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Defining PPM A Bridge or a Hub?

If embraced and supported by senior management, PPM becomes the core of a set of combined business and projects processes, leading to much improved effectiveness in the use of limited cash and human resources.

Some six years ago, I started writing about PPM. With some of my early-adapter colleagues, I recognized the potential power and benefits of this emerging art and science. I then saw PPM as a bridge, connecting the world of projects with the world of business operations.

As I noted in Chapter 1.1, the basic elements of PPM and the environment in which it is applied are not new. However, before the emergence of PPM as a defined discipline, these elements were the responsibility of two distinct groups, operations management and projects management, each with its specific role:

Operations Management Projects Management

Strategies Schedule/time

Objectives/goals Project cost

Business performance Project performance

Stockholder satisfaction Project selection and mix Resource availability Cash flow/income

Stakeholder satisfaction Scope/change control Resource utilization Cash usage

The gap between these two worlds was very apparent. The projects world was diligently pursuing excellence in project performance, virtually totally oblivious to the strategies of the enterprise and whether its projects were in line with these strategies. The operations side of the business was called on to support these projects with funding and resources, not understanding how or whether these were really the projects that it wanted or needed. There was no way of knowing this.

In the absence of a repeatable structure, neither group could communicate with the other in a meaningful way to make the connection. Communication was further hampered by the lack of a common language. A bridge was needed.

Today I see PPM not as a bridge but as a hub (Figure 3.1-1). PPM is the nucleus of a system that brings projects and operations together. It is the core of an integrated collection of processes that represent both operations and projects functions. It is also the engine that drives the production of project deliverables to enhance the total health of the enterprise.

Building a bridge between these two functions will not do the job. A bridge acknowledges that a gap exists and does nothing to eliminate the gap. A connection between these two entities is not enough. They must be brought together in unity as distinct roles working in harmony, within a shared system and for a common cause.

PPM ties these distinct functions into an efficient business machine that increases the value and purpose of projects so as to contribute to the overall health and success of the enterprise. It does much more than bridge a gap. It eliminates the gap by bringing these diverse functions together.

Figure 3.1-1 Project Portfolio Management as a Hub

PPM as a BRIDGE

OPERATIONS

Strategies Objectives, goals Business performance Stockholder satisfaction Project selection and mix Resource availability Cash flow, income

Figure 3.1-1 Project Portfolio Management as a Hub

PPM as a BRIDGE

OPERATIONS

Strategies Objectives, goals Business performance Stockholder satisfaction Project selection and mix Resource availability Cash flow, income

PROJECTS

Schedule, time Project cost Project performance Stakeholder satisfaction Scope, change control Resource use Cash use

PROJECTS

Schedule, time Project cost Project performance Stakeholder satisfaction Scope, change control Resource use Cash use

PPM as a HUB

PPM as a HUB

The basis for PPM is a rational decision system with these components:

• Having all of the information

• Having analytical processes for effective use of the information

• Having means of communicating with all stakeholders in their language

• Aligning opportunities with objectives

• Conditioning opportunities by assessing and controlling risk

• Eliminating or minimizing office politics and personal favoritism

• Getting all of the disciplines of the enterprise on the same page

• Promoting the use of common sense

PPM provides the motivation and the vehicle for all of this. If embraced and supported by senior management, PPM becomes the core of a set of combined business and projects processes, leading to much improved effectiveness in the use of limited cash and human resources. With PPM as the hub for these linked processes, better project portfolios are developed, affording greater opportunities for increased benefits. Feeding the results of project status and performance back into the portfolio management system provides a loop ensuring that the project selection process encompasses both proposed and active projects.

All of these processes have to be connected. The PPM hub is a means to accomplish this. It serves as a place holder for proposed and active projects. It serves as a database for PPM data and a link to other associated data. It serves as a reporting and communication system for information regarding projects and business items. It contains the engines to support rational analysis and decision making.

PPM encompasses several project and operations management processes. It is not just a new piece of the project management picture (a common misconception) or an extension of project management. It is an entirely new discipline that includes project management as an important component. PPM is the hub of a system that makes all of this happen, and it is the glue that holds it all together.

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Project Management Made Easy

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