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PPMP20012 Program And Portfolio Management

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PPMP20012 Program And Portfolio Management

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PPMP20012 Program And Portfolio Management

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Course Code: PPMP20012
University: Central Queensland University

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Country: Australia

Questions:
1. Explain the relevance of systems thinking to the project, program and portfolio manager.2. Identify different systems thinking tools and techniques to aid project managers solve project problems.3. Assess the relevance of systems engineering to project cases.4. Describe how systems engineering concepts and methodologies can help a project, program and portfolio managers organise a project.5. Explain the importance of appropriate selection of project management (PM) application systems in regards to meeting the internal and external objectives of a project.6. Describe how the use of project management (PM) application systems can lead to effective PM knowledge management and decision making.7. Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of different manual and electronic project, program and portfolio (PPPM) application systems within each PPPM knowledge area over the life cycle of a project, program or portfolio.8. Propose appropriate project, program and portfolio (PPPM) application systems to support successful project, program and portfolio execution in different industry domains.9. Discuss contemporary developments in the use of project, program and portfolio (PPPM) application systems.

Answer:
Introduction and Summary of outcomes
Program and portfolio management are structures used to categorise projects in organisations. Therefore, program and portfolio management structures are part and parcel of corporation’s general administrative structure (Unger, Gemünden, & Aubry, 2012). Since program and management portfolio is primarily concerned with project activities, they are subgroups of corporate governance commonly referred to as governance of project management. The main aspects of this project management control structure include the efficiency and effectiveness of project sponsorship, effectiveness, and efficiency of portfolio direction, disclosure and reporting and project management success and efficiency (Martinsuo, 2013). Certainly, program and portfolio management respond to the query of governance in two different lines of attack.
To begin with, they consider the interrelatedness of different project aims with the intention to broaden the completion of related project results. Secondly, program and portfolio management focus is on the connectedness that exists between the management needs of the related projects. The primary objective is to realise the company’s overall business outcomes. As a result, it has resulted in the development of various portfolio management approaches such as prioritising, managing, identifying, authorising and controlling of projects. All these portfolio management techniques work to see to it that they work together to realise the specified business objectives. According to Archibald, & Archibald, (2016) a portfolio is a set of projects or programs as well as other work which are connected to allow for effective management of a given task to achieve strategic corporate objectives. However, the programs or projects of a portfolio cannot be inevitably related directly. Certainly, program and portfolio management are governance structures which are utilised to reduce on the general expenses used for turning inputs into output with through the assistance of different projects.    

Summary

System thinking is a discipline that looks at things as a whole and not as different parts. Although a system consists of different parts, these parts are linked together to become a whole so as to achieve a specific purpose. System thinking plays a major role in identifying points where involvements are likely to have the most influence and not just in a direct manner, however, this is attained over time (Eigbe, Sauser, & Felder, 2015). Accordingly, system thinking provides a broader picture in mind by including all stakeholders. Therefore, system thinking is a supplement to top-down thinking hence it is not only significant to small project t but also vital for a complex project. In this sense, system thinking supports the project, program and portfolio manager in the following ways:
Identifying and defining the right project, program, and portfolio: system thinking helps to realise the problem together with its context hence allowing for the definition of the complete scope. Similarly, system thinking allows for greater stakeholder involvement in the project. Thus it allows for a collective understanding of a given problem as well as the solution requirements through heightened commitment.
Implementing the right project, program, and portfolio: system thinking includes planning. Ultimately, planning is used to project problems and providing ways on how to cope with complexity, which leads to more precise statements (Unger, Gemünden, & Aubry, 2012). On the same note, system thinking support risk planning which is a suitable way to mitigate project complications. Therefore, system thinking is comprehensive. Thus it raises confidence in projecting on the upcoming costs and schedule. At this phase, the views of stakeholders are identified so as to improve on the governance of the project.
Also, system thinking helps to maximise on the inputs and outcomes and at the same time minimise on unpremeditated effects. The unpremeditated effects are unmasked and can be evaded.    

