Blog 17 Aug 2020

PPM & Agile integration starts with strong data.

Written by: Ben Raper

PPM & Agile integration starts with strong data. Here’s how to get the most from it…

If your organisation manages lots of projects at the same time, you’ll know the challenge of balancing development execution with strategic oversight. With developers and business leaders often wanting (and needing) very different things from project management tools, trying to bend a single solution to serve both will inevitably leave one group out in the cold.

That’s why we recommend integrating discrete Agile tools and PPM solutions instead. By combining Clarity PPM with an agile management tool such as Rally or Jira, we’ve seen organisations empower developers without compromising the project portfolio insights leaders need to make effective business decisions.

You might be thinking, ‘If this is such a strong approach, why isn’t everyone doing it?’ The truth is, successfully integrating two solutions like this can require some upfront planning to deliver the best results.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the key things to consider before you start integrating, and how the right process (and help from an experienced partner) can help you get maximum value from your PPM and Agile solutions.

What gets in the way of successful PPM and Agile integration?

For many, an integration project may make them think of a deep technical challenge. In the case of PPM and Agile though, the technical side of integration shouldn’t scare you off. In fact, depending on the solutions you choose, it might not be a roadblock at all.

If you use Broadcom Rally as your Agile project tool, and you want to integrate it with Clarity PPM, the two can share data and connect right out of the box. While things are a bit more complicated if you work across multiple vendors, the right partner can easily integrate other Agile tools with your PPM of choice.

However, even if your systems can talk to each other, they need to speak a common language to offer the insights your developers, project managers and business leaders need to see real value from your solution.

Address the Agile/PPM data problem

The challenge with integrating Agile and PPM solutions is that Agile and traditional project methodologies use very different terminology and often track different data. You can’t give stakeholders the strategic portfolio view they need if your tools are trying to compare apples to oranges and summary tasks to epics.

For example, how do the features of an Agile project map to tasks set out in waterfall? What about initiatives and projects? Does a KPI like ‘percentage of code churn’ match to an equivalent metric on a non-software project?

To get real value from your PPM and Agile integration, you need to be able to answer these questions. And not just for a handful of KPIs. You want every metric to be consistent across projects to ensure key data isn’t split across columns in your reporting dashboards. 

Where should I start?

Tackling all your Agile project data fields at once is a daunting prospect. Instead, we recommend starting small and building up.

Metrics around funding, headcount, and value delivered are a strong place to start. They offer a strategic view of how a project is progressing and the value it adds to the business. These KPIs will also force you to think about what data you’re tracking, and how to present it in the same way across different methodologies and project types.

Once you see how these figures progress, you can start adding additional metrics over time to get a more strategic view of the project portfolio. Of course, deciding what to add, and when, is where things can get complicated.

A simple path made even easier with the right partner

While there are many things to consider before you start integrating your Agile and PPM tools, we’ve hopefully shown you here that it doesn’t need to be a scary, complicated or off-putting process.

However, there are still plenty of areas where you can benefit from having an experienced PPM and Agile deployment partner on hand. From solving technical hurdles across solution providers, to strategic planning and data optimisation, the right partner can ensure your integration is smooth and provides maximum value to your business leaders.

When choosing your partner, it pays to find an organisation with deep experience implementing your chosen PPM tools. As a tier one Broadcom partner, Ignite Technology has helped deploy and integrate Clarity PPM for all kinds of customers. We’ve also consulted with customers to develop data strategies that ensure a smooth integration – and deliver clear, actionable insights to business leaders.

If you want to learn how we can help you get the most out of your PPM and Agile tools, get in touch with one of our PPM integration experts.