5 +1 reasons why you must replace your current PPM software

Project portfolio management is a discipline that is constantly evolving. In recent years, as a result of the rise of agile methodologies and the new ways of working brought by the digital era, changes in the management of the organisation’s portfolio have become much more evident.

As project portfolio management is no longer the same as it was 10 years ago, every PPM software available on the market must also change. These solutions must be renewed and new functionalities added in order to address the new challenges and needs of the companies that have emerged as a result of this new context.

Unfortunately, not all PPM software has been able to adapt to the new trends and practices that have emerged in project portfolio management. And it is very likely that your solution is one of the many that has become obsolete for efficient project portfolio management. Want to find out? These are the reasons why your current PPM solution is already outdated and you should change it as soon as possible.

Aligning strategy and execution is a must for all organizations

The digital era has brought with it many changes in the day-to-day operations of many companies. And portfolio management is far from being exempt from this global context. We have much more competitive markets, with more and more competitors. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding, asking for products and services that are increasingly innovative and tailored to their needs.

The life cycles of products and services are therefore becoming shorter and shorter. This forces organizations to have to meet the demand in their markets and to reformulate their strategic objectives in ever shorter timeframes.

In this context, aligning strategy planning with execution is the major challenge for the success of organizations. Many of them fail to achieve their strategic objectives because they do not have the right processes and tools to align their portfolio of projects or products with the company’s goals. This leads to a loss of focus on key portfolio management issues such as prioritization of initiatives, resource management, financial management, or risk management. This results in a portfolio that is not aligned with the organization’s strategic planning.

Unfortunately, many of the PPM tools available on the market do not have the functionality to align the IT portfolio with the organization’s objectives in real-time. The absence of a strategic vision in your decision-making processes has surely already had consequences in your organization such as:

  • Inadequate prioritization of IT projects and initiatives.
  • Inefficient resource allocation and management.
  • Teams not being aligned or working in silo.
  • Inefficient communication and misunderstandings between IT managers and the organization’s managers.

Therefore, for efficient management of the IT portfolio, it is necessary to have a solution that also covers the strategy execution management of the portfolio. This is the only way you will be able to respond from your IT department to the strategic and governance challenges that will arise during the management and execution of your portfolio.

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5 reasons why you must renew your PPM tool suite

And, at this point, you are probably wondering: how can I know if it is time to replace the PPM solution we are using in the IT department? If you are aware that your department finds challenging to align with the strategic objectives of the business, in your day-to-day use of PPM software, you will detect signs that will indicate that this solution does not cover the management of strategy execution.

Specifically, there are 5 aspects of the PPM software to which you need to pay special attention. They are as follows:

  1. Your PPM does not answer to the new strategic and governance challenges of the organization.
  2. Adaptive portfolio management is not scalable to the strategic level.
  3. Your resource management does not cover capacity planning.
  4. Rigidity in adopting Hybrid management approaches.
  5. Complexity when integrating with other organizational tools.

We will explain in detail how to identify each of them below.

1. Your PPM does not answer to the new strategic and governance challenges of the organization

The current context compels organizations to have, at the portfolio level, processes and tools to be able to face the strategic and governance challenges that may arise with guarantees. In order not to lose competitiveness, organizations may be forced to review and redefine their strategic vision and objectives every 3 to 6 months.

To respond efficiently and effectively to these changes in the organization’s course, you need to make sure that with the PPM solution you can perform the following actions:

  • Communicate objectives automatically and in real-time to all relevant stakeholders.
  • Score initiatives at the project, program or portfolio level based on how relevant they are to delivering value and achieving the organization’s strategic objectives.
  • To be able to connect each initiative or deliverable created in the PPM tool with the objectives.
  • Plan the organization’s capacity and resource allocation and connect them to the various initiatives based on the value they will deliver.

Therefore, at this point, to find out if the PPM software you use in your organization is able to meet the strategic and governance challenges of portfolio management, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are all teams and stakeholders in the IT department informed about the organization’s objectives?
  • Can you score and prioritize your portfolio deliverables in the PPM solution?
  • Can you run scenario simulations at the portfolio level to respond more efficiently to changes in the organization’s strategy?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you already know that your PPM software does not cover the planning of strategy execution management.

