What is our primary use case?
We were looking to centralize our project management practices, specifically within the IT organization for those that we manage on behalf of the college. We had been using various different tools and it was difficult to get an idea of the resource usage across all of the various projects. This tool has allowed us to have a central source of truth with respect to resources on projects, the status of those projects, and kind of implement our methodology in a centralized fashion.
How has it helped my organization?
For resource managers, it's given them the ability to see when they have staff that is over-committed. Rather than react, we can work to mitigate that before the overcommitment actually happens, as in cases where somebody has a deliverable that's in conflict with something else.
With respect to the integrated product portfolio transforming our strategy, I think that this solution has helped us to achieve what our institutional needs are. I think that we're still working on that transformation journey. It's created a platform for centralized management of these initiatives versus disparate data and a lot of manual work to pull it together. I can have a dashboard that provides that information at a moment's notice.
With respect to the integrated product portfolio transforming our delivery, I wouldn't say that this has happened yet because we are not a centralized PMO, institutionally. We have a small portion of project management within the IT organization, but I would suspect that as people who we work with can spread the word about what we're doing, that may take foot elsewhere in the organization.
I think that we have better collaboration, but not necessarily with PPM Pro. We are integrated with another tool that gives teams the ability to work collaboratively and see the progress of work.
We have not yet implemented the Lean/Agile Delivery tools.
We are not yet at the level where this solution helps us connect funding and strategic outcomes with work execution.
The biggest impact that using Planview has had is that it has created a centralized platform that allows us to better position resource allocation and alignment, rather than relying on people to tell us that they can meet a deadline.
We use PPM Pro with Projectplace, which has been a game-changer for us. Now that real-time integration is in place, it allows our team members to communicate their progress much more in real-time. It's been a change management process where project managers have been soliciting people for where things are at. As people are getting used to working with the tool and finding its ease of use, they're in there everyday updating where their tasks are. So, we're seeing that people are using the tool as it really was intended.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature of this solution is that my team can use one tool that's reliable, scalable, and provides the leadership team visibility to what's going on.
This is a flexible solution. We've had some bumps in the road with some of the product integrations, but overall I think the tool allows us to maximize our business process. We were able to leverage custom fields so that we could capture the data that was specific to our institution. Being in higher education, we have some unique situations that corporate Fortune 500 companies don't have. I think that the level of flexibility was integral in our choice with this tool. The reporting and the dashboarding capabilities have been really, really helpful.
What needs improvement?
Integrating with other tools should be easier and more straightforward.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using this solution for just about a year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This solution is reliable.
Because we had some integration issues, we started out with just one or two projects that a project manager was managing. This was done to make sure that the whole end-to-end process was going to work between PPM Pro and Projectplace. Once that integration started to get stabilized and the Planview organization was hearing what our issues were and working to resolve them, we began to leverage the tool as a whole with all of our project managers. So, all of our projects, the entire IT portfolio is now in Planview's PPM Pro and Projectplace.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This is a scalable solution.
Our footprint on the PPM Pro side is fairly small. That's just where the project managers and the resource managers go, whereas Projectplace is where the teams themselves go.
How are customer service and technical support?
With respect to the technical support, they are one of the best vendors I've ever worked with. When we had issues with integration early on in our relationship with them, they stepped forward. They own the problems and really worked with us to figure out how we could work together to fix them.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Prior to using this solution, we came from Project Web Access, which is a Microsoft SharePoint-based project management tool. That tool allowed us to centralize to a degree but it's still, from a team member's perspective, a decentralized experience where a team member had multiple different project workspaces or SharePoint sites to go to for each project they were assigned to. Their issues, risks, and tasks were all in different locations.
Planview allows us to have a one-stop-shop specifically for our team members. That experience alone has been hugely impactful. It allows people to see a dashboard of work that they're responsible for, and feel like they're not jumping from one website to another and trying to figure out what's the biggest priority is that they have to work on.
We knew with Project Web Access that we were coming to a lifecycle end. That product suite was starting to be decommissioned from Microsoft and we were forced to look for different opportunities. That, coupled with the IT organization wanting to take the next step in their maturity process and we wanted to marry our PM process with a tool that could support it. So, we did a full product review process and Planview really met all of our needs.
What was our ROI?
We have only been live on this tool for about eight months, and with the new integration that we've had, it's been live for about a month. I suspect that true ROI will be seen in a year or two.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Because we have PPM Pro with Projectplace, we transitioned to the Flex model. It was necessary because our adoption rates, specifically on the Projectplace side, is growing. People want to use the tool versus communication through other forms, such as email.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did evaluate other options before choosing this solution. We looked at Microsoft Online, Clarizen, and some of the smaller tools like Wrike and Smartsheet. There are a few other tools, as well. Overall, we felt like we did a pretty good review of all of the major players in the area.
In the end, Planview stood out.
What other advice do I have?
We have heard about some of the upcoming features and we are looking forward to them. For example, we are interested in more detailed card management within the Projectplace arena.
We're still in the infancy stages of using this tool, so we're still learning a little bit about the features and functions. I am interested in learning more about LeanKit and hope to do so in the future.
My advice to anybody who is implementing this solution is not to be afraid to change your business processes. We thought we had optimized our project management practices but when we implemented PPM Pro, we realized that we needed to make some adjustments and for a bit of time it was a struggle. However, leveraging best practices from an industry perspective is really starting to pay off. It was necessary for us to take a step back and think about what the best practices are and how can we use a tool to enforce them. I think that it will pay off enough in the long haul.
From a portfolio manager's perspective, right now, I'm getting what I need.
I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.