The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 153 Premium: 6 Criteria to Consider When Choosing a PPM Solution

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Curt FinchIf you work in a small company then it is quite likely that your project portfolio application is just a list of current projects in Word, Excel or even handwritten on a napkin. But once you outgrow this stage you are going to be faced with a myriad of project portfolio tools with an even more confusing array of features that you may or may not need.

My guest today, Curt Finch, is going to make this a lot easier for you because together we are going to look at the 6 top criteria to consider when shopping around for a project portfolio application. We'll be starting out with a more general look at what PPM solutions are and we'll end with looking at which of these criteria companies usually have most problems with during the actual implementation of the software.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. 

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: This is The Project Management Podcast™. We bring project management to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at www.pm‑podcast.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to this Premium Episode #153. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, nice to have you with us.

If you work in a small company, then it is quite likely that your project portfolio application is just a list of current projects maybe in Word, Excel or possibly even handwritten on a napkin. But once you outgrow this stage, you’re going to be faced with a myriad of project portfolio management tools and they have an even more confusing array of features that you may or may not need on your particular project portfolio.

My guest today, Curt Finch, is going to make this a lot easier for you because together we are going to look at the top 6 criteria to consider when shopping around for a project portfolio application. We'll be starting out with a more general look at what PPM solutions are and we'll end with looking at which of these criteria companies usually have most problems with during the actual implementation of the software.

Enjoy the interview which is once again a Premium Episode only for you, the Premium Subscriber of The Project Management Podcast™. Thank you very much for your support.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Curt Finch, CEO of Journyx.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, Curt. Welcome back!

Curt Finch: Hey, Cornelius, thanks for having me.

Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, absolutely! You’re very welcome.

So we want to talk about the 6 criteria that you have to consider when you are choosing a PPM solution, a project portfolio management solution. What’s your definition of a PPM solution?

Curt Finch: That’s a really good question. I’m imagining Gartner has a better definition than me or perhaps the PMI.

Cornelius Fichtner: Very likely.

Curt Finch: I basically think it’s something that allows you to organize and decide on what projects your organization is going to be working on and then track the execution of those until the completion.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay and why does an organization that manages projects need a PPM solution? Can’t you do it without one?

Curt Finch: Sure! People have been running companies for a long time without PPM solutions. I’m not sure that they do need some of the things that are currently defined by many people as a PPM solution today.

Most companies probably have a pretty good idea what they should be working on and they know what the  most important things are but where it can get confusing is where you’ve got an ill-defined strategy or a strategy that’s not complete or not clear, you know. That’s one reason that a PPM solution can help I think that you get some reports and some graphical data out theoretically assuming that people actually use the system out that can help you make those decisions about which way to go.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay so and if we want to buy one of these, you have the 6 criteria that we’re going to go through in just a minute and look at them individually. But first, how did you develop this list? Where does it come from? Where did you find those 6 criteria? How did you determine them?

Curt Finch: Well, I’ve been running this software company, Journyx, for a long, long time and we have a product, I wouldn’t quite say it’s a PPM solution because it’s probably missing some of the components that people would say is required and by saying Gartner’s definition perhaps of a PPM solution although we are, I heard today just added to the Gartner PPM quadrant thing.

Cornelius Fichtner: Congratulations!

Curt Finch: Yeah, thanks! They’re an important organization. No doubt about it and we’re thrilled to be recognized by them. But for example, we don’t have risk management technologies built in to our stuff.

The way I came with the 6 criteria was from talking to clients over the last 14 years and the kind of things that they say about when they’ve bought solutions from various vendors and then it has failed on them. And so, really these questions are around helping you decide how to make sure you pick something that’s not going to fail.

And one of the ways that it fails is that it takes too long to implement or cost too much or you don’t understand the cost because a lot of times the cost is they’re sort of like the iceberg thing where there’s 90% of it is under water, not visible. So that’s how I came up with the questions. They’re really not my questions. They’re questions from the customers and the people I interview for my books that I’m writing over the last 14 years.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! That would explain your first criteria here. So let’s go ahead. Let’s go through them. Because when I originally started reading about your 6 criteria, my first thought was I bet he’s not going to talk about the cost. Wrong! Criteria #1: “How much does it cost?”

Curt Finch: Yeah!

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah and so I supposed this is the number one question that you get from customers, right?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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