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myProjects: a P3M software solution using customisation to drive success

By 2028, the global project portfolio management (PPM) market is expected to be worth a whopping $11.4 billion, with almost 90 percent of organisations adopting at least one project management office (PMO). Yet, many organisations still lack the ability to track KPIs in real time. 

Here’s how organisations can maintain commercial competency, outperform competitors, and avoid the risks of wasted time, resources, and money.

25 October 2023
James Gledhill

Australia

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Customisation of P3M tools is a competitive advantage

When the Gantt chart was first introduced in 1917, it revolutionised project management. Despite tasks and project timelines being recorded on paper, it allowed teams to keep projects on budget, and on time. Large construction projects like the Hoover Dam, which is situated in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border between the US states of Nevada and Arizona, was delivered using the Gantt chart. 

Over 100 years on, with the advent of computers and the advance of technology, more and more project management tools have entered the market. In fact, the project portfolio management (PPM) or project, program, and portfolio management (P3M) market is booming right now. 

However, although we’re living through the heyday of project management systems, we also know that most organisations are still using a mixture of Excel spreadsheets and disparate tools and systems, often more than one, and they don’t always integrate with one another. 

This puts organisations at risk. 

According to the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession 2020 report, 11.4 percent of investment is wasted due to poor project performance. That same report identifies choosing the right technologies to invest in as one of the top three most important factors to achieve success in the future.

Good project management undoubtedly holds the key to the delivery of successful results and gaining a competitive edge. To achieve this, organisations need to prioritise and invest in bespoke P3M technologies that align with their own values, mission, and PMO governance. 

Why organisations need a P3M solution

What we’re seeing across project teams is a tendency to be stuck using legacy systems such as Excel spreadsheets. In some cases, they’re also using a combination of Excel and internal systems such as SAP to automate processes and compliance management. However, when you have hundreds of projects on the go, and each project team is managing their own progression, it’s impossible to access real-time analytics – and have one single source of truth.

The clutter and chaos of multiple systems means, teams can’t be responsive and make decisions fast, when they need to. It also compromises reporting deliverables. For instance, it’s not uncommon that when a person leaves a company, the remaining project team members are left scrabbling to track down where the important project and program details reside, or which milestones are yet to be reached.

Without a single-source-of-truth, project managers can get seriously stuck in the weeds, and while they try to untangle themselves from the mess, their project can run into cost and time blow-outs, scope creep, and a failure to deliver a return on investment. Right now, one in three project managers are spending more days manually collating project reports, which is taking away valuable time that could be spent on actually managing their project.   

Instead, an P3M solution equips teams with the right capabilities and enables better visibility of risks and issues, and more control of project pipelines. It breaks down organisational silos; and an inclination to work by tunnel vision. So, there is real oversight at a project, program, and portfolio level. Without it, executive teams lack transparency; and are left devoid of real time updates of how projects are tracking, which is vital for them to make strategic plans that will have an impact.  

Organisations that don’t adopt an P3M system now are also starring down the barrel of being left behind for the next big transformation: the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Over the next 5 years, we’re expecting a massive shift towards the use of AI in the project, program, and portfolio management sector, which has already begun. By consolidating systems now, and moving to a central database, companies will be able to leverage machine learning to crunch historical data. This will allow them to make better business decisions in the future.

Limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach: the need for P3M customisation

Right now, a one in four organisations have turned to PPM tools to consolidate project information. We’ve also seen the uptake of task management software such as Monday.com, Wrike, Asana, Smartsheet, and Zoho. These systems are often tied to a monthly fee and promise to reign-in the chaos and disparities, align stakeholders, and support projects to deliver on business goals. However, the main limitation of these sorts of technologies is a one-size-fits-all approach. 

While these tools offer features such as cross-departmental collaboration, the ability to assess project risks, process optimisation, and limited process customisation, as with any off-the-shelf solution they’re not tailored to specific organisational needs. For ultimate project success, especially when there are high levels of complexity involved, project software solutions need to be more than just tools that spout out notifications, or ping someone when a task is due. 

It's important that P3M software solutions align with organisational PMO policies and critical areas of project management such as governance, prioritisation, and risk management. PMO teams sometimes spend years putting together an explicit strategy, and they don’t want to retrofit their project plans to suit an inflexible tool or be dictated on how to manage their own projects. 

For instance, if you’re working with a large and complex organisation like the Department of Education, their PMO team have defined processes and approaches on how projects need to be managed. An off-the-shelf software solution, which has been produced for the mass market, will not meet all their unique needs; the existing software features may be underutilised, or it may lack vital features which the department requires.     

An empty board room with a screen at the end showcasing the myProjects software solution capability
myProjects demonstration

The pitfalls of not choosing a tailor-made P3M software system

Choosing a cookie-cutter system, instead of custom solution can be costly. When RPS works with clients, early audits show us that they are using different types of task management applications across their various teams, and ultimately paying more than one licensing fee. 

While each system shared similar features, each also had different functionalities which meant teams were having to jump in and out of systems, adding unnecessary complexity and sometimes confusion. From a user experience perspective this can have a huge impact on workflow, accuracy, and outcomes.  

Having one unified system is not only user friendly, but vital for change management. This became most obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic when organisations had to adapt to new policies swiftly. At RPS we were able to build safety parameters around the coronavirus at pace; specifically designed for our clients, using our proprietary software, myProjects. However, if you were relying on off-the-shelf software, you had a choice of generic Safety modules, which is less than ideal, as no two organisations are alike. 

