The Simplicity Effect of PPM 2.0

“A fascinating trend is consuming Silicon Valley and beginning to eat away at rest of the world: the radical simplification of everything.”

PPM vendors would be wise to take notice of this article by Fast Company. Portfolio management is not rocket science, yet many of the software offerings on the market can be difficult to use. Unfortunately, very few of the vendors have a user experience in place that matches the current expectation of software. As this article points out, this leaves the door open for better vendors to come in. There were several noteworthy quotes which I will share below:

“Ultimately, any market that doesn’t have a leader in simplicity soon will”

“If you’re not the simplest solution, you’re the target of one”

“Any product with an interface that slows people down is ripe for extinction”

A related article by the NY Times, stated that design now rivals technology in importance. These articles highlight the shift that is taking place with technology and software. Merely having the best technology or the most functionality is no longer good enough; design is critical. More specifically, user experience is critical for new software going forward. Unfortunately, for the current portfolio management vendors, this means some expensive re-designs of existing systems.

User experience is a key component of PPM 2.0. Companies need solutions that are easy to use and will garner strong user adoption. I know from extensive first-hand experience with one of the “leaders” in the portfolio management space, that being a “leader” means nothing, delivering useful solutions means everything. Powerful solutions need to  be simple. Simplicity is important because without it, user adoption suffers and the benefits of portfolio management decline. Many of today’s “leaders” led the charge as part of PPM 1.0. However, with the emergence of cloud, mobile, and social, PPM 2.0 promises even more value with easier to use solutions.

Tim Washington
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Tim Washington

I am an Associate at Point B consulting with a professional goal of making companies successful with project portfolio management. My personal approach is to right-size portfolio management processes to fit an organization's culture and maturity to be effective without creating a bureaucracy. Please contact me if you would like to know more about how project portfolio management (PPM) can help your organization achieve its strategic goals.

2 thoughts to “The Simplicity Effect of PPM 2.0”

  1. So true. I am in the midst of a PPM rollout using a leading PPM vendor product and the biggest challenge for us to adoption is….? Yes, usability. The user experience. It is rare we come across a problem that is technical or due to lack of functionality. Our challenges are that there are too many clicks to get to what you need to see, too many windows to pop up and cancel out of to get the full picture and hover bubbles that don’t give you the relevant information. As some of our user base has commented – the product is “overwhelming”.

    We are now spending more time on refresher training, one on one user support and help/how to support than we did on configuring the product. So I whole heartedly agree with Tim’s comments….PPM vendors listen up – your functionality is great, now time to focus on the user experience!

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