Using a decision matrix to achieve a successful PPM tool implementation
Once a project portfolio has reached a certain size and complexity, a business must have a strong project and portfolio management solution (PPM). Whether you’re improving on your current capabilities or starting from scratch, there are a number of steps you should take to achieve a successful PPM tool implementation.
The goal is to decide which processes and procedures are vital, which need adaptation, and which are not needed at all. The implementation of a new PPM solution often acts as a new starting point for organizations. Therefore it’s critical to make the right decisions in the implementation stage to ensure that the new system performs to the required standards.
The key features of a PPM tool
A PPM tool offers different things to different parts of the business. Project managers use it to plan and schedule their projects, as well as assigning resources to tasks. Portfolio managers use it to gain insight into the overall deployment of resources, including identifying spare capacity or potential bottlenecks. Resource managers use it to monitor where their resources will be required, at what time, and for how long. These are just a few examples, but they illustrate the different types of customers a PPM tool should serve.
Therefore, the vital thing in a new PPM tool implementation is to ensure that the new system provides the correct information in a useful format to all those who need it. How is it best to get to that point?
Planning is vital when choosing a new PPM tool
Consider using a decision matrix
The choice of a decision matrix makes sense when assessing the requirements of a new PPM tool because it’s an excellent way to collate and evaluate options, leading to an evidence-based outcome. It takes external, potentially emotional factors out of the equation (loyalty to an old supplier, bias towards one particular software solution within the organization, etc.) and focuses on the most important criteria for a new system.
Using a decision matrix for a new PPM tool implementation
Step 1: Clarify the current problem
Gather as many relevant stakeholders together as possible to identify the current problem. Why is the current solution not fit for purpose, or alternatively, what issues are being caused by not having a solution at all? This analysis will help identify key issues that need to be taken into account while also gaining consensus on the exact nature of the problem that needs to be solved by the new tool.
Step 2: Identify the critical decision factors
Using the same group of stakeholders, have a facilitated conversation to draw out which PPM processes and procedures are vital, which need adaptation, and which are not needed. The output should be a list of criteria that you want to prioritize in a new PPM tool.
This step is critical to eventual success because it requires all relevant parties to articulate the new system’s specification at an early stage. It will allow you to move forward purely focusing on what’s essential while discounting any ‘added extras’ which aren’t relevant to your particular situation.
Consider what your requirements will be in areas such as strategic planning, opportunity management, resource management, portfolio analysis, and reporting and automation. Do you need specific scheduling functionality? Or a particular kind of customized reporting? Once you have agreement on the key decision factors, you can then more efficiently assess and decide on the available options.
Step 3: Create and weight the decision matrix
Some criteria will likely be more important to you than others. For example, the ability for portfolio managers to be able to edit, amend and customize reports might be an absolute must-have, in which case you will want it to carry more weight in the assessment process.
Assign a score from 1 to 5 for each criterion, according to its importance. Criteria that are critical to success will receive a score of 5, while those that are less so will be given a lower score.
Step 4: Compile options and score them according to your criteria
Once you have created a weighted decision matrix, the next step is to assess available options against that matrix.
Different software suppliers will offer differing solutions, all of which will have slightly varied functionality. Run through each criterion on your weighted matrix and assign a score for each one, for each supplier. If the software completely fulfills the criteria, then award it a 5, but if it only partially provides what you need, lower the score to between 1 and 4.
Step 5: Calculate the scores
Using the same methodology as a risk assessment matrix, the next step is to multiply the weighted score and the assessment score to create a total score for each criteria, for each PPM tool option. If a criterion scored 5 on importance and the PPM software fully delivered against that criterion, also scoring 5, then the total would be 25.
Step 6: Total the scores, and identify the best option
Once you have your calculated scores for each criterion and each PPM tool option, adding the scores up for each tool should identify the best fit option. The matrix should look similar to this:
An example of a weighted decision matrix for a PPM tool implementation
The final score in the ‘total’ line should identify the best fit option for your business, taking into account your particular requirements.
Moving forward with a new PPM tool implementation
New system implementations can be a critical turning point for an organization. Decisions taken at the implementation stage will dictate functionality, deliverability, and operability in the future, so a considered approach must be taken throughout.
DRMcNatty can help your new PPM tool implementation succeed. We can work alongside you to clarify current issues, identify the key decision factors, assess various PPM options against your chosen criteria, and achieve a successful organization-wide deployment. Our highly trained staff are always on hand to discuss the support we can offer you and your project and portfolio management team.