OnPoint, LLC

You are now entering the PPM Zone

Borrowing heavily from the Twilight Zone introduction, “There is a strange dimension beyond that which is known to project managers. It is a dimension as immense as sales and marketing and as endless as a program timeline. It is the middle ground between strategy and projects, between PowerPoints and Microsoft Project, and it lies between the pit of risk management and the pinnacle of executive briefings. This is the dimension of bewilderment. It is an area we call the PPM Zone.”

The Project Portfolio Management (PPM) zone is the place where project managers enter with Iron Triangles (scope, time, and cost), methodologies, and tools.  The project manager’s senior leadership team enters the PPM Zone with often-incomplete thoughts of vision, mission, and goals.  Project managers and senior leadership enter the PPM Zone each month, uncertain about why they are there.  An hour later, everyone leaves the PPM Zone frustrated that there was no clear “meeting of the minds.”

The PPM Zone should not be so mysterious.  After all, the goal of the PPM Zone should be to ensure that projects are chosen, planned, and executed in order to optimal business value as quickly as possible.  The PPM Zone should include “just enough” process and metrics to support decisions to fund, start, monitor and, if necessary, cancel projects based on their contribution to the success of the enterprise.

Those of us with extensive project management experience tend to view the PPM Zone from our own perspective rather than that of the executives making these decisions.  We over-emphasize project status reporting and under-emphasize strategic alignment.  We define complex formulas, collect extensive amounts of project data, and adhere to arcane PPM models, yet we overlook the human and political aspects of these decisions.  We need to move over to the senior leadership side of the table and understand what information they require to make project decisions and then continually refine our processes, tools and metrics accordingly.

Comments are closed.

OnPoint, LLC