5 steps to making your PPM Tool Stick in 2018

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Gum stuck to shoe to highlight stickiness

Implementing a good PPM tool is well-worth the investment, if you can make it stick! Our PMO expert, David Walton, shows you how to get your team embracing their new PPM tool as a better way of working. One that will simplify tasks, provide extra clarity and, above all, avoid the high cost of project failure.

Being in the business of developing and implementing our own PPM tool, PM3, our experience has shown that there are a number of steps an organization needs to take to ensure that the PPM tool sticks and the investment is not wasted.

Step 1. Pick the right PPM tool for your Organisation

There are a myriad of PPM tools in the market from the large ‘mothership’ products that purport to do everything to ones that are glorified spreadsheets.

There is no one size fits all and you need to select the one that matches your organisation’s needs and maturity. If, for example, your organisation has a relatively low project management maturity, and you select the ‘Death Star’ of PPM tools, it is likely that, whatever you do, the PPM tool will not stick.

I have seen countless examples of investments in PPM tools being wasted because the tool was too complex for the organisation.

Step 2. Get Senior and Active Sponsorship

Implementing a PPM tool, like PM3 or any other, is a project and research has shown that the biggest single cause of project failure is lack of active sponsorship.

Some project managers will resist using any PPM tool. It may be because they don’t like the idea of their project plans and governance data being accessible in real time. Or it may be because, ‘it’s easier with Excel’.

These barriers to change need to be overcome and active sponsorship in the most important way of overcoming these barriers. Sponsorship needs to be active. In our PM3 implementations, we get the sponsor, usually the CIO, to show, very visibly, that he or she is using PM3 to view the progress and status of programmes and portfolios.

As PM3 is optimized for tablets and IPads, some CIOs make a point of walking up to a programme manager and using the Ipad asking questions about various projects, programmes or portfolios.

Another CIO we worked with refused to review a Programme Steering Group presentation as the reports were from Excel and not PM3. This type of active sponsorship tends to become viral around the office and it encourages everyone to use the PPM tool.

Step 3. Use Local Change Agents

Another approach we have used successfully is to have a virtual team of change agents to help promote the use of our PPM tool, PM3. These change agents are typically experienced project and programme managers and are expert in the use of PM3. They help to encourage their peers to use the tool and to reinforce the benefits to the organisation of using the tool.

Step 4. Develop a Compelling Change Story

When you are implementing any PPM tool, you need to develop a compelling story of why using this PPM tool is right for the organization. Some project managers will not see the big picture, i.e. the benefits to the whole organisation that will be gained if all project and programme managers use the tool correctly.

Step 5. Explain the Benefits of using the PPM tool

There are benefits to the organisation in using a PPM tool and there are also benefits to the individual project manager in using the PPM tool (Assuming the right PPM tool is selected).

For example, in PM3, there are a lot of configurable reports that can be sent automatically by the PMO or the project or programme manager. This means that the project or programme manager is not spending his or her time compiling status reports; they are automatically generated.

This allows the project/programme manager to focus his / her attention on delivering their projects or programmes successfully. There should be many areas of the tool where the project manager will benefit and these need to be articulated and reinforced.

Bonus Tip: Maintain On-going Investment in your PPM tool

Some potential clients assume that once the initial implementation of the PPM tool has happened, no further investment is needed. This is not the case. New releases of the product will inevitably be made available and some training can be required to ensure that the organisation gets the best out of any new functionality.

Further investment is also required to continually reinforce the messages and benefits on why project and programme managers need to use the tool.

Investment is required to onboard new starters and contractors to ensure that the use of the PPM tool is not an option but ‘the way we do projects’.


There are many other ways to ensure that your PPM tool remains sticky and the investment is paid off. The key point is that implementing a PPM tool is a change project in itself and needs to be managed as one.

Change barriers need to be understood and overcome otherwise your organization will become yet another that has tried and failed to get a PPM tool to stick and deliver real benefits that a good PPM tool can bring.

Without the right tool however, it is a hopeless task!

Are you curious to discover how much more productive your workforce could be? Using a PPM Tool like PM3 gives you valuable insight into how efficient your projects currently perform. This mission-critical data can help make important strategic decisions that could transform your team’s productivity and efficiency.

Discover how PM3’s cloud based platform delivers perfect PPM IT software solutions for some of the UK’s leading IT departments

Get in touch today to find out more:

Telephone: +44 (0)1753 885864

David Walton
About the author
David Walton

I am David Walton, Programme,Project and Portfolio Management specialist and director of Bestoutcome here in the UK. We make the PMO tools PM3, PM3time and PM3change, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.

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