Clarity PPM

Seven Scary PPM Curses

By Alf Abuhajleh posted 10-31-2018 03:01 PM


Happy Halloween. If you want to stay safe for the holidays, make sure you put your PPM house in order. Here are seven eternal project portfolio management pains that suddenly can afflict any organization:


  1. Running around looking for project timelines, resources, and budget data.
  2. Problems, such as staff reallocation, conflicting priorities, budget overrun, take too long to resolve.
  3. Can't track resource capacity, leaving staff either overcommitted or underutilized.
  4. Without knowing the skill sets, it is hard to effectively hire, train and forecast head counts.
  5. Mistakes are made when the project team takes actions without financial consultation.
  6. Can't compare planned, forecast and actual time spent on projects.
  7. Too time-consuming to update and share different types of financial reports manually.


Learn how to survive the evil curses of managing projects, people and budgets.



11-01-2018 10:48 AM

I would add these as the PM curses:



  1.  Knowing how to use a scheduling tool does not mean one knows how to build a plan likely to finish on time, within planned costs and/or planned resource demand.

  2.  Student syndrome:  People tend to wait until end of provided task duration to begin work.

  3.  Embedding safety padding in every task to protect on-time task performance:  All this padding extends project duration when shorter project durations are needed.

  4.  Bad Multitasking:  Working on more than one task, when someone is waiting on you to complete a task, holding them up

  5.  Task dependency:  A project’s chances of on-time completion is the multiple of the chances of completing dependent tasks on time (If 3 linked tasks each have 90% chance of being on-time, then project’s chances are 73%).  Protecting tasks, rather than project, is practically a guarantee of failure.

  6.  Not managing the critical task hand-offs:  Handoff is delayed when task is completed and/or next resource in line is not ready to take the handoff and run.


PM is the foundation of PPM.  If one can’t do PM better, than PPM will just report that one is poor at PM!  Even scarier, this might result in conclusion that PPM doesn’t work or that it can’t work (“The problem is just too complex to ever be managed!”).  Hopefully, PPM done well highlights PM problems and then one takes the correct steps to improve PM, and not give up on either.


Such curses can be broken, without resorting to secret recipes cooked up in smoking cauldrons.  Isn’t it obvious?  It’s not luck.  It just takes management.  (Hey, these could be the titles of some good books!)

10-31-2018 03:21 PM