Brainstorm Risks, Learn to be Honest and 8 Other Tips for Better Project Management

IT Chiefs Explain: Proper Project Portfolio Management Boosts Project Success Rate 6.5x

In a recent webinar hosted by, IT chiefs from several organizations explained that moving up the IT Maturity model significantly improves the success rate of IT projects. 

Moving project management out of spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents to specially designed project management software brings efficiencies and improves overall results in time-to-completion and implementation success of IT projects. And, there are even greater benefits when service management and project management are brought together on a single platform. Doing so, the leaders said, makes it easier to see all of an agency’s or department’s assignments to make better use of resources across multiple projects.

Frederick County

Rick Little, the manager of application services for IT in Frederick County, Maryland, explained how his department gained management efficiencies for the large number of projects on his docket. “We had been managing projects with Microsoft Word before moving to a specialized software platform. With TeamDynamix we can score a project to see how complex it is and how difficult it will be. We can’t do that with a Word document.” Read more about Frederick County here.

This project “score” gives Little and his IT managers data to better allocate their resources. Like most government agencies funded by taxpayers, their fixed budget means it is difficult to add staff. And, with fixed personnel numbers, resource optimization is the difference between success and failure. TeamDynamix, Little says, let’s his team monitor any project impact on labor, outcomes, and goals. They can spot potential overruns before they occur and then make adjustments to keep the project on schedule. 

Denver Public Schools

Denver Public School service strategy and design manager, Kristen Stevenson, echoed Little’s comments. “When we moved our projects from spreadsheets to TeamDynamix software, we could see resource conflicts at a glance. Now we can see how many projects we can take on. With spreadsheets, we couldn’t do that.”

Stevenson went on to say that, in a school district, the staff are mostly full time so it’s not about allocating the staff cost per project, but more about allocating staff as resources across multiple projects. This is a difficult, sometimes overwhelming, task when each project is tracked in an independent spreadsheet. When an organization gets more sophisticated in its management—moving away from static spreadsheets for single projects up to dedicated project portfolio management software—this is known as moving up the project management maturity model.

For example, tracking projects with office documents or sticky-notes on a whiteboard is level one on the maturity model. There is no interconnection and any summaries must be generated by hand. Using specialized software to manage multiple projects and resources reaches level five when the software fully integrates all the parts needed to successfully manage multiple projects, not isolated ones. 

There are significant benefits to moving up the ladder. Studies show that when an organization adopts a more mature model, they are 6.5 times more likely to have successful projects and are 200 percent more likely to deliver projects on time and on budget. 

Furthermore, the feedback and monitoring capabilities bring additional benefits. Global patterns emerge including those of failure and of success, so the organization learns from past projects. Stakeholders benefit from having project transparency helping them to take action in project coordination. And, a project’s health is always immediately visible so adjustments can be made before a project goes off track.

Road Scholar

Krista Buckland Reisner, the IT project management at Road Scholar said the higher level of management oversight is more conducive to committee decision-making, a situation encountered in government agencies as well as corporations. “Project transparency and easy visibility into resources supports better decision-making with a smarter scope,” she said.

“Being smarter” means that tickets—which can become projects, and projects which can become tickets—are fully transparent to the tech support team at any time. Only an integrated service and project management platform can do this and when properly used, pushes an agency to the top rung of project management maturity. 

Learn more about the project management maturity model here.

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