15 Project Portfolio Management Features Designed to Help Your Key Business Initiatives Succeed: Part 1

by July 30, 2018

The first in a three-part series on how redesigned CA Project Portfolio Management (CA PPM) features help businesses solve their most pressing issues with ease.

Back in 2015, the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession report stated that “on average, 64 percent of all projects are successful.” Success rates, it noted, had been stuck at that level for years, and most businesses were using tools outside their project portfolio management (PPM) systems (email, spreadsheets, Microsoft PowerPoint®, etc.) to work through their processes.

At CA, we executed our own research study to gain a greater understanding of how our future product development could lessen the need for external tools and at the same time raise project success rates. Today’s CA Project Portfolio Management (CA PPM) tool reflects that, with literally dozens of improvements over the last few years. Five of them are detailed below.

1. A modern, social user experience

Each day, workers become more accustomed to living in an app economy where communication is easy and technology simplifies their lives. But enterprise tools—including many PPM solutions—haven’t kept up. They don’t simplify everyday tasks, don’t facilitate in-context communication and sometimes don’t even provide a way to see what people are working on without navigating through multiple screens.

As a result, we redesigned CA PPM to be faster, easier and more intuitive. Everyday tasks are simpler, collaboration is enhanced, visibility is comprehensive and organizations’ most pressing issues can be resolved without having to export data. We’ve transformed CA PPM into an easy-to-use, single source of information for all types of projects, regardless of the manager, department or team.

2. Project blueprinting

In our study, we found that teams were navigating through reams of information that had no relevance to them or the tasks they were trying to accomplish. The data IT needs to access is typically very different than that required by marketing or development teams. And too much “noise” clouds visibility, diminishes focus and impedes effective problem solving.

To address this, CA PPM introduced a partitioning feature we call “blueprinting.” Blueprints are team-specific pages that are populated by each team’s custom fields and nothing more. A team starts with a standard blueprint onto which members drag and drop their visuals, documents and custom attributes. New blueprints can be created in minutes, and any changes are pushed to member screens automatically.

3. Familiar financials

The ability to easily access, view and modify project data is important to ensuring money is well spent and projects are executed on time and on budget. Many financial managers export data from the PPM solution into Microsoft Excel® to better visualize it and make adjustments. But exporting data is cumbersome and introduces opportunity for error.

CA PPM’s financial planning pages have been redesigned to mimic Excel spreadsheets both visually and in functionality, so users can work with the data inside the app without the need for reconfigurations or multiple reports. The already-familiar style provides much greater project visibility, and no additional learning is required.

4. Centralized project links and documents

Team members often visit a number of different websites like Microsoft SharePoint®, Google Docs, Power BI, etc. to find information. And many of them aren’t dedicated to one project but rotate between several, each with their own knowledge sites and documentation. The result? Members have trouble finding the information they’re looking for, and managers spend time responding to the same requests for information over and over again.

With CA PPM, links and documents are collected in one central location to provide easy access to everything team members need, including quick-start project templates, team breakdowns, work breakdowns—anything that can help initiate projects quickly, help new team members hit the ground running and free up the project manager to focus on more important topics.

5. Task board

Overlooking just one important task can set a project back days or weeks, increase costs, delay delivery and negatively impact lateral projects. But managing them—keeping track of which have been assigned, which have been completed, who’s accepted them and what the status of each task is—can be challenging.

With CA PPM’s task board, users work with consumer app-style graphics to create a card for each task. The cards feature to-do lists that include any activities that have yet to be accomplished in order to complete the task. Task boards are configurable, but many users opt for Planned, In-progress or Completed columns to show where each task currently stands. As status changes, tasks are dragged from one category and dropped into another.

Since the Project Management Institute’s 2015 report, we’ve made great strides in our efforts to ease everyday tasks, provide all necessary functionality within the solution and raise the project success rates of our customers. While I don’t want to give away the secret of our success, the truth is, we’re innovating. We’re innovating on solutions that enable our customers to innovate. And we’re working toward delivering technologies that will make our customers’ projects successful 100 percent of the time.

Learn how CA can help you on your Project Portfolio Management journey at www.ca.com/ppm.