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5 things I wish I’d known for my first PPM implementation

PPM implementation can present unforeseen challenges. This is critical, as problems at this early stage can endanger the entire process. With this in mind, our in-house PMO expert and MD, David Walton, shares 5 lessons he wishes he had learnt right at the very start of his career in project and programme management.

As a background, I have been in project and programme management for over twenty years and have run a number of large scale transformation programmes. Based on my experience and others in Bestoutcome, we have developed our PPM tool, PM3, and have implemented PM3 at many clients; private sector, public sector and internationally.

Our tool, PM3, is an intuitive tool and our mission is to improve project and programme success. Implementing PM3 is one part of this mission.
This blog looks at the 5 things I wish I’d known before we started implementing PM3 at clients.

1: Sponsorship

You need two levels of Sponsor; Implementing a PPM tool like PM3 is a project in its own right and if you do some research into the biggest cause of project failure, lack of sponsorship comes out either number #1 or very high on this list.

In our experience of implementing PM3 successfully you need two types of sponsor or change champions.

The first sponsor is at the executive level who openly supports the use of the PPM tool and challenges people when they don’t use the PPM tool or revert to spreadsheets.

The other change champion is from the PMO who actively supports the project manager community in using the tool.

2. The 'Compelling Need to Change'

Develop a Compelling Need to change; The first communication that many PPM practitioners receive about a new PPM tool is an invitation to training. Before this happens, the PMO need to articulate the compelling need to change.

This ‘compelling need to change’ needs to convey the reasons why the status quo is not sustainable and cannot continue. It should also articulate the benefits to the organisation that will accrue by introducing the new PPM tool.

3. Sell to the Project Managers!

When project managers are faced with a new PPM tool, some of them will emit a tired groan and think that they have to do something extra and bureaucratic in order to deliver their projects.

With the right tool, the reverse is true. A tool like PM3 is a liberator for the project management community. It frees them from many manual functions, like compiling weekly highlight reports, so that they can focus on delivering their project outcomes.

Selling the benefits to the project manager community is critical to overcome any change barriers and get them to really embrace the tool and its associated benefits.

4. Mentoring is not a ‘Nice to Have’

Often, once the tool is configured and training is finished, the PPM implementation can be considered complete by many people.

Based on our experience, training is necessary but not sufficient for a successful PPM implementation. Again, we must eliminate any change barriers and mentoring is a great way of doing this.

Project managers may not have picked up the best way to use the tool on a training course but having a mentor who is an expert in PPM and PM3, is a great way of providing guidance to project managers on how to use PM3 and get the best use of the product.

5. Start Small and Scale up

A PPM tool like PM3 offers a lot of great functionality from automatic reporting, portfolio management and prioritization to resource management.

It is tempting to roll out PM3 to as many users as possible and with all the functionality turned on. This is a mistake.

People can only absorb so much in a given time. We are often asked to implement resource management on day one of a PPM implementation. We always advise on implementing resource / capacity management in subsequent phases despite the obvious benefits that this functionality will bring.

It is best to start with a core set of functionality and then expand tabs and functionality in stages. With PM3, a local administrator (PMO) can turn off functionality for everyone or for a group of users.

So, you can start with what is the core functionality, e.g.: planning, finance, reports, RAIDD, etc and, once the PPM community are happy with this functionality, add further functionality in phases. This approach overcomes any change barriers and limits the amount of change on the project manager community.

Summary

One of the biggest reasons for a successful implementation is to have not only the right PPM tool, but also the right implementation partner. The right implementation partner can advise on the steps needed for a successful PM3 implementation.

We have developed PM3 as a tool designed by practitioners for practitioners and the ability to start small and then scale is very important for a successful implementation.

These five steps listed above should be considered in any PPM implementation in order for your PPM implementation to be successful.

PM3 - Bestoutcome’s PPM Tool

Bestoutcome’s tool, PM3, is used by thousands of users.

For more information on Bestoutcome’s simple but scaleable PPM tool, please contact us on info@bestoutcome.com

About the author

The author - David Walton

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 PM3NHS, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.

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