2. Adaptive portfolio management not scalable to strategic level

Project portfolio management has experienced many changes over the last 10 years. Previously, the priority was to complete projects within the deadlines and budgets agreed with the different stakeholders of the organization, without taking into account variables that today are essential for efficient portfolio management, such as, for example:

  • Prioritization of projects according to the value they bring to the organization.
  • Capacity planning in order to cope with demand.
  • Review budgets or objectives every 3 or 6 months.

Today, it is recommended an adaptive PPM approach for efficient portfolio management. This implies the implementation of processes and tools that your PMO can use to adapt resource management, budget or portfolio priorities in an agile manner in accordance with changes in the organization’s strategic objectives and vision.

Many PPMs do not have the capability to manage the portfolio with an adaptive approach. How to identify it? You should ask yourself the following questions. And if the answer to any of them is no, then your PPM solution is not set up to manage the portfolio adaptively.

  • Does your PPM allow you to link projects, programs and portfolios to the different objectives of the organization?
  • Are tasks such as updating budget adjustments, costs or resources in the tool time-consuming?
  • Can you run forecasts and scenario analysis with your solution?

3. Your resource management does not cover capacity planning

One of the biggest challenges in portfolio management is to have processes and tools in place to predict and plan for the long-term capacity of the organization’s resources.

Capacity planning is a step beyond resource management in the more conventional meaning of the term. While resource management is more oriented to the efficient allocation of short-term resources at the department or project level, capacity planning is performed at the portfolio level. It focuses on thoroughly studying the demand and the organization’s capacity to:

  • Plan medium and long-term resource allocation needs.
  • Forecast future demand and organize the organization’s capacity accordingly.
  • Identify roles and profiles that are needed in the organization.

The benefits you will gain from capacity planning are countless: investing resources in the projects that provide the most value to the organization, improved ability to manage changes in the organization’s objectives, talent retention, higher productivity, etc. Therefore, for efficient management of the organization’s resources, it is necessary to carry out capacity planning. And your PPM software needs to have the functionality to efficiently manage both, resource management and capacity planning.

How can you know if your solution is designed for capacity planning? You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you perform scenario simulations and What-if analysis of the organization’s capacity with your PPM solution?
  • Do you have your resources listed according to the role and the skills they have?
  • Do you have processes in place to reallocate resources in an agile manner based on the changing needs of the organization’s portfolio?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then your PPM solution does not efficiently cover capacity planning.

4. Rigidity in adopting Hybrid management approaches

The coexistence, within the same organization, of different work methodologies has made project portfolio management even more complex.

While the more traditional portfolio management was based on the Waterfall methodology, in which the management of each project or program was divided into a linear process divided into phases, the emergence of agile methodologies has implied several fundamental changes in portfolio management:

  • Many portfolios are now managed iteratively and can pivot as the organization’s objectives and requirements evolve.
  • More and more organizations are focusing on product management rather than project management. Whereas projects are more focused on the long term and on completing deliverables within agreed deadlines and budgets, product-centric management puts more focus on continuous value delivery and customer needs.

They are not opposing approaches; both can (and should) coexist within organizations. And the biggest challenge for both project portfolio management and PPM software in the market is to enable the right processes and tactics to implement a Hybrid portfolio management model.

However, not all PPM software has the same flexibility in adopting this hybrid management approach. And the reason is that many of them were designed with only the traditional waterfall approach to portfolio management in mind. To find out if your PPM is the right one to adapt to this new hybrid management model, you must answer affirmatively to the following questions:

  • Does your solution have different views, such as Kanban or Masterplan, to adapt to the different frameworks of your organization?
  • Do you have visibility on the status of the deliverables assigned to development or IT teams working with Agile methodologies?
  • Do you have interactive dashboards and Gantt charts in the PPM software that allow you to have full visibility of the status of each of the initiatives in the portfolio?