Evidence

System thinking is significant in the sense that it allows stakeholders the opportunity to get involved at every stage of the project. Consequently, this leads to a better understanding of the project’s problems by highlighting the real requirements and the precise solution to be undertaken. Also, the integration of system engineering and project management provide extensive risk planning as well as mitigation practices. System thinking work to ensure that the project has covered all activities which ensure that no activities are missed hence allowing for a more successful acceptance and handing over the stage (Too, & Weaver, 2014). Consequently, this leads to greater confidence in the final schedule and cost. In the case of BP and the larger community face challenges of poor risk planning, ineffective communication and limited involvement of stakeholders in the project. Accordingly, the success of any given project is built on effective communication, organised risk planning and involvement of stakeholders throughout the project.  
LO2

Summary

System thinking entails a wider understanding which looks at the world as a hierarchy of systems that are all linked to each other. The interrelation view of the world various processes can be utilised to solve emerges instead of secluding a problem and fixing it, as it is the norm in the traditional thinking, system thinking tactic broadens the viewpoint to observe the surrounding of the problem. It analyses the whole system when all parts are operating and considers the way each part communicate with the other (Kerzner, 2017). In light of this approach, it is easier to identify the causal effect and the problem space. System thinking tools are significant to project managers because they aid them in structuring and generating information regarding a given system of interest (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). As a result, this enables project managers to study and respond to questions related to Unified Systems Methodology. Accordingly, there is a broad range of systems thinking tools which fall in a number of broad groups such as dynamic thinking tools, brainstorming tools, computer-based tools, and structural thinking tools. While every tool has been designed as a standalone, they rely on each other hence they can be used collectively to realise greater insights.
Dynamic thinking implements comprise performance over time graph, unplanned loop diagram, and system archetype. The behaviour over time graph is used to graph the behaviour of a given variable over a specific period to gain insights into the relations between them. The behaviour over time graph comprises past, present and upcoming behaviour. The causal loop diagram illustrates the way different variables are interrelated in a system with the use of cause and effect connectivity. Thus, this tool is used by project managers to aid them to determine the reinforcing processes that intensify change as well as balancing processes which look for equilibrium (Martinelli, & Milosevic, 2016). On the other hand, the systems archetype is used to aid project managers to be in a better position to acknowledge and control collective system behaviour patterns such as “shifting the burden,” “drifting goals,” and “limits to success” on repetitive project dynamics.  
Brainstorming tools comprise a double-Q diagram. The double-Q diagram is based on the fishbone which is also referred to as cause and effect diagram. This diagram is significant to project managers as it captures free-flowing thoughts in a structured way and differentiates between soft and hard variables which impact the project. These variables are arranged at the time of brainstorming hence it aids the project members to identify the whole project system facing challenges.
Computer-based implements comprise learning laboratory, management flight simulator, computer model. The computer model enables project managers to be able to transform all project relations that have been identified into relevant mathematical equations. Therefore, the project manager can then run policy analyses through various simulations. Similarly, the management flight simulator offers “flight training’ for project leaders by utilising interactive computer games with regard to a specific computer model. As a result, project managers can be in a position to identify the long-term effects of the decision by creating strategies and making decisions according to their strategies (Eigbe, Sauser, & Felder, 2015).
On the other hand, structural thinking tools consist of structure-behavior pair, graphical functional diagram and policy structure diagram. Structure-behaviour pair tool comprises the primary dynamic structures which act as the base for developing computer models. Moreover, the graphical functional diagram tools are used to notes the manner in which a given variable influence the other by showing their relationship over a specified period. This tool is effective for expounding linear relationships between project tasks. Lastly, but the not least policy structure diagram tool is a conceptual map of the decision making course set in the organisation. This tool is concerned with aspects which are measured for every project decision.                       

