Planview PPM Pro Review

Helped to reduce project delays but it should have the ability to integrate tasks with Microsoft Outlook

What is our primary use case?

We use PPM Pro for our PMO office for projects that are over a hundred hours externally, $20,000 external budget, or big projects like our SD-WAN rollout. I have a project plan that has 876 tasks.

How has it helped my organization?

PPM Pro is forcing us to put everything in one place because everything was SharePoint, Excel, Microsoft project. We have a Projectplace and we have LeanKit, so we're trying to set boundaries around what goes into LeanKit versus what goes into Planview. Projectplace was bought by our marketing department. I don't even know what they're doing with it, but at some point, it's going to force us to assess how they're using it. I don't want three tools. I either want an Agile tool or I want the full PPM Pro. It's forcing us to grow up.

We're getting to the point where it provides managers with the insight that they need to empower decision making. We have portfolios set up and we're recording our first executive report soon.

It has helped to reduce project delays because we had some issues at one of our rollouts and had to back out. I was able to because of the way I had my tasks set up and predecessors, I was able to easily move out the dates without having to do a lot of changes. It's been reduced project delays by at least 25%.

What is most valuable?

I liked the dashboards because I need to report out on tasks completed in the last two weeks, tasks scheduled for the next two weeks, what the risks and health are. What I've been able to do is create reports based on that and then put those reports into a dashboard. The old reporting was clunky, but the beta reports got better. But then I couldn't add the beta reports to the dashboards so now they released the new beta dashboards and it works great. It does everything I need to do.

PPM Pro enables us to create reusable project templates that reflect our project management lifecycle. I manage most of the ServiceNow projects. I have a ServiceNow template. We buy a lot of companies so anytime I bring on a new company, I just put in the ServiceNow template and I know every task I need to do to accurately onboard that company.

It doesn't take terribly long in PPM Pro to create a project but if I don't know the tasks, that's the longest part. Building tasks is the longest part.

I had a little confusion with how the licensing worked for building a team within a project. I was giving everybody a full license, but our administrator gave us a sit-down and said we can't give everybody a full license, we had to give them a timesheet license.

I personally haven't used the time tracking. We're not that mature yet. Our PMO just started in March, so we've had to develop a charter, recruit the members, make sure we know what the CEO expects from us. We've been managing projects at the same time building the organization so we haven't really gotten into the time management or the resource feature yet.

Its ability for viewing projects and timelines is pretty good. I have no complaints about the Gantt view or anything.

It has helped us to increase the number of projects in my organization by 50%. We actually have an intake process in ServiceNow that if you want to request a project, you have to request it in ServiceNow. It notifies the PMO team. We review it and either approve or reject it. If it's approved, then it goes to our steering committee and every two weeks the steering committee assesses which projects we're going to take.

What needs improvement?

My gripe was with the dashboards and Planview fixed that so I'm happy with it. 

I would like to schedule reports. I would like to be able to schedule a report and every Monday it sends that report to these people. That circumvents having to give them a license. It's just a way of saying "Okay, this is what's going on this week," and it just happens. I don't have to worry about it.

The only complaint that I have about the test management features is that I would like to be able to copy and paste as you can in Excel or Project. That's the hardest thing for me. I know how to do it now, but I just really want to do control C, control V. The other thing I'm looking for, which I haven't found from any of the sponsors is that I want to integrate the tasks with Microsoft Outlook. Because right now, I have to open up my task list, and then I have to add it to my calendar. I would be really interested in a way to integrate your tasks with your calendar.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't noticed any issues with stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From a scalability point of view, it's not so much the platform as the cost of the license that is limiting. 

We have close to 200 users. Some of the users are global service, delivery manager, project managers, finance, we have a service desk, infrastructure team, and networking team. 

There are roughly 20,000 people in the organization and we have roughly 200 people on the tool. That demonstrates the scope of who's using it. It's mostly folks at our corporate office and IT folks at two of our other companies. Carlisle is made up of four divisions and each division has multiple companies under it. It's a company of companies.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't contacted technical support but the admin has. Support has been responsive and knowledgeable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used Microsoft Solutions like MS Project or MS Planner and Teams. With those tools, you have the ability to add it to your calendar. I think that's the one thing that's missing from PPM Pro.

From the portfolio standpoint, Microsoft isn't as good. It's easy from a Planview perspective. You go in and you can either do it from the project level or you could do it from the portfolio level. It goes both ways. It's pretty easy and you can do bulk edits and bulk deletes. It's pretty flexible.

Projectplace was used by our marketing team. I know some folks were using MS Project, some people were using SharePoint, some people were using Planner, and some people were using Excel. They're being phased out now.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't part of the team when they implemented but I don't think the seup took a long time. They started it back in December and then I joined in March. By the time I joined it was up and running.

What about the implementation team?

My company worked with Planview for the deployment. Two staff were involved from our end. 

We only have one person for management and they elected me to be her backup. I'm an IT project manager. 

What was our ROI?

We are able to clearly project the number of dollars that the PML is responsible for and we'd never had visibility into that before.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Bulk volume discounts are a little better. Right now we have to buy in lots of 20 at $200 a license. That's a little steep. For example, with ServiceNow, I pay $48 a seat for a license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Planview, ServiceNow, Microsoft were the three contenders.

The Gartner Quadrant is always a factor and price is a factor. But the fact that our marketing team went out and bought Projectplace on their own, it drove the company in that direction. We weren't going to win any battles getting them onto something else.

Everyone has their advantages and disadvantages. Within this project, the copy and paste feature and being able to link it to our calendar was their forte. ServiceNow, you could easily build dashboards and schedule reports. To me, that was their forte. With Planview, the portfolio was the best out of the three. It was a toss-up for me, but now that I'm on it and they're making changes to the dashboards, that was one biggest thing.

What other advice do I have?

Always try stuff in the sandbox before you try it in production.

My advice would be to definitely have a charter built. You need to know their processes before they start using the tool. Don't think of the tool as a way to build your internal processes. Have your processes in place before you start using the tool. The reason I say that is because we had people creating a business sponsor when it should have been a project manager. Then, we had project managers that really should have been team members. We had a lot of cleanups to deal with after we got everything in there. I helped document how projects should be entered, how fast should we set up the naming scheme for things. We had a lot of back and forth about what the costs were and how to get the cost onto the portfolio. Know what you want to get out of the tool and know your processes before you put anything into it.

I would rate PPM Pro a seven out of ten because of the little glitches that can be worked out like the copy and paste feature and scheduling reports to run and adding it to the calendar.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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