The Big News from Daptiv at the 2014 Gartner PPM Summit

Every year we here at Daptiv are excited to attend Gartner’s PPM & IT Governance Summit, which is being held this week in National Harbor, Maryland June 2-4.

While there, we’ve been focused on highlighting how our PPM solution is used to address common challenges facing business leaders today, concentrating on key topics such as:

  • The need for configurable, flexible PPM technology capable of adapting to a business’ people and processes
  • The importance of customer data security in today’s increasingly complex and vulnerable business environment
  • The growth and maturation of the PMO and how it is evolving to meet enterprise-level needs
  • The importance of aligning IT projects with business strategy and balancing demand for IT services.

Daptiv’s New Organizational Change Management Offering (OCM)

This year at the summit, we are also proud to announce a completely new set of tools for the PMO to manage change within an organization, helping to address the critical people component of change management for organizations implementing new technology and processes companywide. Our new OCM offering will focus primarily on the critical aspects of change management, and will ultimately help our customers better prepare for large-scale technology and process changes. By emphasizing and assessing the specific requirements of each unique customer, our new OCM offering allows for tailored communication, learning, and sustainability plans and deliverables, which are developed and incorporated during the life of a project to improve company-wide adoption and project success.

Contrary to popular belief, most project failures occur because the people, processes and environments within a business are unprepared or unmindful of the changes that need to take place for successful technology deployments. This can have an enormous negative impact on project success rates. Our new OCM practice helps our customers minimize these failures, and will integrate directly into what we offer with our Daptiv PPM solution.

Gartner predicts that by 2016, successful transformation program leaders will direct 60 percent of the budget to organizational process change activities. These programs take into account how much change a business can undergo in any given period. As much of this responsibility will fall within the confines of the PMO, they will need to successfully navigate OCM and adjust to the evolving industry landscape, requiring even greater alignment and the ability to work collaboratively and synergistically.

For the full details around how our new OCM offering will help your organization in meeting these new challenges, please see our complete release.  You can also visit our Resources Page for additional research and information, or view an OCM-focused solution brief here.

Communicating Effectively With Stakeholders: What Does IT Portfolio Management Success Look Like?

Success is relative.  Just yesterday I was working with an organization where the CEO said, “If I could just get a manageable list of the current active projects and their current status that would be the first step to success.” As you can see, this CEO’s idea of success is incremental.  That’s the key.

I’ve witnessed successful and, unfortunately, unsuccessful attempts at implementing IT Portfolio governance models.  Typically most of these failures are:

  • a result of a narrow vision of the end state;
  • implementing a PMO with the exclusive mission of projects and methods. This is a situations where the focus is less on delivery and more on creating the Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) deliverables regardless of the size/duration of the proposed project, i.e., “The Process Police.”
  • And finally, the “Big Bang” approach to implementing technology in an attempt to buy a process out of the box.

Success is more of an organizational change management effort than simply installing a tool. Or, as I like to say “Build it, they will come.”  Unfortunately what really happens is just the opposite: Build it and they will RUN.

This notion of a change management approach is important because success is more about identifying the “change plateaus” and building a strategy to execute those plateaus instead of just implementing a tool that everyone resists 6 weeks after you go-live.  You have to walk before you run.

Key to that is having an understanding of the pain the organization is experiencing. Like the example of the CEO above, his pain was around portfolio transparency.  That was his first change plateau.

So what’s the next plateau?  That’s not always clear. That’s why it is imperative to have access to senior management, because macro-environmental influences can most definitely change any leader’s course of action.

IT Portfolio Management or Governance can be viewed in three categories.

  • Asset Management – this isn’t necessarily the way we currently view assets like servers, PC’s, etc. although they can be part of the asset pool.  For IT, I look at assets more broadly, focused on business outcomes.  It really about applications and how applications influence processes to achieve positive business outcomes.
  • Project Management – we execute projects to create, renew, and divest assets.
  • Resource Management – self-explanatory – we need people (in the right place at the right time) to operate the process/ tools and execute the projects.

The big challenge is to not let the governance of these three categories be developed and operated in silos.

