Evaluating Pm Solutions Holistically: Cross-Functional Input Essential

Understanding the Core Problem

The core issue being addressed is how to effectively evaluate project management solutions in a comprehensive, holistic manner. Often, organizations take a narrow approach focused solely on features, functionality and costs when selecting PM tools and methodologies. However, this fails to account for critical cross-functional impacts and alignment with broader business objectives. A siloed evaluation process risks suboptimal PM solutions that create inefficiencies, friction and wasted resources across departments.

Key Technical Concepts

Project Management – The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to meet project requirements and completion constraints. This involves initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing activities to achieve defined objectives.

PM Solutions – The combination of processes, organizational structures, technologies, software systems, tools and techniques implemented to manage projects and programs effectively. This encompasses methodologies, best practices, governance frameworks as well as supporting infrastructure.

Holistic Evaluation – A comprehensive assessment methodology weighing quantitative and qualitative factors spanning features, integration, usability, support, costs, business alignment, adoption readiness and cross-functional impacts. Provides a 360-degree view to identify the optimal solution.

Cross-functional Input – Feedback, perspectives and requirements gathered from all departments and stakeholders impacted by the PM solution. For example: engineering, sales, marketing, product, customers, executives etc. Provides broader organizational context.

Adopting a narrow, siloed view risks implementing PM solutions misaligned with business goals. Cross-functional input highlights integration points and enterprise-wise fit to inform holistic evaluation and selection.

Proposed Solutions

Establish Cross-Functional Steering Committee

– Comprised of representatives from all key departments.

– Chartered with gathering needs/feedback and weighing in on PM solution decisions.

– Delivers broad organizational context to help assess holistic fitness.

– Ensures changes embrace end-to-end workflows not just PM team.

– Tendency towards “design by committee” mitigated via clear charter.

Conduct Project Portfolio Analysis

– Portfolio evaluation examines projects cross-functionally from ideation to value realization.

– Analysis illuminates how work actually flows through organization.

– Findings detail required PM solution integration touchpoints.

– Builds fact-based business case for capabilities needed in platform choice.

– Resource intensive effort relies on accurate data inputs.

Prototype & Pilot Concepts

– Model and test possible PM systems pre-purchase to validate fitness.

– Pilot new solutions with smaller project teams before enterprise rollout.

– Prototyping surface issues early to inform capabilities decision process.

– Obtain hands-on feedback beyond theoretical analysis and reviews.

– Requires some investment of time/resources but pays dividends long-term.


Map Current Workflows

– Visually diagram existing project lifecycle steps end-to-end.

– Note integration points across departments revealed.

– Identify key inputs, hand offs and stakeholders for each phase.

– Overlay planned optimization from new PM solution.

– Useful baseline for measuring process changes realised.

Define Cross-Functional Requirements

– Create feature list spanning all departments’ needs.

– Prioritize must-have versus nice-to-have capabilities.

– Set minimum integration thresholds aligned to work sequence mapping.

– Structure platform assessment scoring accordingly.

– May require managing conflicting interests between groups.

Incentivize Desired Behaviors

– Encourage cross-departmental idea exchanges through recognition programs.

– Reward participation in prototype evaluations and solution pilots.

– Set project metrics emphasizing enterprise key results over local optimization.

– Creates positive reinforcement for breaking down silos.

– Culture and behavior shifts tend to lag hard process/technology changes.

Next Steps

Deeper Current State Analysis

– Quantify costs of existing coordination friction across project hand offs.

– Determine specific barriers embedded slowing project throughput velocity.

– Estimate potential faster time-to-market value with silo reduction.

– Further motivates urgency for change, focuses priorities.

– Time consuming to gather accurate baseline metrics.

Ongoing Cross-Department Synchronization

– Keep steering committee live for continuous improvement once platform choice made.

– Regular reviews to address new issues arising post implementation.

– Evaluate project trends leveraging holistic metrics defined previously.

– Provides forum for early course correction.

– Risk of losing momentum over longer term without clear charter.

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