Project Portfolio Management for Jira: How to Improve Your Performance and Visibility?

6 min read

To effectively manage the organization, you need to have several applications in your arsenal that will facilitate your project’s progress. Starting with the time accounting program and ending with Cloud data integration, these tools will help you conduct your business competently and rationally, without unnecessary costs. When you’re on the verge of adopting an automation solution for portfolio management, you should absolutely remember a couple of easy rules below. You should begin by selecting the appropriate processes and methods. The proper project and portfolio management tool is one that can be flexible enough to accommodate whatever your top priority is for the moment and be available for future changes and customization.

PPM for Jira: The Pros, Cons, and Extras

The obvious advantages of Jira for project and portfolio managers are that it is a web-based team collaboration and work management platform that helps teams be more organized and efficient — not to mention the fact that work is done through a web browser, which means you can check your progress anywhere, anytime. The system is scalable and suitable both for organizations with fewer than ten employees and for larger enterprises with up to thousands of people on board. It enables PMs to track project problems and progress, support and maintain the project, and manage the progress of each task.

We had a chance to “ask around” and spoke to clients of different companies of various sizes and different lines of work about the advantages and disadvantages of this tool. As a result, we’ve gathered a list of definitive pros for PMs in the IT segment:

  • Allows to plan, create custom stories and tasks, prepare for sprints, and distribute tasks for the development team;
  • Prioritize and discuss the work within the team;
  • Release new versions and rest assured that the information is always up to date.

However, every response in one way or the other revealed that Jira “as-is” is an extremely rare beast. This can hardly be called a disadvantage with regard to the workflow of functionality, because — let’s be clear — the system itself is not made for portfolio management. However, from any project manager’s point of view, not enough visibility is a shortcoming.

And the bigger the team, the number of projects, and the size of the portfolio, the bigger the shortcomings, so to speak. So, it is safe to say that portfolio management with Jira alone is a task only for the brave, with a side note that “bravery” should not transform into “stubbornness” or “ignorance.”

Project Budgeting, Costing, and “Statusing”

Project Budgeting with PPM Express

The ability to set a status and description in order to project cost status, schedule status, risks status, and issues status is also very important for financial and other types of success. The basic issue in this area is that most people do not understand the value of accurate status management for reporting a big project, not to mention the portfolios. There are basic rules of reporting the status that is used to keep management and the project team informed and drive a project toward success.

Smart managers use excellent status reporting to keep superiors fully informed of a project’s health and overall direction. There is particular information your executives and stakeholders need to be able to “run the show” effectively. Providing this information in a way that PMOs, executives, and stakeholders can consume on a regular basis while spending only a few seconds skimming the report to determine what sort of progress the projects have made is essential.

Project management tools take a swirling, chaotic cloud of information and distill it down into its most basic elements and structure those elements so that hundreds and thousands of hours of work can be understood in 30 seconds.

Excellent status management begins with three key elements:

  1. At-a-glance initiative health: a status light indicating red (at risk), yellow (off track), or green (on track) performance;
  2. Quick project context: two to three sentences explaining why the plan item is either red, yellow, or green;
  3. Concise next steps: two to three sentences about what you’re going to do next.

Additionally, there are indicators one can add for more clarity, such as brief details and key data needed by management in the form of, for example, milestones and issues.

When the business matures and starts using project and portfolio management at its full capacity, it starts saving money by understanding real project costs. To truly manage your projects, you should have the ability to compare daily changes in the cost baseline based on the planned target budget.

For executives to have “a bird’s-eye view” of the actuals in real-time, track labor and non-labor costs and expenses, phase, project, and a portfolio overall, then a portfolio management tool is required. The benefits of adopting one do not stop at that.

By implementing a project portfolio management approach, you get to:

  • Know at a glance if the project is on time and within budget;
  • Track project costs in labor hours, non-labor costs, or expenses;
  • Keep track of project estimates versus actual costs in real-time;
  • Capture proposed and billable charges on client-facing projects;
  • View a quick summary of project budgets;
  • Report on planned value and earned value;
  • Report and roll up by an organization, department, and more.

How Does PPM Express Enhance Your PMO Performance in One Click?

PMO Performance with PPM Express

The key reasons why small and medium businesses are not yet using special tools for portfolio management are:

  • Solutions are usually implemented to “fix” the immediate needs of the company, rather than a strategic step.
  • The majority of PPM systems are designed for large companies, thus they are too expensive and complicated.

Throughout many years of deployment and support of project and portfolio management systems for our clients across the industry map, we’ve gathered insights that have allowed us to create a solution perfectly suited for small and medium businesses. PPM Express is a lightweight portfolio management tool that fits the immediate needs of teams and business entities starting with 20 people up to the extent of large companies consisting of hundreds to thousands of employees.

PPM Express, first of all, ensures the linking of tasks and uses the automatic calculation of the string of deadlines and costs. It can show you the offset from your original baselines so that you can view changes. When beginning with portfolio management, your first task is to determine which projects should actually be started; only then would you be able to address how to optimize the execution.

As a result, this would bring together the desired requirements from the corporate strategy and the actual opportunities to deliver results. PPM Express also goes for a custom project and portfolio categorization mode that will help you prioritize and conquer.

Introducing a PPM solution ensures that the projects with the highest priority get the necessary resources. It makes sure you work on the right projects rather than implementing unimportant ones. It gives you a complete overview of all planned and running projects as well as keeps you up-to-date on your portfolios.

If you’re a hardcore Atlassian JIRA user, you don’t have to give up your ways – integrate instead. Instant and seamless PPM Express deployment will give you insights into your progress and leave your day-to-day working process as it were.

The only difference is that your PMO will be much happier and less stressed. PPM Express enables executives of Jira to use teams to visualize and report on any project at any time. It gives them transparency and connectivity in an easy-to-use intuitive interface, no matter how many teams and portfolio groups you manage.

You can see the statuses and progress of any of your projects and portfolios in one place, update project budgets, risks, issues, milestones, and releases, and make all the changes in one dashboard.

Choosing a compatible PPM tool dramatically improves your business processes and portfolio management efforts by giving your executives and PMOs access to insights on the overall performance of your project, a team’s availability, and schedule. PPM Express will be good for you if you are a small, medium, or large company because it was designed with R&D and insights gathered from our clients starting in 2009.

PPM Express was built using all our experience and the best practices for project and portfolio management.

Afterword: PPM Express vs. Portfolio for Jira

While Atlassian has its own portfolio management software for creating action plans, helping observe the overall picture, and sharing information with stakeholders, you might consider PPM Express for a number of reasons. A portfolio for Jira enables users to create a graph that basically makes teams and projects visible and views the overall picture of the work.

It also allows to track whether the plan is being implemented and forecasts the release date or estimates the reality of the set deadlines. As for resources management, it lets the user watch the workload of your team members and take into account the schedule of each of them, including the worked hours, and days off. There is a feature for sharing current reports with management or team members.

Those are very useful tools when it comes to a project’s “destiny.” However, it also allows for PMOs to focus mostly on roadmaps within JIRA.

At the same time, PPM Express focuses on all the aspects full-grown portfolio management requires from project management and the executives such as prioritization, selection, cross-platform visibility, budgeting, and resource management.

While some top managers can settle for spending tons of extra time while cross-referencing data from all the sources on every project within their portfolios, PPM Express users have a chance to track, manage and make decisions, cost assessments, and establish priorities using just one tool.

Project Portfolio Management for Jira: How to Improve Your Performance and Visibility?
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