The New Year is a natural crossroads that we reach every year. It’s an opportunity to assess the realities of the past year and, from that, consider what you’d like to see happen in the upcoming year given the expectation of what is to come. With this perspective on New Years, we find that a commitment to Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the perfect New Year’s resolution, since the recent past has solidified its prevalence and the near future will augment its importance.
The main reason that the project portfolio approach has become more popular over the last half decade is because of the economy. The global economic crisis of 2007 has effected a New Normal in the business world, characterized by an intolerance for failure that doesn’t allow for do-over opportunities in the marketplace. Optimal realization of portfolio ROI was always a nice idea that a company could do to improve their business processes, but now it’s a must just to simply stay alive.
Project management alone will improve the success rate of an organization’s projects, but that is no longer enough. Adaptability is now a crucial survival characteristic for an organization, and that comes with systematically determining what projects to do in the first place and continually considering if those projects are still the right ones to be investing resources in.
And as we look forward to 2013, we see that the steady recovery of the economy will create a unique business climate where there will be more capital to invest, but the lessons of the New Normal will resonate enough that organizations will be very careful about how they invest this capital. Hence, now is the time to commit to PPM to ensure proper resource investment strategies.
Technology advancements are also contributing to both the increased use and the increased importance of PPM. Over the course of the last decade, technology has advanced so rapidly that the business environment is ever-changing. At the turn of the last century, it literally took an entire decade for there to be as much technology innovation as there is in a single year these days—and that rate of advancement is increasing! In other words, basing today’s business operations on budgetary decisions that were made a year earlier is the equivalent of a business in 1910 basing their operations on the technology of 1900. Again, this has increased the demand for adaptability, which has driven many organizations to using PPM approaches.
And the expected innovations of 2013 will make PPM all the more powerful. Some of the expected advancements that are most relevant to project management include:
- Software as a service (SaaS) becoming the standard with Microsoft moving to the cloud
- Continued and rapid improvements to server infrastructure
- Lower cost-entry barriers to technology.
All of these advancements allow for more complexity, which means that your people and processes need to accommodate for more complexity as well in order to realize the full potential of the technology. This places a heavier emphasis on an approach that provides an objective organizing structure to otherwise complicated processes. This approach is PPM, and it can be a saving grace for an organization trying to keep pace with their technological capabilities.
The lower cost of entry to the technologies also allows for more capital to invest in projects, which—as we covered when we talked about the effects of the improving economy—gives more opportunity for realizing the benefits of improved PPM.
So as we look back at the year that just passed and consider what we should expect in the year to come, improving your Project Portfolio Management makes sense on two fronts. First, the realities of the recent past (namely, the New Normal and the culture of speed-of-light technology) have made project portfolios so prevalent that PPM has become a logical necessity. That is, the conditions have made it so that the portfolio must exist, and now the portfolio’s existence makes it so that it must be managed. Second, the expectation for an immediate future of increased capability for complexity and of more investment capital raises the stakes on realizing ROI through optimal PPM. This confluence makes improving your PPM the perfect New Year’s resolution.