Software developers often face the challenge to deal with projects or sets of projects whose intended use, schedule, dependencies, and specifics vary to an extent that requires the use of specialized software to cope with such a project management portfolio. Some IT firms prefer to develop their project management solutions in-house, others bet on customization of ready-to-use open-source software, but both approaches require knowledge of best practices in project management that are usually accessible only to specialized project management professionals and enterprises. Thus, it is a common practice for software vendors to team up with firms specializing in project management in order to produce viable solutions in the field of IT project management or management of project portfolios as a whole.
Managing a diverse project management portfolio, or a corporate program comprising projects that vary in scope, duration, complexity, and so on, is a common task in the world of project managers, which, however, does not mean it is an easy task to develop a reliable application to deal with sophistication of this kind. First, such a project management system should feature advanced analytical capabilities, allowing managers to get a broad picture how a set of projects is progressing and where more or less resources should be allocated. Resource allocation is considered the most crucial element of successful project management, following the initial stage of resource planning and scheduling, therefore a project portfolio management application should be designed with advanced analytics in mind.
A particular set of projects, or a project portfolio, might consist of independent, non-related projects as well as of projects that are building blocks of a far-reaching corporate program for development and performance improvement. On the surface, those types of projects appear to bear the same fundamental characteristics but a more in-depth look into the specifics of project and program management results in a widely accepted understanding that systems dealing with portfolios of projects should definitely feature functionality that is more advanced. This functionality should enable top executives to get in-depth analysis on relationships between projects and their relative progress or failure to deliver the desired outcome, probably within the framework of a broader organizational program. In addition, the software should be able to deliver even where numerous project inter-dependencies obscure the broader performance picture, by providing functionality to track, analyze, and tweak the performance of both independent projects and project portfolios.
As far as IT software is concerned, collaboration functionality is another essential element of a decent project management application. Messaging is not a feature that would surprise the average user these days, while more advanced tools to collaborate on projects, including remote access to project management systems, synchronization capabilities, and group reminders disseminated via email or SMS, etc., are integral parts of business applications designed to deal with complex projects.
The complexity of projects or entire programs also varies depending on the overall goal an organization is pursuing. Usually, individual projects feature limited duration and are considered more straightforward compared to project portfolios or programs although a particular project might require vast resources to complete. Organizational programs, for their part, are continuous and designed to achieve certain improvements over time, consisting of different projects designed to achieve these goals, while some projects might be completed long before the overall program goal is fulfilled. Therefore, the particular project management portfolio of an enterprise might feature exceptionally complex inter-dependencies in terms of schedules, shared resources, and projected outcomes, where only an integrated software solution is able to produce useful results.
Advocates of in-house software development insist that only internally developed applications are able to meet all of the above requirements, while other authors claim that ready-to-use solutions, successfully implemented across numerous organizations, fully demonstrate the capabilities of third-party software. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle, i.e. an enterprise does not necessarily need a tailored solution to deal with complex projects, while a highly configurable application can be of great assistance in coping with the challenges posed by a versatile project management portfolio in the field of IT.
Author Bio:- Author Box: Some particular project management portfolio of an enterprise might feature exceptionally complex inter-dependencies in terms of schedules, shared resources, and projected outcomes, where only an integrated software solution is able to produce useful results.