Evidence

Systems thinking and systems engineering play a significant part in aligning an organisational in line with its objectives. Consequently, systems thinking aid project managers to determine dependencies between internal and external factors. Similarly, the integration of systems engineering and systems thinking help project managers to be able to address problems which cannot be easily handled using traditional top-down decomposition (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). As such problems are in most cases uncertain and complex. Ultimately, the integration of systems engineering and systems thinking are used to provide projects with a framework for viewing a project as a whole (Locatelli, Mancini, & Romano, 2014). These frameworks include approaches to acknowledge and dynamically frame complex problems. On the other hand, diagram tools are used to explore and map dynamic complexity. According to the Chief Counsel’s Report, it shows that BP had a noble idea regarding systems thinking only that the company was careless because the team was able to anticipate all the failures to an all-encompassing management failure.    
LO3

Summary

Systems engineering is a chief requirement for improving the successful delivery projects since it has the capacity to defeat the major drawbacks of engineering. These evils include complexity which is a major problem in projects which comes as a result of underestimation, lack of understanding that is the occurrence of problems in the course a project’s lifecycle and communication problems which often happens between engineers in the team within the organisation (Hybertson, 2016). As a result system engineering has become a significant milestone particularly in the project’s target for delivering complex systems. Consequently, through the application of appropriate systems engineering techniques, it is allowing project teams to effectively be in the position to manage complexity as well as changes that happen in the course of the project lifecycle. On the same note, the integration of systems engineering in project management has greatly minimised the time taken by the project to deliver new products unlike before. For a very long time innovation has always been affected by complexity due to products having a long lifecycle and involving incremental improvement approaches.
Nonetheless, systems engineering has come up with an appropriate solution to this problem. As a result, such problems call for suitable systems engineering standards and procedures to develop and maintain competitive project levels. Accordingly, through the use of systems engineering standards as well as procedures the industry of project management is making strides by penetrating the market and delivering exceptional quality products which loved by their customers (Wasson, 2015). Therefore, systems engineering is offering a rigorous process of requirements management which are highly supportive for project teams to delivering first-class products. Indeed, by creating high quality requirements, it means that project teams are capable of making sure that the design and of these systems echo user requirements.
Similarly, it also minimises the time of making modification s to the system requirements in the late stage of a project. On top of that, project teams stand a better chance to minimise the time of delivering the system to the users. Also, a part of declining the delivery time, effective application of systems engineering has significantly empowered project managers which has led to lifecycle savings.                   

Evidence

Indeed, well-structured systems engineering processes are crucial to any project team since it saves the project some money at some important stages such as operational use, disposal stage and system support of the project lifecycle. Systems engineering demands that the system engineer should have sufficient knowledge and skills about systems engineering standards and process in the application domain being developed. Also, a system engineer is supposed to have cognitive traits such that they are able to identify, think and provide solutions to problems during the project lifecycle both in a conceptual and real-setting domain (Hitomi, 2017). In the case of BP, the project, program and portfolio management of this project failed to effectively apply knowledge and skill of system engineering among its engineers. Despite the fact, the BP had highly skilled engineers who were able to recognise a flaw in the design for the cement used to seal the bottom of the well, the top management of the project judged this as a concern as a success (Kayes, & Yoon, 2016).
Similarly, the project team was unable to discern the initial signs of the impending blow-out. As a result, I would say that BP had the right engineers in place who were able to detect a flaw in the project early enough, however, the project team members failed to recognise the same which means that BP did not have enough controls (Long, 2018). On the same note according to the Chief Counsel’s Report, it also discloses that BP was much awareness regarding the problems facing Halliburton personnel as well as the work outcomes some years before the blowout. It was evident in 2007; a consulting company had issued a quality control report which gave a warning to BP about Halliburton’s laboratory technicians as not having enough experience to evaluate its data (Jacobs, 2016). As a result, BP was required to improve on its communication with Halliburton so as avert errors and unnecessary delays in the designing of the slurry testing (Beynon-Davies, 2016). Consequently, this information shows that BP did not have a worthy idea regarding project, systems engineering and program and portfolio management.            
LO4

Summary

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary part of engineering and engineering management which concentrates on design and managing of intricate systems throughout the project lifecycle. In this sense, system engineering uses the principles of systems thinking which views a system as a whole and not distinct parts. Accordingly, for a product to be developed both systems engineering and project management are required. Therefore, the success of a complex project depends on an integrated methodology of systems engineering and project management (Mir, & Pinnington, 2014). For example, features of a good system engineer include the capacity to maintain traceability amongst all components of system design such as components, functions, requirements, and verification.
Similarly, the same applies to a project manager, since an effective project manager utilises the work breakdown structure (WBS) which links all parts of the project. The WBS features are drawn to other project management objects like cost approximation, statement of work and schedule to ensure alignment of the whole project.

