CIO Briefing

Enterprise project and portfolio management strategy guide for CIOs

A winning strategy for enterprise project and portfolio management (PPM) requires more than the basic approaches to leading teams or planning future IT projects. As the CIO, you must be prepared to establish both long- and short-term goals with regard to strategy; research the methodologies that best fit your organization; and when necessary, purchase the tools that will help you meet enterprise goals.

Are you prepared to launch an enterprise

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project and portfolio management strategy in your organization or to take your existing program to the next level? In this CIO Briefing, learn about the techniques and technologies that will help you organize your enterprise resources and achieve your PPM goals.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  PPM strategy tips
  Table of Contents

Is project and portfolio management (PPM) dead? Are we the ones who killed it? Let me share a couple of recent experiences that make me think so.

First, I was asked by a CIO to assess his company's PPM process. This IT executive felt his company was no longer getting much value out of its PPM structure. How did he come to that conclusion? For one, the members of his company's PPM steering committee were finding every possible reason and excuse not to attend their own regularly scheduled meetings. This CIO knew for sure the process was in trouble, however, when the vice president of marketing explained that he had missed the most recent prioritization session because "my dog ate my portfolio status report."

Next, the CFO of a private equity firm asked me if I would validate the criteria she was going to use to select a new enterprise system. As she started to read through the selection scoring system she had devised, my mind started to drift -- and drift badly.

Learn more in "Project and portfolio management dead? Try these PPM process tips." Also:

  PPM software selection advice
  Table of Contents

Companies looking for lightweight, low-overhead project management software are turning their attention skyward, to the cloud.

Case in point: New Castle, Del.-based AET Films, a maker of the polypropylene film used in packaging, tried to launch Microsoft Project Server in-house, and even hired a professional project manager to oversee the implementation. The task was more than the company bargained for. "The more people that got involved, the more harm that was done," said Jim Burger, the company's director of information services in Terre Haute, Ind.

That experience led Burger to seek a lightweight, cloud-based alternative that wouldn't require either a full-time manager or a standalone application server. "We looked at 10 to 12 cloud-based [project management] tools, then narrowed it down to three," he said.

Find out more in "Cloud-based project management service gets projects off the ground." Also:

  Project management and Agile
  Table of Contents

The core of what you experience when you encounter ambiguity in an Agile project, is that the Agile software development process was not designed as a project management approach, but as a product management approach. This subtle difference lies at the root of much of the messy lack of understanding about the delivery of Agile projects.

According to The Project Management Institute, a project is a "temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result." This definition stands in stark contrast to the ongoing nature of product management, which Wikipedia defines as "an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning or forecasting or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle."

Learn more in "Choosing a management approach that clarifies Agile project completion." Also:

  PPM strategies in action
  Table of Contents

A private conversation with the company president about your cloud strategy can't hurt these days. For Lands' End CIO Steve Cretney, the tête-à-tête became a test of CIO leadership -- or, as he prefers to say, a "seize the moment" opportunity that garnered support for his cloud strategy and resulted in the company's embracing a new business model.

Soft-spoken, with a dry wit, hearty handshake and what appears to be a spine of steel, Cretney exhibits what executive search gurus today say are essential skills for CIO leadership: true grit combined with an armory of so-called soft skills to convince, inspire and ultimately move people to realize a technology vision and move a project forward.

Find out more in "How Lands' End's CIO seized the moment to soft-sell a cloud strategy." Also:

  More resources
  Table of Contents

This was first published in June 2011

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