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Project Portfolio Management icon

Grow Your Own PPM Solution

46% of organizations use a homegrown PPM solution. Here’s a better way to do it.

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  • Rick Morris, President, R2 Consulting LLC
  • 17 anonymous contributors

Your Challenge

  • As portfolio manager, you’re responsible for supporting the intake of new project requests, providing visibility into the portfolio of in-flight projects, and helping to facilitate the right approval and prioritization decisions.
  • You need a project portfolio management (PPM) tool that promotes the maintenance and flow of good data to help you succeed in these tasks. However, while throwing expensive technology at bad process rarely works, many organizations take this approach to solve their PPM problems.
  • Commercial PPM solutions are powerful and compelling, but they are also expensive, complex, and hard to use. When a solution is not properly adopted, the data can be unreliable and inconsistent, defeating the point of purchasing a tool in the first place.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Your choice of PPM solution must be in tune with your organizational PPM maturity to ensure that you are prepared to sustain the tool use without having the corresponding PPM processes collapse under its own weight.
  • A spreadsheet-based homegrown PPM solution can provide key capabilities of an optimized PPM solution with a high level of sophistication and complexity without the prohibitive capital and labor costs demanded by commercial PPM solution.
  • Focus on your PPM decision makers that will consume the reports and insights by investigating their specific reporting needs.

Impact and Result

  • Think outside the commercial box. Develop an affordable, adoptable, and effective PPM solution using widely available tools based on Info-Tech’s ready-to-deploy templates.
  • Make your solution sustainable. When it comes to portfolio management, high level is better. A tool that is accurate and maintainable will provide more value than one that strives for precise data yet is ultimately unmaintainable.
  • Report success. A PPM tool needs to foster portfolio visibility in order to engage and inform the executive layer and support effective decision making.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should grow your own PPM solution, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Right-size your PPM solution

Scope an affordable, adoptable, and effective PPM solution with Info-Tech's Portfolio Manager 2017 workbook.

3. Implement your homegrown PPM solution

Plan and implement an affordable, adoptable, and effective PPM solution with Info-Tech's Portfolio Manager 2017 workbook.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a nine call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Right-size your PPM solution

Call #1 - Scope the discussion with your existing PPM strategy.
Call #2 - Confirm your organization’s readiness for a homegrown solution.
Call #3 - Conduct a cost-benefit analysis and right-size your homegrown PPM solution.

Guided Implementation #2 - Get to know Portfolio Manager 2017

Call #1 - Enter project portfolio data.
Call #2 - Right-size reports for your project portfolio stakeholders.
Call #3 - Discuss how to customize portfolio data structure, reports, and other tool functionalities.

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement your PPM solution

Call #1 - Identify opportunities for injecting the new tool into the PPM processes.
Call #2 - Design a pilot run for using your new PPM solution.
Call #3 - Create a communication plan for leadership and project managers.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Scope a Homegrown PPM Solution for Your Organization

The Purpose

  • Assess the current state of project portfolio management capability at your organization. The activities in this module will inform the next modules by exploring your organization’s current strengths and weaknesses and identifying areas that require improvement.
  • Set up the workbook to generate a fully functional project portfolio workbook that will give you a high-level view into your portfolio.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A high-level review of your current project portfolio capability is used to decide whether a homegrown PPM solution is an appropriate choice
  • Cost-benefit analysis is done to build a business case for supporting this choice




Review existing PPM strategy and processes.

  • Confirmation of homegrown PPM solution as the right choice

Perform a cost-benefit analysis.

  • Expected benefits for the PPM solution

Module 2: Get to Know Portfolio Manager 2017

The Purpose

  • Define a list of requirements for your PPM solution that meets the needs of all stakeholders.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A fully customized PPM solution in your chosen platform




Introduction to Info-Tech's Portfolio Manager 2017: inputs, outputs, and the data model.

  • Trained project/resource managers on the homegrown solution

Gather requirements for enhancements and customizations.

  • A wish list of enhancements and customizations

Module 3: Implement Your Homegrown PPM Solution

The Purpose

  • Determine an action plan regarding next steps for implementation.
  • Implement your homegrown PPM solution. The activities outlined in this step will help to promote adoption of the tool throughout your organization.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A set of processes to integrate the new homegrown PPM solution into existing PPM activities
  • Plans for piloting the new processes, process improvement, and stakeholder communication




Plan to integrate your new solution into your PPM processes.

  • Portfolio Manager 2017 operating manual, which documents how Portfolio Manager 2017 is used to augment the PPM processes

Plan to pilot the new processes.

  • Plan for a pilot run and post-pilot evaluation for a wider rollout

Manage stakeholder communications.

  • Communication plan for impacted PPM stakeholders

Member Testimonials

Schedule Analyst Call

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this Blueprint, and what our clients have to say.


$ Saved

Days Saved


University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy



Barry's availability and the work he invested developing the solution before we even got started are the best aspect of this experience.

County of Salt Lake



Barry is a positive "can do" leader. It was great to learn from him.

Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures



Best - good explanation of the Workbook Worst - none

Oldcastle Materials, Inc.



Helpful discussion and experienced guidance.

Massachusetts Convention Center Authority



I am enjoying working with Matt Burton and I am impressed by his experience and knowledge. Matt is providing the much needed direction we need as we work in creating a PMO within our organization.

Moore Norman Technology Center



Pacing was good. It facilitated continuous movement toward effective implementation of the tools. Matt demonstrated flexibility and agility in working with me as I struggled to allocate time to this project. Reassurances that our challenges are not uncommon in the IT world were helpful and motivational.

Foxwoods Resort & Casino



No bad experience. The 10 days saved is a wild guess and very conservative. Will not purchase a product/SaaS solution as a result of the call, saving the company $26,000 this FY alone.

UBC Development and Alumni Engagement Services



Unfortunately, we were not able to do the full guided implementation, but the intro session was very useful in explaining the methodology of the templates, as well as brainstorming on strategies for getting business buy-in to major projects and resource scheduling.

Safe Horizon, Inc.



Outstanding work!!!!