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Seven Scary PPM Curses

Posted by Alf-Abuhajleh Employee Oct 31, 2018

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.

It was about 15 years ago when I first heard the term GEMO, the acronym for “good enough; move on.” I was working for a PMO at the time, and GEMO became our mantra.


The head of our PMO—I’ll call her Jane —was a strong and confident leader in a tough healthcare environment in Canada. Since we had very aggressive goals, Jane needed her team, a self-professed bunch of perfectionists, to focus on our most important tasks. She knew that, left to our own druthers, we could get lost in analysis paralysis. 


Jane also understood the PMO’s stakeholders: physicians—also perfectionists—for whom patient care was Job 1.

Our work was about business processes—not so much about patient care. For that reason, Jane knew that while our work had to be good enough to achieve our goals, it did not need to be perfect.


I’ve never forgotten that lesson and, over the years, I’ve applied it at many of my customers.


How does this all apply to Core CA PPM deployments? That’s where GEMO comes in very handy: If you understand that good enough gets you far enough, you know that CA PPM will give you proof of value in four to six weeks. 


What’s the trick? Really, there is no trick—you focus on the CA PPM core benefits you’re trying to achieve and break them into smaller, incremental—and thus achievable—goals. That’s working in an agile fashion—incrementally building on the implementation and configuration you initially deploy.


Does this mean you need to have a highly complex initial deployment? No! Let’s say you start your CA PPM deployment with a basic configuration: You load resources, some canned security groups, a very simple OBS, and basic use cases to get you up and running quickly. Working closely with CA Services, you’ll identify your basic needs and get the minimum basic configuration up and running, all in two to four weeks. Proof of value then follows quickly.   


With CA’s classic UX, this process required a fair amount of coaching and hands-on training for end users. But with CA PPM’s new UX, end-user training is much simpler. The intuitive new task board and simplified design allow end users to learn CA PPM, leverage its power and start being productive almost from day one. Typically, the biggest challenge is cleansing your source data from your old systems. 


With CA PPM’s new UX, organizations reach the “good enough” point with the initial deployment. While it won’t accomplish 100% of your goals out of the gate, it will let you take a big first step in the right direction. Your organization gets the value of a strong PPM system, users engage and work in the tool, and you learn how you can tweak your processes to better incorporate CA PPM in managing your organization’s work.


After you reach the “good enough” point and realize initial value, you can “move on” to the next incremental steps that will achieve your long-term CA PPM goals at almost any cadence you choose. As you work with CA Services on the initial deployment, the consultant will help you understand the possibilities for succeeding increments.


That’s the beauty of GEMO: Your initial implementation doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be good enough. You focus on a quick and lean configuration for your initial deployment, and follow up with a clear path for your next increment. Then you rinse and repeat.


Talk to one of our sales folks to learn more about our Core PPM deployment offering.  It’s your best option for a quick time to value PPM solution.

CA PPM Core Implementation for 50-100 users

CA PPM Insights Blog: Steve Robinson on how easy data loading leads to faster use for more value.


CA PPM Core Data Load

Posted by robst08 Employee Oct 10, 2018

As a non-technical consultant with CA’s PPM practice, I typically defer to technical colleagues who know how to use XML Open Gateway (XOG) to upload customer data to CA PPM.

The customer provides the data in an Excel spreadsheet, and the data must be converted to XML data before being uploaded. Usually, my job is to show the customer how to populate the spreadsheet and provide guidelines on required values.

Pre-Work and Process Can Delay Outcomes

One reason customers implement CA PPM is to get visibility of all their projects and resource utilisation. However, some customers don’t have one of the necessary starting points: a list of all the projects they are running.

The time required to populate the spreadsheet varies enormously from customer to customer. It also depends on several factors, including the amount of data and its accessibility and completeness.


In my experience, it can be a challenge for customers to get the spreadsheet right on the first try, even with a lot of guidance. For that reason, when we get the spreadsheet from the customer, we expect a certain amount of data cleansing. Once we have the necessary data, we hand the spreadsheet over to a technical resource who uses various techniques to prepare the data for upload to CA PPM, depending on his or her XOG method—and yes, there are several ways to XOG data into CA PPM. Each technical resource I’ve worked with—internally and externally—has a preferred way of doing it.

CA PPM Core New Data Loader Changes All That

With the new data loader for CA PPM Core, I no longer have to rely on technical resources to upload customer data into CA PPM.

True, I still need to show the customer how to use the spreadsheet and provide guidelines on required values, and I still perform data cleansing on the completed spreadsheet. However, the code required to upload data to CA PPM is now embedded in the spreadsheet and is executed when I press buttons on each worksheet.

One possible downside with the new spreadsheet, which is macro-enabled: Some customers don’t allow macro-enabled spreadsheets. (I know at least one government department that would require several weeks for their technical teams to analyse spreadsheet code to ensure it had no security vulnerabilities.)


One potential solution: The customer could provide the data in a normal spreadsheet, and a non-technical consultant like me can transfer it into PPM’s data loader spreadsheet. Because the data loader spreadsheet connects to the customer’s CA PPM system, this may still cause concern to some customers; my colleagues and I work closely with those customers to determine the best way forward based on their needs and potential risks.

Because CA PPM Core focuses on rapid implementation of base functionality, the data initially required is limited to the minimum number of fields for roles, resources and projects along with financial location, department OBSs and a base security model.


Even though the data load is semi-automated, the non-technical consultant still needs to upload data to CA PPM in the right sequence and adhere to CA PPM business rules.


After the upload, CA PPM Core relies on project and resource managers to fill in the blanks, including creating the required work breakdown structure and populating project teams.


I must say I’m stoked about not having to rely on technical resources for this process. I’m also stoked about seeing the look on my customers’ faces when they view their data in CA PPM for the first time after this simplified process.


In the end, the real benefit goes to customers. CA PPM Core lets them get up and running quickly, capture required data to turn up the service and realise benefits much faster. And the fact that customers need to work with only one consultant is bound to add to customer satisfaction.



About the author: Steve Robinson has over 20 years’ experience in designing and implementing portfolio management projects and training customers to leverage solutions, especially CA PPM, to meet business requirements and achieve business goals. As a thought leader in the PPM space, Steve leverages his real work experience to share his unique perspective and insights with CA PPM customers so that they gain maximum value from their CA PPM investment.

Secret to a Successful Digital Transformation

October 16 at 1 p.m. ET

As digital transformation continues to disrupt businesses, and in particular IT, CIOs are finding themselves having to adapt every element of their portfolios. Whether it’s the internal products and services that support the core business customer facing solutions that drive organizational value, or the transformation initiatives that support the ability to adapt and adjust effectively and efficiently, nothing is as it used to be.


Join former Gartner analyst and renowned portfolio management guru Donna Fitzgerald as she discusses the implications of digital transformation on Its work for all of these project types.


RSVP here.