Having a bespoke solution that can adapt and be more agile; responding to new frameworks as they come into the mix, allows organisations the flexibility to make necessary changes with the click of a button. Customisation means organisations shape the results they want to see.   

myProjects: a P3M system that’s tailor-made

myProjects is RPS’ proprietary P3M system that is made by project managers, for project managers. Typically, software solutions are created by IT companies, yet we’re a consulting business with project management at our heart. This gives us a significant advantage: we speak the language of project managers. 

We have a whole team that defines how projects need to be managed, based on best-practice, and aligned with legislation and ISO compliance. As part of this, we’ll sit down with clients through a series of workshops and create bespoke modules for managing risks that are specific to them. And because we’re fluent in project management lingo, we know what our clients mean when they say such things like, ‘we’ve got a five-by-five criteria’ – and we know how to respond to their unique pain points.  

We also have an in-house development team that brings our clients’ P3M software vision to life, using a one code approach; with customisable features that can be toggled on and off, depending on the need. 

So that our clients get the latest and greatest features, we release a software update every two weeks. This means, in less than 5 years’ time when AI has taken off, they are prepared for what innovations lie ahead, and aren’t caught standing still. We’re always thinking, adapting, and responding to stay ahead of the game – and to be at the forefront of advances.   

As a highly adaptive P3M solution that’s suited to large scale complex programs, myProjects has already been adopted by clients with specific compliance and security requirements such as The Department of Education, the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, The Department of Defence, and the Northern Territory Government. It allows these clients to apply their own PMO governance principles, taking the complexity out of reporting and governance.

Right now, we’ve got up to 7,000 projects running out of the myProjects system, collectively worth around $7 billion. And our clients aren’t just residing on our Australian shores, we’re working with teams in the UK and US as well, with our sights set firmly on the global market.  

Built on universal project management foundations, and delivered worldwide

When the US based Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organisation (CAMPO) approached RPS, they needed to streamline their processes within the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and get access to real time reporting. 

CAMPO is responsible for coordinating regional transportation planning in the Austin, Texas area within North America, and serves communities across several counties and cities. The role CAMPO plays is to operate like a government body, and their clients or sponsors, include the likes of the capital of Texas, the City of Austin, which is known for its eclectic live-music scene. 

To allow for seamless integration of myProjects with CAMPO’s established protocols and workflows, we identified specific pain points. It’s critical to discover the objectives of an organisation before the appropriate P3M solution is selected.  

So, before we created tailor-made software features and functionalities for CAMPO we investigated. What we found was they were managing multiple projects in Excel spreadsheets. They were also sending online forms to sponsors to manage processes, which was resulting in some challenges. It could be a chaotic experience, which didn’t curry favour with the sponsors.  

Using the myProjects governance module, we created a bespoke solution that turned CAMPO off Excel and consolidated all their data. While we replicated the exact framework of how they needed to manage projects, we still transformed the way CAMPO works. One of the key changes we made was to introduce automation to certain tasks; and took them away from old, time-wasting administrative processes.  

Project Director using P3M myProjects software solution

A P3M system that keeps you informed and in control

Investing in the right P3M solution requires detailed investigation and executive support. After all, it’s a commitment of real dollars. It also introduces change into the organisation, and therefore likely to cause resistance or disruption in the transition phases. 

At RPS, we take the time to understand what the top three challenges are across project teams, so we can deliver a product that is user friendly and gets results. In fact, when we built myProjects we ran weekly subject matter sessions with experts across different sectors; from private enterprises to government departments, to really understand the persistent problems that were being faced. 

For a P3M solution to be successful, project managers should want to use the product. So, change management should be a breeze. To make this happen, there’s just one simple answer: customisation.   

We know that the uptake of P3M software is low right now. Only one in four organisations use any kind of project management software. Yet, organisations that invest in proven project management practices waste 28 times less money. 

An innovative P3M solution like myProjects can be deployed in a matter of weeks. Using its smarts, organisations can gather crucial insights that will stamp out inaccurate decision-making, stop project delays in its tracks, and avoid cost blowouts. For public facing organisations, it will also help navigate the rough waters of community scrutiny.   

Bringing intelligence to P3M

A flexible, integrated, and secure system that goes beyond the constraints of standardised approaches doesn’t have to be complex. At RPS, one of our core pillars is making complex, easy and we bring that intelligence to myProjects. 

To say ahead of the curb, in a multiprogram environment, myProjects makes dollars and sense.

Learn about myProjects

Find out more
  • Two construction workers wearing hard hats look at a plan, one is female and one is male

    "The development team at RPS made our transition to myProjects seamless and stress free."

  • Female hands holding a project management technology tools with data displayed on screen.

    "There is an amazing calm across the team as they now have what they need at their fingertips, no more guessing where projects are at."

  • Construction project manager with site workers.jpg

    "I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of Project Managers who have adapted to myProjects so quickly."

  • Woman using phone while waiting on railway platform

    "There is an amazing calm across the team as they now have what they need at their fingertips, no more guessing where projects are at."

  • Project Director using P3M myProjects software solution

    "My Project Directors are more in control of their regions and have a clearer view of their projects."

  • Woman in industry wearing hardhat and safety glasses

    "Our monthly reporting regime has been streamlined and is now very efficient."

  • Two construction workers wearing hard hats look at a plan, one is female and one is male
  • Female hands holding a project management technology tools with data displayed on screen.
  • Construction project manager with site workers.jpg
  • Woman using phone while waiting on railway platform
  • Project Director using P3M myProjects software solution
  • Woman in industry wearing hardhat and safety glasses