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With PPM software, don't always throw in the kitchen sink

Project and portfolio management (PPM) software is definitely not overlooked in the midmarket. According to a recent survey, 17% use some form of PPM software. But how many of those organizations are actually using all of what they paid for?

Time and time again, I hear the stories of the initial implementation process: Company purchases software, company implements relevant parts of the software in stages, company stops the process once it has implemented what it needs.

I once bought a 160-piece kitchen set. Out of the 160 “useful” kitchen tools, I use about 10 of them — the rest sit in my cabinets, waiting for the day I decide to make eight individual servings of crème brûlée or require a tool for removing my strawberry stem. At the time, I had big plans for my cooking skills and thought the new tools would inspire me to learn a bit more in the kitchen — maybe I really will try my hand at beef Wellington, I thought.


People get excited when they hear about all the possible benefits, how much time it could save and the transparency it could provide (“Really? We can narrow down the project failure to that time Mitch forgot to check his email?!”). But these organizations are not always ready for the extensive PPM software and end up with a partial rollout.

PPM Software as a Service options are available for CIOs unwilling or unable to invest in expensive software with a lot of up-front costs. Many other organizations (some 31%, according to our survey) opt for a less complex solution like Microsoft Project.

One CIO I spoke with has had a project management office for over five years and has used Microsoft Project from the beginning. “It’s easy to use and it provides the functionality we need — which is project management,” he said. “We don’t get lost in it.”

And getting lost is not something you want to do. Project failure rates are up from last year, and some experts believe this is due in part to additional processes and procedures related to project management strategies.

So don’t be intimidated if you haven’t yet started with any PPM efforts, and/or any PPM software. You can start simple — when you’re ready to scale it up, all those other tools will be waiting for you.

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