Planview PPM Pro Review

Stable, visual tool that helps guide people through projects

What is our primary use case?

We're a very small company that, in the past, did not have any project management at all. We're at a very low maturity level for portfolio and project management.

I was brought in to the company establish a project management office, increase efficiencies and improve our culture to think about ways of managing projects that the company had never done before. Part of that was bringing in tools to help us gain visibility into our project portfolio, which they never had. When I joined, the first thing I did was I started gathering the number of projects out there in the company and discovered there was about 151.

Our company is client-service based, but we have a lot of internal projects to meet client demands. While our projects aren't client-facing for the most part, they do bolster what we provide to the client. We have mostly IT-based projects, but we do have a variety including some finance-based projects. And just like any other company, we also have "keep the lights on projects".  Generally, we are mostly focused on IT, Security and Compliance. We're a legal industry based company, so compliance and regulatory items are really important to us. That's the bulk of our project base.

I am using the most current version on Planview PPM Pro.

How has it helped my organization?

Visibility into our portfolio is critical. We had no idea there were 151 projects going on. Having that visibility has allowed us to say, "Wow, how can we possibly be doing a 151 projects with 200 people in the company and with what kind of quality?"   Slowly, we are building a more critical eye.  Currently, we are designing an intake process using PPM Pro to evaluate new projects requests and comparing new projects against what we've already got in the portfolio to make better decisions and priority calls. That's something we never had before. 

We're at such a low maturity gathering projects was a big effort and eye-opener. One of the next steps we'll undertake is tying projects into budgets. We haven't gotten that far yet.

We are also starting to think about how projects are tied to our strategy. We're adding fields in PPM Pro to capture data important to us in order to gain visibility into whether we're meeting our strategic goals. So, we're getting there in baby steps.

What is most valuable?

PPM Pro gives us the traditional more rigorous side of project management with governance aligning with our processes. We expect certain deliverables and Planview allows us to track that, along with having metrics and insights into our resources so we can better manage those. The Projectplace side of the tool gives us the flexibility to use Kanban and be more agile-like without everyone having to know what agile is. Teams can setup their workspaces they way they want and it's really easy for them to see and interact with their tasks on a board. All they have to do is simply move, drag and drop, them across the board. They don't have to understand the concept behind it. This makes it easy for them to do their work. It's also a nice visual tool. We have the benefit of the rigor when the projects require it and the benefit of visual aids to help guide our people through projects.

Reporting flexibility is important and having the ability to create dashboards in PPM Pro for reporting to our leadership is very valuable.  Inevitably, behind all the project rigor you have to report out, and I love that part of the tool. It's really easy. It's a lot easier than it was in the past to build reports. Having that flexibility to build several reports, then create a dashboard and publish that on a regular basis to our leadership team is a very valuable and saves a lot of time. That's one of the best features for me as a PMO leader. That time savings means a lot, so I only have to concentrate on it once a month. For me, looking at the dashboard rather than having to be in the projects every single day is time saving, because I know when I'm making updates, that's going to roll up to my dashboard.

What needs improvement?

I did participate in the Spigit innovation challenge.  My recommendations for improvement are:

  1. Being able to promote from the sandbox into production any changes, otherwise you're redoing all of your work. 
  2. Imitating users: I want see exactly what they see when they have an issue. 

Those are the two big things for me.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. That's another reason why I kept going back to it when I was comparing PPM Pro with other solutions. Having worked with it in the past before joining this company to seeing how it's evolved, I know that it's stable. I've used the features in the past, and those features are still available and they are more robust. They keep enhancing the platform and adding on other tools, like Projectplace and LeanKit. It's a very stable tool, and I love it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable because PPM Pro is mid-tier. For us being so small and low maturity, we've got plenty of room to grow. Once we reached a certain stage, which may be years away, we can evolve to Enterprise One if we need to, but we might not need to. So, for us, it's very scalable. It's already grown with us as we've taken the baby steps to get through identifying our portfolio.

Now, building on the intake, it's definitely enabling us to build as we go. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I've only used technical support a little bit when we were first implementing, but I've always had a really positive experience. The customer support team is very responsive. I can't say anything negative about them.

Scott Secora has been an awesome account manager. Out of everybody that I've worked with, he's been very helpful and responsive. Whenever I've had a question, he's always followed up on it. No matter how long I have or have not talked to him, he makes me feel like we're still important, even though we're a small customer in a big pond of customers.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. I consider myself pretty technical. I've been in the IT area for a while. Since it's cloud-based, just knowing the URL and and logging in is the big thing. We enabled SSO, so I worked with our internal security and IT team with the Planview technical team to get that enabled and they helped test that. I thought that went really smoothly. Also, configuring the fields and doing the configuration, I did that myself. I didn't engage our IT team or any other team, so it's pretty intuitive to use. 

I love the help information online. That's the first place I go if I get stuck, then if I'm really stuck I will reach out to technical support. But, I think everything is pretty solvable by going through the knowledge base.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented the tool. Then, when I encountered little bobbles here and there that I didn't understand, such as a field or customization, I would reach out to the technical team. They were always right on it.

What was our ROI?

We have our entire portfolio and all our projects in the tool. Now, all of our projects are getting updated online in the cloud in one central location. We have information on projects more readily available. We can look at the status and target dates at any time. Right now a lot of the teams are not using the task or the schedule planning portion of it, but it's huge for us having visibility into projects and status. We've been adding nuances to start breaking out the type of project and investment that it represents for the company, for example:

  • Is it IT initiated? 
  • Is it compliance initiated? 
  • Is it strategic enablement? 

We're starting to drill to our projects more, and that's been very valuable. As we do that, our dashboard changes and our leadership sees the new view/stats. They can see us growing and evolving. It's pretty awesome.

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

We have about 50 PPM Pro user licenses. We have eight stakeholder licenses and 10 full user/ resource manager licenses, and 32 team member licenses in PPM Pro. We also have 60 Projectplace licenses. That runs us about $37,000 to $38,000 annually.

The team users are about $480 per user, per year. The full user licenses are $900 or $950 per user, per year. The stakeholder licenses were $60 per user, per year. We don't have any requests users at this time, but we have not instituted our intake process yet. However, request users don't cost an additional license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated Wrike, Workfront, Workzone, and one other vendor along with Planview.

I have worked with Planview in the past and kept going back to the Planview product because it had the most features and flexibility. We are able to use PPM Pro or Projectplace because our teams and departments aren't comprised of typical project management teams. 

They're what I call accidental project managers. They don't get the concepts behind the methodology, but they know that they need something to help them with their work. We leverage the Projectplace side of the tool for our clients services teams. Then, for our larger projects such as, IT, Security, Legal and Compliance projects, we use the PPM Pro side. This allows us a lot of flexibility that we wouldn't have had with another tool.

What other advice do I have?

Talk to other customers who are similar to you but also outside of your industry to get insights. I think it's very valuable. Come to a Horizons conference in advance. I did that before we made our final decision. I came to Horizons and sat in on the sessions. I talked with various people and that really helped me determine that Planview was the right tool for us. 

If you are looking for team collaboration, it's really more the Projectplace portion of the tool, and for us it's in its infancy right now. I don't really see a lot of people comfortable yet using the tools in there to post comments, notes, etc. However, it's a big change for the company. I'm excited that they're using the tool, starting with the Kanban board. I think adoption with that collaboration side will grow, but right now I'm not really seeing it.

Since we don't do development, we don't use the Lean/Agile delivery tools.

I'd love to give it a 10 out of 10, but I always think that everything can be approved on. So, I'm going to say nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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