Oh, and by the way, this doesn’t come in a box.  You just can’t buy software and expect the software to immediately solve everything.

So what are the change plateaus for each of these categories?  Every organization is different and each stakeholder will bring a different lens upon that pain.  But here are some ideas:

Like the CEO above, it could simply be an inventory for all three categories and the status of that inventory.

Identifying and implementing standard operating practices and service agreements for your assets, for IT ITIL (Information Technology Library) is a great place to start.

Project Management and Resource Management has really evolved in understanding to Project Portfolio Management (PPM). With PPM we are dealing with:

  • Timeliness – having the right number and the right balance of projects, completed on time without gridlock.
  • High Value – projects that reflects business strategy and are aligned with business objectives
  • Quality – projects are executed with predictable outcomes
  • Right People – having the right person at the right time to execute projects

Success is in understanding your pain points and which ones to take on first for immediate success, recognizing they all can’t be tackled overnight. Success is getting early and quick victories like the CEO example sought. Then build on to those early successes by identify the change plateaus and executing a roadmap with incremental capability and success.

Remember, IT Portfolio Management is transitional NOT transformational!


PMOs Must Evolve to be Relevant

Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a surveyof nearly 1,500 IT projects, inspecting the preliminary budgets, actual costs, and the final results of each initiative. After reviewing these projects, the authors found an astonishing average cost overrun of 27 percent (with each project running about $167 million). Perhaps more shocking, one in six projects went over budget by an astounding 200 percent, and ran past their initial schedules by an average of 70 percent. If these projects are not viewed as delivering tangible benefits to the business, they can cost an IT executive their job, and the company can suffer a significant loss of reputation or revenue.Ambitious IT projects require PPM tools and processes that provide visibility and enable collaboration in real-time to avoid or eliminate massive cost overruns and schedule delays like those in the survey. To remain relevant, PMOs must prove their worth through integrated planning, consistent metrics for performance, flexible and adaptable methodology frameworks, and accountability for results.Recently during our global user conference, Adapt 2011, Daptiv met with more than 150 attendees from 8 countries. The theme of the conference was “Realizing Business Value through PPM” and a major focus for attendees was how PMOs adapt to the “New Normal” of business uncertainty in their companies and the broader economy. A few key lessons from successful PMOs emerged that are worth sharing:

1.) Where the PMO reports to is important for how it is perceived in the organization. According to recent Forrester research, PMOs that report to the CEO or CFO are much more likely to be perceived as delivering significant value. If your PMO reports to the VP of IS/IT then keeping a strategic focus is key to being perceived as delivering business value.

2.) Communities of practice are important to gain influence in an organization. Listening to individuals in your organization, frequent meetings, sharing knowledge and mentorship, and proving support (not mandates) will lead to a PMO being viewed as a valuable and influential partner in the organization.

3.) There is a growing trend for successful PMOs in IT to expand to an EPMO, covering business investments as well as IT strategy and planning. A Daptiv customer who has successfully made this transition and presented at the conference was Mercy, a health care system with over 25 hospitals and 200 clinic locations, which incubated their PMO in the IT organization before creating a very successful Enterprise Project Office in 2007.

Yes, IT delays happen, even with the best of intentions. More often than not, they can be avoided through careful planning, communication and collaboration. IT governance and PPM tools have come a long way over the past several years and increasingly the PMO is playing a more strategic role within the organization beyond IT.

Let us know whether you agree with these takeaways and what other trends you are seeing in your business as we move into 2012.

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Takeaways

I attended Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2011 in Orlando last week for the world’s biggest industry conference focused on IT leaders with over 7,500 senior IT executives (including 2,000 CIOs). Here are some of my takeaways from the Gartner sessions at the event:

(1) CEOs continue to worry about business uncertainty. The four major risk areas of (1) government direction, (2) commodity prices, (3) financial stability, and (4) popular confidence are causing continued business uncertainty. Although many business leaders are publicly stating a bullish ‘Plan A’, they are privately considering a scaled back ‘Plan B’ if some of the risks materialize.

