Up Your Game - 7 Capabilities for Better Software Project and Portfolio Management

Up Your Game: 7 Capabilities for Better Software Project and Portfolio Management


Businesses and organizations worldwide need ways to organize and execute the work required to meet strategic objectives.  Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software tools “support the selection, planning and execution of a variety of different work packages or containers, including, but not limited to, traditional projects. They often fold in collaboration and communication capabilities and allow work teams and project offices to report, monitor, and identify course correction in resource-intensive project and work environments[1].”

Software development and digital transformation initiatives make up a considerable chunk of business and government portfolios in any given year.  The financial, personnel, and time resources needed are significant.  Information Technology (IT) programs and portfolios are strategic and high profile and must be planned and managed with great care.

QSM’s Software Lifecycle Management (SLIM) suite of software tools is sometimes confused with PPM applications.  SLIM-Suite doesn’t compete with PPM solutions - they complement them, supporting Project Management Institute (PMI) project and portfolio planning and management standards several ways.  SLIM works with PPM tools by providing essential data and capabilities to:

Upcoming Webinar: Increase PMO Collaboration to Improve IT Portfolio Management

PMO Estimation Webinar

IT project portfolios are diverse - technologies, platforms, methods, resources and more! Ensuring that project priorities align with business strategies and resource demand requires project intelligence and better estimation capabilities. Join Keith Ciocco and Laura Zuber for this webinar on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 2:00 PM EDT to learn how to leverage centralized data about scope, capacity, cost, staffing and quality to explore estimate solutions that overcome common PMO challenges of shrinking budgets and scarce resources. See how tailored access and process workflow increase visibility and provide the tools for effective project prioritization, review and governance.

Register here!

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New Article: Common Ground Through PPM

Project Portfolio Planning

The most effective project portfolio planning brings IT managers and business leaders together to prioritize, scope and staff initiatives as a single team with common goals. In doing so, the process fosters better working relationships — and provides a roadmap for delivering value to the organization. In this article for Projects at Work, Larry Putnam, Jr. outlines best practices on how to determine the maximum capabilities that can be delivered within the confines of budgets, resources, and time. 

Read the full article!

New Article: Estimate Before, During, and After the Software Project

Estimate Before, During, and After the Software Project

A common misperception is that an estimator’s job is done after a software project’s parameters are set. On the contrary, software estimation should be conducted throughout the project lifecycle to reflect inevitable changes and to improve estimates on other projects. In this article, originally published in Projects at Work, Larry Putnam Jr. identifies three ways to maximize estimating efforts — before, during and after your project is complete.

Read the full article!

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From Proposal to Project Webinar Replay and Q&A Highlights

From Proposal to Project: Getting Resource Demand Early

QSM's recent webinar, From Proposal to Project: Getting Resource Demand Early, presented by Andy Berner and Keith Ciocco, featured a thoughtful Q&A session from our audience. Here are the highlights:

Q: Which PPM products does SLIM work with right now?

A: We're working with customers to see what products they're interested in. It's adaptable to multiple PPM systems and we'd like your input on which ones we should deliver for you early. We can work with you so you can build a customized input to your own system. So the framework is very general and is released as part of the SLIM product. We will be providing adapters to common PPM systems and that's what we would like to learn from our design partners - which ones to deliver first. (Note: if you are a SLIM customer or prospect, you can request to join our design group by emailing Keith Ciocco).

Q: You showed SLIM-WebServices. Does that come with the desktop tool? Do you use them separately or together?

The Best of Both Worlds: Leveraging Top-Down Estimation with Capacity Planning

Demand Management and Capacity PlanningSince I work for a software metrics and estimation company, many people ask me questions regarding capacity planning and demand management. Most of the project managers that I speak with are using project portfolio management tools for very detailed, task-level resource capacity planning. They spend a lot of time planning the person hours for each task and then these task-level plans are prioritized and viewed across the organization. These are useful tools and methods and they usually require a sizable investment.

The problem is that many of these project managers don’t have a good way to support demand management. That is to say that they aren’t able to accurately estimate the key drivers that go into their PPM tools.  They need to be able to answer key questions like: Should we commit to 6 months or 9 for the project duration? Do we need 10 software developers or 20 to finish in 9 months? How much is the overall project going to cost? What alternatives do we have? Has anyone ever achieved that duration in the past? Should we even go forward with this project; what is the risk?

Oftentimes the project manager comes up with this information informally based on experience. Unfortunately, when they don’t use a scientific approach to estimating, they leave out key factors that affect the estimate and project success, like project complexity, team efficiency, and overall project uncertainty.

Announcing SLIM 8.2 for Resource Demand Management and Capacity Planning

QSM is pleased to announce the release of SLIM Suite 8.2, which, for the first time, provides the ability to perform enhanced top-down estimation for capacity planning. Unlike other resource demand management tools that rely on bottom-up estimates, QSM is the first in the industry to provide detailed resource breakdowns, utilizing a more accurate top-down approach. Top-down estimation accounts for even the unpredictable aspects of IT project implementation that a bottom-up approach does not, such as unrealistic project goals, miscommunication among team members and rework, which may account for up to 60% of the total effort on a project. With this information, project managers can more confidently choose the project team and assign the detailed tasks to the team at hand, improving accuracy for planning and executing successful IT projects while fully utilizing existing resources for individual projects, as well as longer term resource capacity planning. New APIs for this resource information allow organizations to integrate SLIM with the enterprise resource management (PPM) tools that they are currently using. 

In addition to top-down resource demand, other new features introduced with the 8.2 release include: