Clarity PPM

PPM Insights: Staying True to PPM Core Values

By dobka03 posted 09-29-2017 11:46 AM


Hi PPM practitioners! In my last blog, I highlighted some of ways we often hinder agility by over-engineering our PPM solutions. In this blog, I’d like to balance that negativity with a few positive reminders about the importance of staying true to the core values that PPM can bring to your organization. This isn’t about tool jockeying or wrench turning, and it isn’t about drowning in tons of meta data. It’s about knowing the value that PPM can bring in linking execution with strategy, helping you achieve your target business outcomes, and eliminating barriers along the way.


While value can come in lots of shapes and sizes and can be influenced by lots of internal and external factors within the organization, I’ve highlighted a few of the core PPM values that should be foundational to all. Have the courage to take an honest look at them and ask yourself, “Did we get it right? Are we providing value to the business and making progress toward delivering outcomes in a more responsive way? If not, why not/what are the barriers?”

PPM Core Values


Core Value 1 – Portfolio Transparency

At a minimum, portfolio transparency is important because it enables the organization to keep a close pulse on where and how valuable human and financial resources are being invested and whether they are fully aligned to business strategies and priorities.

  • Are we capturing all the work or are there pockets of work that consume valuable resources and go under the radar?
  • Do we have an ideation process in place to responsibly capture, track, and plan new opportunities? Can we realistically plan, prioritize, and deliver them or do they get stuck in the proverbial black hole?
  • Are we working on the right things? Do they align to the organization’s strategies, goals, and financial targets?
  • Do we have the capacity to deliver on our commitments? Are we lacking critical skills?
  • Which initiatives should be outsourced, purchased, or developed in house?
  • Do our initiatives have measurable deliverables and outcomes that are paced and tracked at a cadence that will ensure we don’t miss our window of opportunity for real value?
  • Can we align our initiatives to key corporate assets for a total view of IT cost?
  • Can we model change and if necessary, easily and quickly respond?


Core Value 2 – Financial Transparency

Financial transparency ensures that stakeholders have visibility into investment cost. This will have limited value if it isn’t interlocked with portfolio transparency.

  • Can we easily track spend variance to budget at both the portfolio and investment levels?
  • Are we burning funds at a faster pace than we are delivering planned outcomes? More importantly, can we identify and correct before negative impact?
  • Are we categorizing work to enable the organization to incur maximum benefit from capitalization/accounting practices?
  • Are capital and operating funds properly aligned to our portfolio?


Core Value 3 – Capacity and Demand Transparency

Capacity and demand transparency isn’t about keeping resources under a microscope. It’s about making sure the organization has the right skills, at the right time, to deliver target outcomes.

  • Are resources working on the right things/aligned to portfolio plan?
  • Do we have the right mix of staff/skills required to deliver planned initiatives?
  • Do we have insight into both opportunities and other inflight/committed staffing requirements?
  • Do we know how much of our staff it takes to keep the lights on vs. other strategic and tactical work?
  • Do we have a sustainable process that makes it easy for DevOps managers to collaborate and staff initiatives in a timely manner?
  • Can we model future capacity?


Core Value 4 – Outcome Transparency

Outcome transparency isn’t necessarily about capturing lots of meta data about projects, enhancements, and other keep-the-lights-on activities, building complex stage-gates that often result in execution/delivery bottlenecks, and/or mandating detailed status reports that take days or weeks to prepare, assemble, and distribute (yesterday’s news is old news). It’s more about making sure you can maximize team and work performance in a way that enables the organization to continuously deliver value in the most optimized way.

  • How quickly can we pivot when priorities change, with minimal disruption?
  • Can we track and measure outcomes, whether they are planned, in progress, or delivered?
  • Do outcomes measure up to promised value?
  • Can we easily track risk exposure?
  • Do we make it easy for stakeholders at all levels to gain the necessary insights from work being performed, from ideation through execution/delivery?
  • Do we have simple guidelines in place to know how best to deliver work? That might mean leveraging agile/scrum-type concepts for some work, while taking a waterfall or hybrid approach to others.
  • Are working teams empowered for delivery and do we adapt the right level of governance without creating bottlenecks?
  • Do we gain insight from historical work?


These are just a few of the core values of an effective PPM solution—there are many others. I hope they give you a little food for thought and can help keep you from veering off the beaten path. Whether your IT organization’s biggest barrier to delivering value-added outcomes is speed, focus, efficiency, adoption, or something else entirely, I challenge you to use CA PPM to take a step toward getting back on track.


Which of these (or other) PPM core values speak to you, and which do you find most challenging? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Readers interested in more detail around CA PPM can check out DocOps. I encourage you to participate in the best-in-class CA Communities site, where you have access to your peers, events and support. You can also reach out to CA Services for information about CA PPM and individualized business outcome references and analysis. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or contact me directly via email and Twitter @kdobsonppm.



10-26-2017 07:42 AM

Totally understand Vera - thanks for your comments. Sometimes we create our own complexities. Always good to take a step back and ask "why"...

10-25-2017 09:25 PM

I enjoyed reading your blog. It was easy to read and it is thought provoking. We often talk about the first three core values and if I had to select which one to improve I would select financial transparency. I would add managing internal project budgets. It would be an interesting metric to determine if our projects were delivered +/- 15% and if the project budget was in the black. Lately I have seen more red in our Clarity financial plans than in previous fiscal years.


The core value that resonates with me is #4 "Outcome Transparency". The first question "How quickly can we pivot when priorities change, with minimal disruption?" makes you think. It seems that we cannot change as quickly as we would like. Perhaps we have more governance than is needed in some places, while not enough in others. Also, while we do what the core values entails during client projects, we don't reflect them within our PPM tool.This automatically makes you think "Why not?". In many cases, it is the process we have defined. For instance, on Monday (two days ago) a ticket was raised to grant an instance right to be able to enter time. It took almost two days to get it approved and then processed. It does not make sense to require the approval from an "OPS" teammate to enable a person to enter time? The end user had to wait for almost four days to enter time. In reflection, it seems that some of our processes could benefit from a review. Hopefully, the outcome would determined what is truly needed from a governance standpoint. After all, the majority of the actions performed in Clarity leaves a footprint if you know where to look.


In regards to the questions you asked in the fourth core values, I will provide my answer, which is really my opinion on seeing projects that are processed in our internal instance of PPM, with CA as our client..

  • Can we track and measure outcomes, whether they are planned, in progress, or delivered? ANSWER: To some degree
  • Do outcomes measure up to promised value? ANSWER: I do not see how we can measure something that has not been defined in the tool, let alone going back to the original contract to determine if the promised value was obtained. Some of our PM's are so busy, that as soon as one project ends, another takes it's place. In these situations how really should see if the client received the promised values. Is it the "Sales" person, the PM, or the PMO?
  • Can we easily track risk exposure? ANSWER: No
  • Do we make it easy for stakeholders at all levels to gain the necessary insights from work being performed, from ideation through execution/delivery? ANSWER: No. We do not define and manage the project within the PPM tool. Just to see a team's availability is time consuming and to some degree cumbersome.
  • Do we have simple guidelines in place to know how best to deliver work? That might mean leveraging agile/scrum-type concepts for some work, while taking a waterfall or hybrid approach to others.ANSWER: I think we might. I find it interesting that so many people want to jump on the Agile Central band-wagon. I find it equally interesting that our new projects are being defined in Agile Central and that PPM is turning into a time-tracking tool. I would ask, why are not leveraging PPM? Perhaps project Dragonfly will close some of the gap. I would hate to see PPM turn into just a time-tracking tool as it is capable of so much more. PPM/Clarity is a great product and has functionality that we could leverage, such as the portfolios, financial plans, etc. I find Agile Central is more difficult to navigate than PPM. Perhaps this is due to the many varieties of how Agile Central is used. Are we taking advantage of our tools and how they can work together. 
  • Are working teams empowered for delivery and do we adapt the right level of governance without creating bottlenecks? ANSWER: I think we strive for this however all projects are not created equals so the right-level of governance cannot be one size fits all. Sometimes, the governance framework needs to be reviewed to ensure that we are working at the right level of detail. Sometimes, governance is not needed. We should define the "Outcome transparencies".
  • Do we gain insight from historical work? ANSWER: Not from a PPM perspective. We do look at historical trends in our utilization reporting.


I like PPM and always have. I knew it before it incorporated the database and was called Workbench. In the Agile Central (AC) world, I can see where there is more room to articulate what you want, and the dashboards are very nice (why aren't we creating them in PPM?). I also see that in some cases you can tell where you are in relation to where you started and where you are going but this does not occur regularly. There are many advantages to AC and it seems that in some cases we define everything but the kitchen sink. I fear it may be used internally as a testing tool versus a planning tool. Personally, I think we should identify how the tools should work together and leverage their strengths. In addition, ensure the people that have to use the tools understand the what, why, how, when & where.


P.S. The opinions stated above are my own.

10-25-2017 09:49 AM

Thank you for clearly articulating the outcomes and  actions needed to attain them in a successful PPM adoption!

09-29-2017 05:08 PM

Very powerful message Kathy, thank you!

09-29-2017 03:19 PM

Thank you for sharing this Kathy!

PPM Insights: Staying True to PPM Core Values