Top 10 Reasons for Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Failure


By Dennis Wiggins

Georgia, USA


As organizations strive to become globally competitive while increasing shareholder value, they are forced to continually reduce infrastructure costs to get products into the market cheaper, faster and with higher quality.

In most cases, corporations rely on technology to achieve this objective through the use of positive liquidity from working capital funds. C-level Executives select projects to be approved based on capital metrics such as: payback period, return on investment, net present value, benefit to cost ratio, internal rate of return, etc. The capital metric that will provide the most long term benefit to the organization as documented in the business case, proof of concept, or feasibility studies will probably get approval and funding by the Sponsor.

This is the inception of a Project as it is codependent on four (4) main categories; 1) Strategic Roadmap, 2) PMO Governance, 3) Tactical Execution and 4) Continuous Improvement. This project codependency is only established in “Mature PMO’s” that understand the “Big Picture” and the significance that the Project Management discipline brings to a successful implementation.

Unfortunately, this is not the case as documented in several reports by brand name organizations including PMI (Refer to Appendix).

Most organizations implement projects with a degree of tunnel vision and no consideration for the Strategic Roadmap (i.e. capital metrics) and Continuous Improvement (i.e. productivity improvement) pertinent to policy and work flow procedure for hard and soft dollar corporate savings. The primary focus is on “Tactical Execution” guided by the “PMO Governance” for managing the Sponsors and Stakeholders while the project is in flight.

C-level Executives make their decisions for the Strategic Roadmap based on the above capital metrics. Generally, the Strategic Roadmap is a 5 Year Plan as determined by Senior Executives for technology changes that will assist in accommodating the Voice of the Customer (VOC). This is the premise of how projects are selected for implementation within organizations and the assembly of Project Teams. Rarely, do projects meet the capital metrics as defined in the Pre-Approval document (i.e. Business Case). Upon approval of the Business Case funding is provided by the Sponsor. The Business Case transforms into a Project for “Tactical Execution”.

This is the beginning of the organizational disconnect because in most cases the capital metrics are not bridged to the project while in flight. This should be a mandatory requirement for the; Business Case, Proof of Concept or Feasibility Study to ensure compliance for company objectives as defined during the Strategic Roadmap reviews with the C-level Executives. Some organizations perform audits after the project is completed. But, hindsight will always equal 20/20 vision, and this allows for no corrective measures during “Tactical Execution”.


Leaders within the Project Management Office (PMO) are unable to predict with accuracy the current disposition of projects in flight, largely because of lack of application of the following 10 Project Management principles due to the immaturity of the Project Management Office (PMO) within the organization.


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About the Author

Dennis Wiggins

Georgia, USA




Dennis Wiggins has over 2 decades of experience in the information technology industry and is an expert in the Project Management discipline. He demonstrated his experience leading multi-million $ programs and projects in Information Technology.  In addition, he led a $250 million IT Portfolio Governance PMO for Bell South contracted through Accenture (Big 4). Leveraging his experience in multiple disciplines, he revamped the Executive IT Portfolio Reporting methodology reducing the cycle for reporting from 4 weeks to 1 week, increasing project management productivity and reducing the dollar burn rate.   Also, a lead in the PMO responsible for the domestic and international integration of approximately 75 trading applications in End-to-End (E2E) testing for security transactions for the Front Office, Middle Office and Back Office onto the Barclay’s platform.

He is a recipient of the Project of the Year Award by the PMI Atlanta Chapter for leading the design and development of the PPM Executive Command Center (PPM – ECC). This Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool was presented at the Institute of Industrial Engineering (IIE) Conference & Expo and was evaluated a 2.9 out 3.0 which is equivalent to a 97% (A+). He understands the “PPM Big Picture” as this tool was designed and developed using the #2 product (Balanced Scorecard) listed in the Harvard Business Review – Top 6 Products providing PMO’s with a fully integrated, dynamic and robust Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution with dashboards and analytics reporting.

He is a certified graduate of the world renowned General Electric Financial Management Program (GE FMP), Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB).

Dennis Wiggins is a graduate from the State University at Old Westbury College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Finance.

He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Executive Program Management Dashboards (aka Team Exec) providing leading edge training programs, and a value added re-seller providing cost effective industry solutions.

Company Website: http://www.exec-pm-dashboards.com/

Email: [email protected]