Last week, Scott Musser discussed the development of PPMlogx – the Portfolio Project Management Tool. This week, Tina Smith, Mike Conover, and Richard Nebel discuss PPMlogx team activities so far and their hopes moving forward.
I am not a writer by any stretch of the means so when I was asked to create a blog about the PPMlogx tool I was very apprehensive. I was encouraged to focus on what I have been doing with the project so far. PPMlogx is a portfolio project management office tool that is used to get visibility into what projects a company has in the pipeline and where they are sitting. I have been working with a talented cast of team members with various backgrounds to make this project a success. The incredible part of this team is that no one hesitates to jump in and helpfrom developing, communicating with partners about their needs, testing and training. I liken it to a well-functioning car. My part of the endeavor of late has been testing any help desk issues that arise and also testing new enhancements to the system.
This is hilarious for me since I know nothing about cars but I recently needed to take my car in for service and a coworker compared developing a successful application tool to getting your car serviced. It goes something like this, “Hi, my car will not go into gear.” The serviceman needs to know some specifics before he can diagnose the problem. What kind of car do I have (year, make and model)? What was I doing when the problem arose? And lastly, when do I need it fixed? I thought this analogy was brilliant because you couldn’t just call an auto shop and say, “My car doesn’t work and I need it fixed” without telling them the details.
Valuable Lessons Learned
Probably the most valuable lesson we have learned deals with the issue of first time or infrequent web application users. Web applications inherently work differently than desktop applications. We need to make sure our users are well aware of the differences to set their expectations accordingly.
We are continuing to learn about separation of duties and responsibilities for both the client and the vendor (us). We are also learning the same lessons within our team.
Next Steps for the Tools
It has been discussed that the tool will probably provide “workflow”. This would allow the user to be “directed” according to best practices and to lead the user in the direction he/she needs to go next. This should be of a great help to first time or inexperienced project and program managers.
As a Fast Track associate, I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the team working on the PPMlogx tool. Teamwork and communication have been essential to the progress of this group project.
One of my duties has been to produce a periodic report on how many projects have been entered into the tool and what key elements have been included. This would not be possible if it were not for the feedback from my fellow team members. In one instance there was a key element that had data entered for every project. However, there was a default choice that was filled into the field if the field was left untouched when entering the project. This issue was resolved for the way data was entered into the tool for that particular element. From then on that field was blank by default. It was important for me to know about this because this allowed me to explain the sharp drop in the number or projects including data for that particular field on the next report.
Another task involved creating specifications for a report on projects that were at risk for getting off track. Scott Musser and I had two different ideas on a scoring model for project health. When it came time to create the reporting specifications, the two of us were open-minded to each other’s ideas. The final set of specifications that we produced, we both could agree, was better than what either of us would have produced if we had done it on our own.
I have learned a great deal while working on this project. All of the project’s team members have been helpful and supportive not just to me, but to each other as well, in making sure we have the knowledge and tools we need to each do our part.
For more information about PPMlogx, please contact us!