Blog 03 Aug 2020

Why integrate Agile and PPM tools

Written by: Ben Raper

Two solutions are better than one: why you should consider integrating Agile with PPM tools.

In all Agile methodologies, there’s a focus on breaking down development into smaller components. This is great for development teams and managers, but it can leave the PMO and the C-suite without the big picture they need.

So, how do you balance strong development execution with the strategic insight business leaders need to make the most informed project decisions? For some enterprises, the answer is to take the Agile tools they already use and customise them to support a broader remit. But we’d argue this isn’t the right answer.

Across our customer base, we’ve seen more and more organisations combining best-of-breed solutions, rather than weighing down a single platform with custom code and extensions. Those that have committed to this strategy see several benefits across their IT estate – and their business as a whole.

In this blog, we’ll explore four of these benefits, and how integrating Agile tools with a project portfolio management (PPM) solution can help you balance strategy and execution – without compromising your Agile development principles.

Why can’t you just extend your Agile tools?

Whether your business uses Rally, Jira, or any of the other Agile development tools on the market, you likely started using them for one reason: to manage Agile initiatives more effectively. Powerful and flexible as these tools are, asking them to do something else pulls them out of their comfort zone – and asks them to support business areas for which they weren’t designed.

Extending an Agile management solution also risks overloading employees with the wrong information. If everyone sees the same dashboards, then the PMO and C-suite will have to wade through the minutiae of sprints, tasks and epics – all things they don’t need to see to make business decisions.

Meanwhile, developers will see overall costs, project progress, and other high-level metrics that take their attention away from the tasks at hand.

Leave the portfolio-level analysis to PPM

By integrating a PPM solution with your Agile tools, your organisation gets a strategic reporting layer across your project portfolio – while keeping the dedicated solutions your development teams rely on for individual projects and initiatives.

This approach offers four major benefits:

Manage all kinds of projects under one umbrella

For companies that mix Agile development with traditional waterfall methodologies, integrating PPM and Agile tools offers a way to track all projects, initiativesand sprints in a single tool.

Because all the data feeds through to your PPM, it also allows decision-makers to compare apples with apples. So even if different development teams are measured on unique KPIs, business leaders cansee the common metrics that show how those different projects are performing and contributing to strategic objectives.

See a joined-up picture of portfolio performance

With the ability to make like-for-like comparisons across all development projects, the leaders in your business can quickly assess:

  • Which projects are directly contributing to the business’ overall strategy
  • The progress of each project, ongoing costs and estimated delivery times
  • The progress of each project, ongoing costs and estimated delivery times

With these insights, decision-makers can make more informed choices that will keep projects on track, and keep them aligned with your objectives. And they can help you produce annual plans, books of work, and other strategic roadmaps that guide your business forward.

Get best-of-breed PPM and Agile solutions.

If you extend a single solution to handle lots of processes in your business, you’re shackled to that tool. So, if it has any areas of weakness, you’ll see these shortcomings across many different processes.

If instead you integrate several solutions, you can pick the best of breed for each category. For example, you can pair your existing agile planning tools such as Jira with a solution like Broadcom’s Clarity PPM, which was named a leader in Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for PPM.

Or you could pair your PPM solution with Broadcom Rally Software (which Gartner also named as a leader in Enterprise Agile Planning Tools). Then, if you want to bring other reporting solutions into the mix, you can select the best solutions for each category to get world-class performance across the business.

Avoid bloated, customised project management systems

If your business tries to manage everything through a single tool, it will inevitably need to add a lot of custom code to meet the needs of diverse business units. Custom code isn’t a problem in small doses. However, lots of it can result in bulky systems that can be difficult to manage or expand in the future.

Custom code also creates a single point of failure, as the consultancy or developers responsible for designing it might be theonly ones that really know how it works. If they leave your business, you run the risk of no one truly understanding your business-critical systems.

Integrating is easier than you think

There are many benefits to integrating PPM and Agile tools. However, there are a few things to consider before beginning your integration project.

For most businesses, the technical side of integration won’t be too great a hurdle – especially if you have a partner with deep experience implementing PPM solutions. However, there is some preparation required at the data level to ensure your solutions deliver the deepest, most actionableinsights.

That’s exactly what we’ll look at in our next blog, PPM & Agile integration starts with strong data. It will look at some of the things to consider before you start integrating PPM and Agile to get the best value from your solutions.

In the meantime, if you’d like to explore the benefits of integrating PPM and Agile tools further, you can learn more from this Broadcom eBook about the benefits of combining Clarity PPM and Rally Software.

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