Evidence

The WBS is split into work packages which are used to authorise and to manage the work to be accomplished by the project. Consequently, a system engineer is always engaged in developing the WBS in creating related work packages. Thus, the alignment among systems engineering and project management is significant to the success of any project.
LO5

Summary

System engineering concepts are systematic approaches used in developing technical systems by ensuring that there is a gradual maturity of the system requirements and system design. Certainly, this process involves uninterrupted engagement of stakeholders and system integration checks. On the other hand system, engineering methodologies include risk management, optimisation methods, and work processes. Therefore, project managers organise projects by setting project management plan by early setting of expectations, defining scope, reviewing project progress alongside the plan, project scheduling, regular holding of meetings with project teams, effectively delegating the task to teams, anticipating issues and utilising project management software (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). Ultimately, systems engineering concepts and methodologies play a significant role in mitigating project problems.

Evidence

Problems are being mitigated by clearly outlining project requirements, working with the right team, spreading risks, effective communication among others. Indeed, if BP could have applied these ideas, they could have played a major part to save it from failing. Also, the same ideas could have helped Minerals Management Service (MMS) in managing the oil developers. 

Summary

Quite often project managers face constant pressure to decline costs, minimise development lead time as well as enhance the value of products or services. Accordingly, project manager regularly makes decisions that have incomplete information in the presence of crucial uncertainties and various conflicting objectives. Furthermore, the decision-making challenge is complicated by the interaction between other components of the organisation resulting in diverse perspectives to the problem. Project management demands that the decisions made are good thus they have to be justifiable regarding choices (Alias, Zawawi, Yusof, & Aris, 2014). Thus, systematic approaches play a significant part in enhancing engineering management decision making methodologies by offering effective, efficient, repeatable as well as communicative decision-making procedures and guidelines. Certainly, systematic methodologies offer the capacity to replicate, describe and communicate the decision-making process that aid in constant enhancement course. As a result, this enables project leaders to review their decisions and encourage the project to track and maintain precarious data inputs. On the same note, systematic methods result in transparency to the process of decision making. Accordingly, this aid in developing consent and quick implementation of decisions.           

Evidence

System decision process is a model systems that are used by engineers to advance the most suitable solution to a project. The system decision model is not only used by engineers but is also used by other professionals such as project managers. Accordingly, the systems decision process is significant because it is used to make appropriate choices from diverse options by accurately describing their problems, providing researched ideas and analysing given alternatives. Consequently, the systems decision process play a chief part in project management by allowing project managers first to take a problem, redefine and refined it into a better option. As a result, this provides project managers with the chance to determine solution ideas which agree with the requirements and then decide on the most appropriate alternative (Romiszowski, 2016). Therefore the initial stage of the systems decision process involves precisely framing and defining the decision problem. This stage entails identifying the desirable final state that is likely to be realised through research and reviewing of customer needs. The next step is performing a functional analysis which involves determining the project’s primary objectives as well as subordinate goals that are to be completed.
The next stage is designing a solution to the problem. This process entails generating unconstrained ideologies, refining them with constraints and combining significant features into specific alternatives and eliminating unfeasible alternatives. The process of generating ideas include brainstorming through thinking about how different concepts are able to associate with each other. These ideas are then analysed to figure out if they are capable of meeting the stated project objectives. The following step is a decision making stage which uses approaches such as value scoring. The last stage of systems decision process is known as solution implementation. This stage includes planning on the way to implement the decision that has been reached by executing it.
On the other hand, project management face some challenges which negatively impact its performance. Some of these factors include deadline, budget, and stakeholders among others. Deadline is a key component in determining the manner in which the project is managed. Certainly missing a project’s deadline creates a bad impression for the company. Conversely, accomplishing a project on time does not mean that it compromise quality, the project has to be concerned about time and also the quality of the product to be delivered (Beach, & Lipshitz, 2017). Similarly budget is key when it comes to determining project’s development and management. Project managers are required to ensure that they always deliver quality products but within the approved budget. Lastly but not least, stakeholders play a major role in the successful delivery of a project. Stakeholders help to ensure that all project requirements are outlined before kicking-off of the project. As a result, project managers should always involve stakeholders throughout the entire project.       

