Planview PPM Pro Review

Easy to get to data in the system when doing searches with custom filters

What is our primary use case?

We use PPM Pro within our IT department to manage enhancement requests that are small, medium, and large.

How has it helped my organization?

Our request process for how our users request enhancements from IT has been the driver for us. We have a lot of people coming in to request enhancements who are using Planview and we customize those fields as we see fit. For example, if you're in a pandemic, you need to track different things on those requests. It's easy to add those fields to build a report on those fields which has been a nice feature for us.

PPM Pro provides managers the insight they need to empower decision-making. The data is always in the tool. It's just making sure people are using it correctly. We track the requests as they come in. We track our demand by each of our teams within IT and then estimate that effort so that we can see if we are getting a lot of requests to certain teams. We check the demand versus capacity as those items come in. Then as we plan out the coming year, we're doing a lot of that demand versus capacity and also looking back at historical data. We check how many hours it took us the last time we did something similar. That's where the tool has been helpful for us.

It has also helped us to reduce project delays. I wasn't here before the tool. When I came on, the tool had already been in place, but I think our utilization of the tool has changed a bit. I think it will be changing again based on the enhancements that are coming out as well. Overall, we've seen some improvement and I think we'll see more.

What is most valuable?

I really enjoy how easy it is to get to data in the system like when doing searches with custom filters. EasyBuild reports are one of the best features, it gets what people want to look for.

We have several templates that we use in the system depending on the type of projects that we have. That really quickens the pace of getting tasks set up for a project.

It only takes minutes to set up a project in PPM Pro. We use the templates and then just put in the details for it, so it doesn't take too long to set it up.

The process for building teams within a project goes pretty smoothly. I find it pretty easy to use. You can build your team at different levels, either at the overall project level or by building it up through the task level. It has good flexibility.

This flexibility really does help our project management process because every project is unique and we have different kinds of project processes or techniques that we use and the way we structure the project may be different. It's nice to have that flexibility in the tool to be able to handle that.

Overall, its time-tracking abilities are good. One of the things we've looked at is potentially Projectplace to help out our users with their timesheets. It would be nice to be able to track more while we're in the work rather than having to go to a separate timesheet. From a timesheet perspective, it works fine.

PPM Pro is good for viewing projects and timelines. Some of the items that they're working on will make that even better and I know those are hopefully coming out in the near future. The whole timeline view and the ability to select and show what you want to have on a timeline will be a really nice visual component for showing a project.

What needs improvement?

Reporting and dashboards need improvement. I know they're doing a major revamp of that. We're really looking forward to that because that's something that is really being requested by our customers to give them better visibility, reporting, and dashboards that are easier to understand. 

They're looking at moving the spreadsheet editor into other areas of the system. Those have been key updates. They're not available on all the screens yet and all the locations of the system but that will be a nice add-on when they get that because we can have one screen, but when we go to the next screen, that won't have the same editor.

It hasn't increased the number of projects in our organization because that's more based on the demand of our customers internally, rather than the tool. It really hasn't changed our throughput overall with projects.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using PPM Pro for over four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, we've had very few reportable issues on PPM Pro so we've only had to submit a few tickets. I usually submit the tickets within Planview, so I know personally that we've only had to submit a few over the last couple of years and that speaks to the stability quite a bit.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's definitely very scalable. We've seen growth in our business. I know we've seen a lot more users using it for requests. As our governance structure has changed over the last couple of years, we've used it quite differently and scaled it to a lot of different users and a lot of different uses. It's done just fine.

We have our request users who are submitting requests for enhancement-type items. There are over 6,000 request users. Then for full users, these would be folks who are doing more than just requests, they might be tracking time, working in this system, providing updates, or doing approvals. For those types of things, we have over 250 users.

For maintenance, we have several of our project managers, including myself, that are administrators of the system.

PPM Pro is being used quite broadly in our IT department and for requests coming into our IT department. We use it for all of our enhancements as well as projects. It has a 100% adoption rate. We have to use it. That is our IT tool for tracking time and handling new requests. We use it all the time with IT.

How are customer service and technical support?

What we've used of their technical support has been good. We hit some technical issues with an API that we utilize and we got the right people on the phone with us to work through it and get it resolved. Overall, we've had a good experience with their technical support.

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

I've used MS Project at previous employers. Compared to Microsoft Project, PPM Pro is quite a bit different. We used Project previously just as a standalone to build a project, put in our tasks, do our work breakdown structure, and that was it. We didn't use it for a server or enterprise base where we did any capacity, demand planning, or intake like we did in PPM Pro. We do enjoy that functionality, that there's a lot more going on in PPM Pro and a lot more use cases that we can use it for. It's served us well, and we're looking forward to seeing what else we can do with it.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in our initial setup. We are moving to the new request process, which is a pretty major revamp for us and I am involved in that. That work is currently underway.

For the revamp, we have a lot of historical data and custom fields in the system, so there's a little bit more thought process we have to do around what we set up in the new request process and then how we migrate or what data we migrate over to that new process. And then also communicating that out to our request users, which we have a couple of thousand of, and making sure that they're aware of the updates that we're doing to it. I'd say it's a little bit complex just moving into the revamp, but I think overall the help we've gotten from Planview has been really helpful in mitigating some of that.

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

I'm really not familiar with the pricing structure that we have. We do like the fact that we have all those requests users for the licensing. Our default for our users across the enterprise is to set them up as request users so that anybody can submit a request to IT. The fact that those requests users are a free license is definitely a key item for us.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to have multiple administrators involved in your teams. Learn about the capabilities of the tools so you use it to its fullest. Involve other areas in developing those processes and procedures around it so you can get buy-in and utilization.

Solutions always have a lot of capability. It's really how you use the solution and then how you show the value to the main users of the solution as well, so that they have that buy-in and that they're not working around the system, but rather working in the system. That gives you the best data for tracking, and it gives you the best utilization and reporting capability across the board if you have that buy-in and utilization.

I would rate PPM Pro an eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

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

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