(2) IT budgets will be flat for 2012. Similar to the last 2 years, Gartner is predicting flat (<2% growth) in IT budgets for 2012. However, flat IT budgets do not mean that IT is perceived as not delivering strategic business value. In a recent survey, 52% of CEOs see IT providing innovation or growth opportunities for the business vs. the typical cost reduction, efficiency and effectiveness benefits. Other areas of the business are seeing budget cuts, so flat or slightly growing IT budgets should be viewed positively.

(3) IT needs to focus on creating measurable financial benefits for the enterprise. Gartner states that by 2016 that 50% of CIO new project spending should be directed towards measurably improving enterprise financial conditions. This reinforces the importance of PMO leaders to help drive this shift by providing CIOs with the right project intake process to pick investments that will align with this strategic imperative.

(3) SaaS PPM tools provide more “Bang for your Buck”.  In the Project and Portfolio Management Applications MarketScope presentation, Gartner highlighted that SaaS PPM tools are driving down cost of ownership and presenting more risk-averse options for customers. One of the criteria for MarketScope evaluation was the overall PPM risks of tools, including price, complexity, start-up, and adoption. It was great to see Daptiv was given the highest MarketScope rating this year of ‘Strong Positive’.

(4) Social business software is primarily focused on marketing and customer service functions.  Although there is a lot of hype about the new ‘social enterprise’, Gartner’s recent Social Media Survey found that ‘strengthening customer relationships’, ‘enhancing brand awareness’ and ‘creating interactive customer relationships’ were the main drivers for social software in the enterprise. Although this will likely change to include project management in the future, increasing ‘employee productivity’ and ‘decrease business costs’ were not yet a hot focus area for social business software.

(5) Discussion of “Project” and “Project Portfolio” gives way to “Program”, “Product”, “Application” and “Service”.Given the broadened use of PPM tools for managing businesses beyond projects, more organizations are now taking a holistic view of their business by using PPM tools to manage end-to-end service portfolios, product delivery, application lifecycle management, and change management programs.

Help! My IT Department is Overloaded!

Most CIOs struggle with a common problem: the insatiable demand for IT work from other departments. Most strategies for dealing with this involve work request intake processes and prioritization schemes. Some may take the extra step of allocating their resources, usually against projects. But if you simply look at the problem statement, the path to a solution becomes more obvious. To balance the load we must match the incoming demand for work against the supply of resources to perform it.

In many IT departments this work comes into the organization in an ungoverned fashion. Minimally, support work may come in through a help desk system, but sometimes not. When not flowing through a defined process, projects may come in via email, hallway conversations, or direct requests to technical staff. This subjects all staff to the dreaded “death by a thousand paper cuts” as work comes from all directions to just about anyone in IT.

There are several keys to successfully balancing IT’s often overwhelming workload:

1. Consider all of IT’s work and staff, not just projects and programmers. As everyone in IT may get involved in the various types of work IT does, narrowing in on just one aspect will not solve the problem.

2. Govern the workload by scale. Tickets are governed by help desk queues, enhancements by targeted percentage policies, and projects by a formal intake funnel. Each of these groupings is governed in a different fashion, each ideally comes through its own intake process, and therefore each needs to have resource allocations planned differently.

3. Plan capacity early. Like any other department that produces tangible product – in our case various technologies – a little planning is in order. Capacity planning is the science and art of aligning all incoming requests with the proper work teams and deciding which ones hit the floor when to make the most efficient use of available capacity. Just like in manufacturing, capacity planning must be done long before efforts like projects are launched. Done properly, this reduces the scramble for resources and minimizes conflicting priorities. It also allows more work to complete without interruption, reducing inefficiencies caused by churn.

4. Track all time. To truly understand the workload in IT, everyone from the CIO on down must log their time. It is simply not possible to segregate the work by one specific IT area or one type of work – no matter how the department is organized. At a minimum, they must log time to the different scales and types of work and to individual projects. Without this critical feedback, even the best planning process is just guesswork.

Above all, IT’s job is to provide information technology that supports and enables the achievement of business strategies and goals. Ensuring that all work is properly governed and planned helps IT stay in alignment and deliver to those goals efficiently and effectively.