Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with Planview PPM Pro.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
Reporting and dashboards need improvement. They've got the new beta coming out now and I've been playing around with that in our sandbox environment. I'm very impressed with the flexibility and functionality. In fairness, I was speaking to my senior management team and saying that we should go ahead and enable it in our production environment because I think it is actually now in the position where we can start getting it in place. Another area for improvement, realistically, is regarding the financials, but it's been addressed as part of Planview's focus. That's one of the things that drew us towards Planview, that they're actively investing in developing the tool and making it best of breed. We can certainly see a lot of new enhancements coming forward that we're going to be taking on board.
If you had asked this question a year ago, I would have pointed to the reports and dashboards. We had to create a lot of reports and dashboards outside the system (like Power BI). Planview is launching the new reporting and dashboards now, which is supposed to give us better results compared to what we have now. The calculated field section has a lot of room for improvement. There are a lot of formulas and functions available to make calculated fields but are still not comprehensive. We do a lot of processing of the data in PPM Pro through these calculated fields to represent them in reports/dashboards. It is much easier to do such calculations in excel/Power BI. That kind of flexibility or gap is still there in the calculation field aspect because we cannot create that kind of structure in the system at this point. That is a key area for improvement. PPM Pro has not helped to reduce project delays directly, but it has helped us improve decision-making. If hundred-plus programs or projects are running simultaneously, there could be multiple reasons why the projects are getting delayed. It could be either because of improper planning/improper fund management/lack of risk prioritization. The system allows stakeholders to make an informative decision, to see that we are putting the people in the right place or if we have too many efforts going in the wrong direction. Or to give priority/attention to the right program. That is how the decisions are taken to pause/accelerate a program. This way, stakeholders are given the right amount of information to make decisions at the right time and thus helping to reduce project delay. Thus, the decision-making process becomes more efficient.
Integrations need improvement. We have the ability now with the FLEX licensing to take advantage of the different applications. But if you want them integrated there's a really large cost associated with that. The integration should be included in the cost per license. We shouldn't have to pay these really high fees to get the systems to talk together.
The integration with some of these other tools that we use, like the Azure DevOps needs improvement. I heard there are few things coming within Planview or PPM Pro itself, but I think it's still future dated. These integrations are key for us from an organizational perspective. We're looking forward to the new dashboards and some of the capabilities.
The reporting has room for improvement. I know it's all in the revamping all the time with it, but there are things that I know my PMOs don't like. For instance, they want a pie chart and I think it's a bug in the system. I've been working with somebody on it, but then she thought it was because they were trying to look at negative values, which a pie chart doesn't do, but little things like that quite haven't gotten to what we need as far as reporting, but I think it's on the roadmap.
From a usability standpoint, the part where there are people on the tasks section on a team is a little challenging. Then for some reason, the in-demand reports are embedded in the resource section and to run them is just completely different and separate from the reports entity which is a lot. When we did our setup with the implementation manager, he said, "Well, that's just legacy but you can create the same thing over in reports". And so far I haven't been able to figure that out. I would like to see capacity demand reports, right up front in all of the report's sections. As far as accessibility, changing passwords, and people being able to get to mobile devices and all that stuff, that's just been phenomenal.
When I joined this team, I was really interested in the dashboard because earlier there were only four or five kinds of dashboards available and now we can create 14 or 15 different kinds of visualization reports and dashboards. That was an area for improvement, if you would have asked me last year. But since then, we have the reports and dashboards coming out or already available in our Sandbox. Because of that, we were using Power BI a lot, but I think now that we have different regulations, different reporting features, and dashboard features in our PPM Pro, we have enough to do a lot of stuff in the instance itself rather than using different tools. Under projects, there are available themes that you can create based on your convenience that are limited only to the admins and project managers. That was the approach we have utilized from last year to this year, and that has helped us a lot. Also, we are very focused on utilizing the permission matrix and we utilize the standard groups a lot. I think PPM Pro is going to release a resource self-service admin which is going to duplicate the standard groups. I think that will help us a lot because right now a standard group has their own permission and we don't know what permission is getting out to the users. After the resource self-service admin will be in place, I think we will be in a much better position in terms of the formation profile.
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.
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.
It takes more time than it should to create a new project because we can't bulk edit things very easily. That is definitely an area that has room for improvement. I would like to have the ability to edit items in bulk and save drafts. It's one or nothing. You can't save drafts. Another area of improvement is the system's slow for projects with more than 600 line items. There is also no timeline visual, it's only a Gantt Chart. Resource management and planning are difficult at the headcount level. In the next release, I would like to have better scenario planning for resources and portfolios. The process for building a team within a project is manual and difficult. The system doesn't provide recommendations. Creating a new project can take a week. I also find their task management features to be poor because we don't have the ability to bulk edit or scenario plan. You can't save drafts. The spreadsheet editor doesn't allow you to edit all of the fields, only a subset of fields. And the spreadsheet editor is the recommended workaround solution, but it's not robust.