Summary

Project management is currently essential for companies to optimise procedures to see to it that they provide the best products or services when undertaking projects all through an organization. Consequently, the most important tool which enables project managers to become as effective as possible is the project management software (McMahon, 2016). Indeed, the incorporation of project management software has greatly enhanced processes (Kerzner, 2018). Accordingly, with a range of tools which are existent in project management software, they are significantly helping to drive forward projects by creating the following advantages.   

Document sharing: Since complex projects require the use of extensive documentation, document sharing tool are being utilised to enable project teams to edit, update report status as well as developing systems which facilitate for open and transparent communication.
Collaboration among project teams in real-time: Indeed, project management software often provides communication tools which aid teams to discuss matters in real time (Albrecht, & Spang, 2014). As a result, this communication tools enable each project team to be updated thus making it easier to deal with issues as soon as they arise.
Managing project costs: One of the most crucial aspects of project management is to control project costs. Therefore, project management software provides project managers with tools that help in managing the costs of projects.
Capacity to manage risks, budgets and forecasting: Some of the breakthrough brought by project management software include understanding risks associated with projects, tackling of project budgets and creating projects anticipations (Martinelli, & Milosevic, 2016).
Reporting abilities: Project management software has led to flexible report formats hence it is easier to gain access to the required data with much ease.  

On the other hand, while there are numerous significances associated with project management software it also has its drawbacks such as:

Project management software complicates projects: Although the use of project management software has become a common option for most companies, simple projects may not call for project management software. Consequently, when project management software is inappropriately used it is likely to complicate unnecessary matters.
Certain programs can be costly with diminutive return on investment: Even though project management software offers exceptional resolutions in most cases, these solutions have to be custom designed or solved by buying different software programs (Haz?r, 2015). Ultimately this may be at times be an expensive option which could be hard to implement.     
Evidence

Current business projects have become complex and sophisticated operations which comprise tasks, plans, budgets, and human resource. Therefore, all project features as well as processes ought to be optimised to make sure that projects are undertaken effectively and successfully with the greatest level of efficiency. Thus, irrespective of the industry project managers are nor shifting to project management software to aid them in planning, forecasting, running processes and ensuring that everything is well-structured in the most precise, and effective way (Verzuh, 2015). Consequently, with the modern project management software project managers can deliver the project under realistic deadlines and milestones, automating of project tasks, ensuring that project members maintain focus on deliverables and interdependent of the project task. Indeed, project management software has led to improved communication. For instance, a recent survey done by project managers and IT managers from the manufacturing, finance, telecoms, and IT services and business services in the United Kingdom indicated that approximately 60% of these sectors attribute the major cause of project failure because of lack or breakdown in communications. When it comes managing of projects, communication is paramount amongst the project team with immediate high-ups as well as stakeholders within the organisation.

Summary

Project portfolio is the core management of one or several portfolios which entails prioritising, identifying, managing, authorising as well as regulating programs and other related operations to be able to realise distinct strategic business goals. Therefore, project portfolio management (PPM) help the project by interrelating all project processes (Calderón, & Ruiz, 2015). In this sense, project portfolio management involves various techniques such as: portfolio management lifecycle: The portfolio management lifecycle is a process that identifies, group select, evaluate, balance, prioritise, authorise and review elements within the project portfolio to make sure that they are working well by comparing them against the major indicators and strategic plan.     

Evidence

System application help project managers in initiating, planning, designing, executing, implementing and closing projects. As a result application systems have led to timely project delivery and on budget products.   

Summary

There are countless application systems whose objective is to support the effective project, program and portfolio implementation in dissimilar project management industries. Some of these application systems include Zoho sprints, confluence, ServiceDesk Plus, the critical path, and teamwork projects among others (Heagney, 2016).

