Introduction to Portfolio Management: a PPM Maturity Model

5 min read

Portfolio management, while being a sophisticated instrument of business, addresses the immediate pains and needs of the business. Usually results in applying scheduling, budgeting, and other various project initiatives. Most businesses stay at this level, mostly not by design, but as a result of treating the issue as a means to an end, not as a strategy for growth. But if after seeing what scheduling alone can do for your business, you’ve decided to adopt a full-scale PPM Maturity Model, the question bears: Where do we go from here?

Portfolio management tool

First and foremost, one must establish “a method to this madness”. Bear in mind that no organization can jump into high-level portfolio management if there is no firm foundation. Especially, if we’re talking growth and multiplication across the enterprise. The first thing to ensure is putting the essentials:

  • effective scheduling practices,
  • budget baseline,
  • clear project scope,
  • comprehensive toolkit in place.

After that, one should recognize, that with portfolio management “One step at a time” is the recipe for success. Several levels of PPM maturity are easily identified. Knowing where the organization is on this scale allows you to apply a suitable PPM strategy. A fitting PPM model, along with the fitting PPM tools, will ensure the fulfillment of your long-term goals and fit your needs. Jump too high too soon and the effort will crumble. Effective portfolio management is the result of bringing together the bond of the lifecycle and the PPM maturity levels. A PPM maturity model practice can cut the negative effects of poorly executed projects. It can also provide a roadmap to scale with the organization as they begin to move to more sophisticated methods of project execution. PPM assists an organization to maximize positive organizational and cultural changes. The maturity growth pattern helps sustain the adoption and tolerance of the new processes and methods.

Levels of PPM Maturity Model

The spectrum of how organizations can progress from ad-hoc task management to complete end-to-end portfolio management is divided into five levels.

  • Low PPM Maturity is never a conscious choice of an organization. Managing projects and initiatives at a basic level of maturity is usually an organic process, a reflex, a “what works” approach, that quickly becomes inadequate as the organization starts to grow beyond its original parameters. When you start gaining the understanding of “how to get things done” – an effective set of processes, tools, and technologies are usually adopted, resulting in improved efficiency. Tools frequently chosen at this stage of enterprise growth are often simple and not even so much “easy to use,” as they are familiar. For example, Excel spreadsheets are often used for everything – scheduling, budget management, and even time management sometimes. That is not the best way to deal with enterprise management, but that is what people just do. Of course, other tools can help you with managing “a young” enterprise, with a small team. For example – time tracking if task tracking is quite flexible on a small scale with Wrike, Wunderlist, and Trello and budgeting is simple with an old-school Peachtree. However, the moment your business grows out of the three-person game (the day you hire that fourth developer), you’d have to forsake the one tool shop.
  • The growth of PPM Project Management is the stage of the introduction of portfolio management, following the basic project management tools. This is the stage when a methodical, synchronized, and systematic approach provides a better means of managing projects, forming portfolios, interconnecting the tools, and assisting roles or user rights to management within a single system. Then comes the ability to analyze the information regarding all the aspects of every single project as a part of the whole. Not just the time frame of one individual project and resources allocated to the tasks.
  • Progressing Level of PPM Program Management is the next phase of growth. The need for a higher level of consolidation occurs, as the complexity of business interactions increases. At this stage, keeping track of the business life cycle “with your own two hands” becomes virtually impossible. This is when the integration of business intelligence metadata comes in handy. The idea of intertwining the data streams involved in your portfolio management needs to be threaded within a single structure. Stand-alone tools make it difficult, if not impossible, to consolidate or “roll up” data to support the needs of management, the planning, and forecasting capacity, business value planning, and even basic prioritization of work.
  • Progressing Level of PPM Portfolio Management is when “the point of no return” is behind you. Your portfolios are grouped and interconnected. Now you can initiate to facilitate the truly effective management and decision-making on a larger scale. Now you can finally “go for the stars,” in our case – strive to meet the strategic business objectives. “Business Intelligence” and reporting are the tools presenting current and accurate information to assist senior executives in making informed and managerial decisions. At this point, PPM is enabling organizations to take advantage of the visibility of “bottom-up,” as well as “top-down” analysis. If you’ve been smart about your portfolio management before reaching this maturity point – this stage will be a picnic for you. All the tools you need are intertwined, synchronized with your “master plan,” your time tracker, budgeting, and every project in your portfolios are like a gear wheel in a Swiss clock.
  • High Level of PPM Strategic Execution is the level of PPM maturity, where it becomes clear how the “mission, vision, values” statement is important for business. Long-range intentions of an organization influence portfolio strategy. When reaching this point, you can, or at least should, see not just the baseline aligned with the current budget curve, but the strategy and vision line up with business goals and priorities. At this point, your business needs and growth are addressed alongside project execution.
Level of PPM maturity

How PPM Express Makes a Difference on Each Maturity Model Level

  • Initial. PPM Express is a SaaS platform that enables organizations with a full portfolio and project visibility by aggregating project-related information across groups, portfolios, and systems. It can infuse your business with building blocks for orderly and strategy.
  • Emerging Discipline. PPM Express, being a lightweight portfolio management tool that suits both the immediate needs of your business and the strategic, more complex needs you will encounter while growing, matches the capacities of entities starting with 20 people, to the extent of large companies of hundreds to thousands of employees.
  • Initial Integration. PPM Express is most useful for organizations at this stage of the maturity model. Enterprises can fully use the transparency and interconnectivity, the solution provides. Adopting Such a tool has both strategic and tactical value, and can potentially be used to redefine markets and industries.
  • Effective Integration. At this point, you would need a tool that allows consistency. The strategy, the methodology, and management options for tasks, time-frames, and costs involved in the process. PPM Express is a tool that fits this stage perfectly.
  • Effective Innovation. PPM Express is good for an enterprise at this stage of development instead of a larger, slower, more complicated tool. It expands the functionality of earlier adopted scheduling and project management apps. It gives the user an intuitive interface to connect all projects, portfolios, and other internal data – terms, budgets, and performance indicators, into one wholesome picture. With advanced customization options, it becomes extremely adaptable to any market segment or business landscape. Plus, PPM Express is maintenance-free. Which makes it not just much more affordable, but also allows you to avoid spending any time managing environments.

By matching your current maturity level to the appropriate metrics, you will get an instant roadmap to “what comes next” and come one step closer to ensuring your business’s success. Technology plays a very important role in your timely maturation model. If you “jump” to using large server-level technology tools, you might fall, as a child does, while wearing his parents’ clothes. Drastic measures while adopting tools or methodologies in project and portfolio management inevitably fail at implementing stage.

Not mentioning the scenario, where your organization fails to adopt the implemented change. Your goal is to pick the tool “your size” to take advantage of its fullest capability. By pacing your growth via the PPM Maturity Model, you have an easy, transparent roadmap laid out. Use it to ensure cultural adoption and successful implementation of organizational change.

Introduction to Portfolio Management: a PPM Maturity Model
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