It does not provide end-to-end work management for the full spectrum of types of work in one tool. I don't think it does because that's why there's Agile. It would be too cumbersome to try to go to Planview to the lowest deep down level that you could capture JIRA. Where in JIRA, you could capture pretty much a task. It does not provide an end-to-end solution. In our case, we're going through an Agile transformation. Where we want to have mostly 90% of our portfolio working in an Agile state. Planview does not provide us the end-to-end solution at this point. Based on my experience, the financial management screens have gone a long way, but I think there's still some room for improvement in terms of how you model them and the different version controls. I would like to see more dynamic screens, most of the screens are static. That has room for improvement.
Planview PPM Pro’s time tracking abilities are adequate. It does a fine job as far as within the product managing it. Our users have commented that they would like a little more mobile-friendly aspect of it to be able to do it from their phones. While there is mobile access now, it's not as robust as we'd like to see, though it meets our needs for what little time tracking we do. I would like a little more training on it. We have struggled within the product. It has been changing the agile aspect of PPM Pro for us around the task management. This has been a struggle point, but there are a lot of things based on the keynote (in Planview's conference) coming up to address some of this. The reporting has some areas for improvement. It is not always as simple as we would like to get the reports we want or the information that we want. I think they are addressing this because there is a new version of the reports in a beta right now. I would assume that some of those features are coming.
Anyone can go in and jerry-rig it. We would like the tool to be more locked down.
We don't use their existing dashboard functionality. Hopefully, with the new reporting release that is coming out in November, we will be able to evaluate as to how we can leverage that. What I hear, "Everyone has either a Tableau or something else because Planview doesn't provide a dashboard." We should not need to use another tool. Planview has the data, so it should be able to give us what we want. This would also reduce costs since we are paying licenses for those tools too.
When I say the solution is moderately flexible, it's really that it takes time to configure out-of-the-box. It takes some work to implement. Some of the visualization on the reports should be a bit more modernized. I know with the newer reporting module, this might be better. Just a bit more intuitive reporting would be great. I would like improved integration between PPM Pro, Projectplace, and LeanKit.
Every time I think of something it's almost like magic, they implement it before I can even suggest it. They're in the walls, right? At this point, everything I've ever wished for has come true with PPM Pro. Now that we're just starting up on Projectplace, hopefully I'll see that same type of thing. If I had to make one suggestion right now on Projectplace is the ability to manage more of the roadmap features. You have the roadmap, the portfolio, and then the drill downs into components that feed into that roadmap. They are working on this, and it's coming along.
I would like them to improve the reporting and tying in the strategy more easily. Planview has already made some updates, so I'm trying to learn what those features are. I would also like to see integration with third-party applications, like the JIRA, Microsoft Project, and financial applications. That is where we get our data. We want to look into these integrations, but I don't think these are there today, but I can see those things down the roadmap.
The biggest things are the status notes and internal notes. They have made some great improvements these past couple of weeks, but they are still lacking a bit. There are still a little kludgy. It just needs to be a bit more straightforward with notes, copying and pasting. They've made huge improvements, but it still could do some work. E.g., for some reason, the formatting is still looking a little bit weird on selecting different fonts.
Managing a project at the executable level is very difficult using PPM Pro alone, so it is necessary to use one of the integrations such as LeanKit of Projectplace. This solution does not work well as a task management system because it is very difficult to expand beyond just the basic tasks, and this would be a worthwhile area for improvement. The dashboards are very blocky. You can get all of the information but they just don't look great. One of the issues that we have is related to capacity, where it is very limited in how you can input the capacity for people in future items. One of the things that we would like to see is the ability to have more control over scheduling. For example, you can switch into a scheduling mode but then it just takes whatever the time period of the task is and it spreads the entire workload for that resource over that entire time period. It doesn't take into account if they are off work, and I can't put them in twice. So if they have a gap, I'm still going to show that they have all of this free time, but really they only have the two chunks before and after their time off that they're available. More control in this aspect is a big thing for us right now.
Integrating with other tools should be easier and more straightforward.
Connecting funding and strategic outcomes with work execution is a challenge right now for us. Part of what we are facing is we have a couple of drivers of where projects are coming from. One of them is our innovation group. They are just sort of tangentially using PPM Pro for recording the status of projects and not really planning them within there. We need a stronger link between our current financial reporting system and Planview PPM Pro, so we can start to more easily record our external costs in the tool. There may be Planview products that already fill this niche. I would like a better collaboration platform with a better view at the individual level of, "What do I have to do today?" Some of the Kanban card tools and things like that are definitely next in line for us. It has more of a classic UI instead of a more modern looking user interface. Especially IT guys are like, "How come I can't just drag my tasks from one column to another column?" We're just using PPM Pro and some of the other products may carry this. We are at Horizons to take a look at Planview's other stuff.
What do you like most about Planview PPM Pro?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the community!