Is it a flexible tool that allows you to pivot easily when prioritizing and changing the status of each of the initiatives in your portfolio?

See the Triskell platform in action in a personal demo​

5. Complexity when integrating with other organizational tools

You already know that for efficient project portfolio management it is necessary that the tools you use can be integrated with each other in a simple and agile way. Being able to integrate the tools with which you plan, manage and execute your portfolio brings many advantages:

  • Allows for a 360º view of the portfolio and all its deliverables.
  • You can inform stakeholders about the status of the portfolio in real-time.
  • You will break down silos in the organization, being able to collect all the relevant data of your project portfolio in a single interface.

Having a PPM in which you can integrate other key tools in other aspects of portfolio management is fundamental. The problem is that most of the PPMs on the market are particularly complex when it comes to integrating with other software that you have implemented internally in your organization, which makes it even more difficult to manage the portfolio efficiently.

You must ensure that you do not face any of these issues with the PPM solution you have in place:

  • Have you required a development team external to the organization to integrate your PPM with the rest of the tools of your organization?
  • Has it been impossible to integrate the PPM software with some tools due to the complexity of the process?
  • More and more PPM tools are designed to integrate with other software in an agile and simple way, without requiring the help of an external development team or a strong coding knowledge. If this is not your case, then it is time to change your PPM software.

    Bonus track: Some software vendors no longer investing in their solution

    And, as a bonus, we give you one more reason why you should renew the PPM software with which you manage the organization’s project portfolio. You should know that some of the software vendors specialized in the PPM market are no longer investing money in their solutions.

    This is a particularly delicate issue, as many of these software vendors do not mention it. And you may be in for an unpleasant surprise if you purchase one of these solutions and find that you are not going to receive the support that you and your organization deserve.

This lack of investment can be detected in several ways. Here is a list of the most common ones. And, if you identify any of them, then you will need to consider seriously purchasing a new PPM software:

  • New versions of the solution are not released, which may cause some of its functionalities to stop working as, for example, the operating system used in your organization receives new updates or security patches not compatible with the software.
  • The vendor does not develop new software functionalities, which will eventually cause the software to become outdated as you face new challenges in the management and governance of the organization’s project portfolio.
  • Not user-friendly interface: design and usability standards are constantly evolving. Not investing in these elements will make the interface non-intuitive, which will cause some reluctance to use the software compared to other tools that do have better usability.
  • No technical support is provided for this solution. You may encounter incidents such as outages in the solution’s server, or technical failures in its functionalities, which take much longer than usual to be solved due to this situation.

How to choose the best PPM software?

At this point, you are probably asking yourself this question: which PPM software best suits my organization’s needs? As you have seen through this post, there are many factors that can affect your user experience with the solution you choose, so it is a decision that should be carefully considered.

When choosing one PPM software or another, it is important that you follow a process that will help you define the type of solution you need and the functionalities it should include. From Triskell Software we recommend you to carry out, at least, these 4 actions to take the most appropriate decision:

  1. Check where you stand. What is the maturity level of the processes you have in the organization? How large is the volume of data you generate in the organization when managing the organization’s portfolio? Depending on the complexity of your processes and their maturity, you will probably have to opt for one type of solution or another.
  2. Problems and pain points to solve. What aspects of portfolio management has your PPM software not been able to solve? You should list those project portfolio management issues that your solution has not been able to support.
  3. Research the PPM market in depth. When you do your research on the Internet, you will see that there are many PPM solutions available. It is important that you know this market, that you analyze reports such as those published by Gartner and Forrester, and that you thoroughly analyze the specifications of each software vendor and the products and functionalities that each one offers.
  4. List the solutions with those functionalities that fit your needs. In the end, you will see that having clear the needs of the organization, and knowing in detail the different solutions on the market, the final decision will be taken around a reduced group of PPM solutions.

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If you want to transform your PMO into a strategic partner that drives value for every project and propels your business forward, register now for our next webinar.

Thursday, June 20th
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