Zoho sprints: It is an unrestricted accessible agile project management implement developed for Scrum project teams for planning, tracking and iterating their operations in sprints (Stettina, & Hörz, 2015). The software work to ensure that project teams get prepared for changes in user requirements and developing the right produces in a timely manner.
Confluence: This is an open and collective workstation software that links people to concepts and information which is needed to undertake operations to the best of their ability. In this case, the project manager is required to create and store all the project requirements in a single place for ease communication amongst teams for quick delivery of the project (Ahmed, 2016). It is possible to integrate Confluence with other applications using application links which enable linking the confluence to an application such as JIRA software (Jabangwe, Börstler, & Petersen, 2015). The linking of several applications enable the sharing of information as well as accessing one application’s functions from within the other.
ServiceDesk Plus is a support desk as well as an administration software. The application provides incorporated package together with event management, asset tracking, convention management, purchasing, knowledge base and self-service portal at a cost-effective cost.
The critical path: it is one of the most advanced and robust enterprise project and portfolio management solution (Whyte, Stasis, & Lindkvist, 2016). The system application has embedded methodology, security, template, communications, and calendaring as well as unparalleled functionality and scalability for big organisations and developing ones.
Teamwork projects: Teamwork projects is a systems application which involves high-performance features which build exceptional workflows and bridge communication gap to allow teams to concentrate on getting activities accomplished (Kaiser, El Arbi, & Ahlemann, 2015). This application has several features such as time tracking, Gantt chart, task management milestones, and immediate high-level reports. Consequently, Teamwork Projects offers an outstanding shared platform which facilitates maximum efficiency and great performance teams with supplementary sustenance and security layers.       

Evidence

As a result of using appropriate project management software, it has resulted in collaboration (Archibald, & Archibald, 2016). Since the project has become complex projects tasks are assigned to specific teams and to ensure that all teams are on the same page project management solutions have helped to simplify project teams’ collaboration.  
LO10

Summary

The history of project management software dates back its contemporary origin to as early as 18th century. For instance, in 1917 Henry Gantt developed a scheduling diagram referred to as Gantt chart. Also, in 1957 the critical path method (CPM) was initiated. Furthermore, in 1962, another significant milestone known as Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) was launched by the U.S. Department of Defence (Patanakul, 2015).   

Evidence

The first beneficiaries to use the Gantt chart happened in 1931 by the Hoover Dam project. As a result, the Gantt chart is in use up to date a significant element of project management’s kit. On the same note, the CMP and WBS are still in use for estimating the period taken to design complex projects (Nicholas, & Steyn, 2017).    
Discussion and Conclusion
Accordingly, during learning, it was interesting as I was able to understand what system thinking, system engineering concepts, and application systems mean. Indeed, this knowledge is useful towards my project realisation because it has enabled me to understand that for a product to be successfully developed the project has to involve various activities such as planning, design, execution, and implementation (Locatelli, Mancini, & Romano, 2014). According to the project-based workflow, it shows that for a product to be successfully developed it involves a different process which interacts with each other to ensure the development of the desired product. Therefore, the project-based workflow is related to system thinking since it involves an interrelated process to produce an outcome (Archibald, 2017).
Similarly, it is also related to systems engineering because it involves a different process which is split into small manageable packages with the help of a system engineer (Svejvig, & Andersen, 2015). I found this course enjoyable as it enabled me to critically reflect upon how project managers undertake their responsibilities in a real-world environment. I am confident enough that the knowledge gained through this course will be of great significance not only now but also in my future endeavors as a project manager in the real-world setting.    
In conclusion, although system thinking and systems engineering concepts and methodologies are key to delivering success in project management, there are various inhibitors to project realisation. Some of the factors that inhibit project realisation include poor planning, lack of resources and poor time management. Therefore, applications systems should help in organising project activities, balanced resource allocation and time (Martinelli, & Milosevic, 2016). 
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Unger, B. N., Gemünden, H. G., & Aubry, M. (2012). The three roles of a project portfolio management office: Their impact on portfolio management execution and success. International Journal of Project Management, 30(5), 608-620.
Verzuh, E. (2015). The fast forward MBA in project management. John Wiley & Sons.
Wasson, C. S. (2015). System engineering analysis, design, and development: Concepts, principles, and practices. John Wiley & Sons.
Whyte, J., Stasis, A., & Lindkvist, C. (2016). Managing change in the delivery of complex projects: Configuration management, asset information and ‘big data’. International Journal of Project Management, 34(2), 339-351.

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