie Rose about how he tries to simplify complex things.
When you are trying to manage a portfolio if you take a complex approach where a simple approach will be sufficient is bound to be in trouble. Your approach to project and portfolio management should be to start simple, and keep it simple (unless you MUST add complexity). Niel’s advice is spot on.
I don’t think Project and Portfolio Management is dead. Rather, common sense in some corners of the industry may be on life support.
Article source: HP PPM Blog