This article will give you tips on how to successfully introduce and productively use Meisterplan in your company.
- Download Checklist
- Step 1: Complete Data and Configuration
- Step 2: Set Up the Process
- Step 3: Invite People Involved in the Process to the Tool
- Step 4: Train Participants in the Process
- Step 5: Set Up Meetings
- Step 6: Establish Responsibilities
- Step 7: Leverage the Knowledge of Others
Ensure you are using Meisterplan as productively as possible with this practical checklist.
Step 1: Complete Data and Configuration
After you get more familiar with Meisterplan, you will likely have additions and adjustments to make to the original configuration and loading of data.
The good news is that you can quickly make those adjustments to the configuration and data on your own. Adding a project field can be done in about two minutes, and adding a project only takes a few clicks.
- When configuring Meisterplan, we recommend that you also consider the requirements of your colleagues who will be involved in the PPM process. This ensures early acceptance of the software.
- Additionally, you should try to keep the configuration as lean and simple as possible. This keeps someone from needing to maintain a large amount of unnecessary project fields that are already included in the project status report. From the beginning, focus on the information that is really needed and helpful to the PPM process and making your portfolio decisions.
When configuring project fields or OBS units, the article "Configure Meisterplan for Your Business (Video)" will help you, and an overview of how to fill Meisterplan with your own projects and resources can be found in the article "Bring Your Own Data into Meisterplan".
Step 2: Set Up the Process
Meisterplan is the right tool to help you determine and complete the right projects with the right people. However, the best tool is no good without a robust and focused process. Only when you make sure that everyone in the company knows their role and responsibilities in the portfolio management process will you make plans that work.
Even if you already have a stable portfolio management process, now is a good time to refresh the understanding of all those involved and identify potential for improvement.
Make the Goals of PPM Clear
Remind your colleagues why steering meetings and project data maintenance is necessary: because Portfolio Management and Meisterplan will make your business more successful. You will be able to take on more projects, and more projects will be successfully completed. Plus, your employees will be happier because they no longer will be assigned to multiple projects at the same time.
Create transparency for your colleagues on why the effort put into meetings and project data maintenance is worth it:
- Portfolio Management gives your organization an overview of the status of your projects - both current and long-term.
- Portfolio Management helps quickly identify resource conflicts and project dependencies and realistically plan for them at an early stage. This prevents future conflicts and ensures capacity-based scheduling of new projects.
- If conflicts still arise, Portfolio Management helps you to analyze them and find possible resolutions to the conflicts.
- Realistic planning increases the success rate of your projects, which benefits your organization and your customers.
- Capacity-based planning increases the motivation of project teams with less overtime and more confidence in the plans.
- Portfolio management also serves as an information channel between the project team and corporate governance. Escalations can be better understood and resolved.
The Typical Project Cycle
What happens to a project throughout the PPM process? Recording a project lifecycle from start to finish is one of the most effective ways to make the process tangible to everyone involved.
- Show the different cycle steps from initiation to design to decision to execution and finally to completion. It's best to show the corresponding Stage Gates in Meisterplan.
The Lean PPM method works with clear stage gates for each part of the life cycle of a project. If you use this method for your process, the article "Customizing Meisterplan" shows which Stage Gates you should use.
Who Has What Role in the PPM Process?
A common understanding of the roles and responsibilities involved in the portfolio management process is the foundation of successful portfolio management.
- Determine what roles your portfolio management process includes, what tasks are fulfilled by that role, and which colleague will fill that role.
- You should discuss this proposal in a kick-off meeting with all those involved in the process, so that possible misunderstandings and assumptions can be clarified as quickly as possible.
- Also think of someone who can fill in for you when you're out on vacation or sick.
If you use the Lean PPM method for your process, you will find a detailed description of the corresponding roles in the article "The PPM Process".
What Meetings Do You Need?
After the roles and tasks have been clarified, the various PPM activities must be structured and committed to by scheduling regular meetings.
- Define the required participants, the expected input and output, as well as the rough agenda for each meeting.
Need help setting the agenda for each meeting? Download our meeting templates, customize them to fit your process, and bring them to the meetings!
- Download: Pipeline Review Meeting template
- Download: Portfolio Board Meeting template
- Download: Templates for more Lean PPM meetings
Which (Sub) Portfolios Do You Need?
The larger the number of projects in the company, the higher the complexity of portfolio management.
- Through decentralization and clear delineation of responsibilities, try to create clear sub-portfolios. In Meisterplan, you can use filters (for example, filter by project manager, department or stage gate) to create sub-portfolios and assign them to the respective editors.
- Clarify the needs of the various stakeholders and create the portfolios to firmly anchor Meisterplan into the process right from the start.
If you use the Lean PPM method, you will find an overview of the different portfolios that you should create in the article titled "Customizing Meisterplan".
Strategy and Scoring Criteria
Portfolio management delivers reliable results only when it is clear what value projects contribute to the overall corporate strategy.
- Explain to those involved in the PPM process how to develop scoring criteria, and inform them about the current criteria.
- If your company has no scoring criteria for projects, we recommend developing the criteria. This will provide you with an important tool to make secure and easy-to-understand decisions if there is any doubt regarding which projects should be done.
If you are using the Lean PPM method, see the article "Translate Your Corporate Strategy" for a step-by-step guide to developing and configuring project scoring criteria in Meisterplan.
Often, project portfolio management focuses solely on managing the portfolio of current projects. Just as important for realistic and value-oriented planning is the process of collecting and scheduling new project initiatives.
How do new projects get into the pipeline? Who is responsible for that? What information needs to be developed in order to assess and plan the initiative?
Answering these questions creates transparency for initiators and decision makers, and enables you to make long-term plans that work.
- Explain to those involved who can submit new project proposals, how to construct the proposals, and who to contact if they have any questions.
- Be very clear about who decides whether the proposed project will be approved for implementation or not, and at which point in the process this occurs.
If you are using Lean PPM, the article "Management of the Project Pipeline" gives more information about how to accept new initiatives.
Reporting is essential to portfolio management. The decision-makers want to know what capacity utilization is required, the project manager must state the status of the project, and the portfolio coordinator needs to see the strategic contribution of the overall portfolio.
- Determine the needs of each party prior to deployment, and configure the appropriate reports and assign access rights according to those needs.
You can find more information about reporting in Meisterplan in the "Reporting" section of the Help Center.
Communication of the Portfolio Decisions
This point is imperative for the acceptance of the topic of project portfolio management in your company. All those involved in the process spend time and effort delivering information and making decisions. After each run of the PPM cycle, it is therefore only logical that the process participants - and every other employee in your company - should be informed about the decisions made.
The project managers and teams would like to know if their project will receive further support.
The account manager wants to know if the project proposal for his client has been approved.
Specific individuals want to know which projects they will be assigned to.
- Communicate the portfolio decisions promptly and thoroughly. We suggest setting up a meeting to directly inform the appropriate project managers, and also ensure the information is communicated to all other employees.
Step 3: Invite Process Participants to the Tool
Once the roles and responsibilities have been determined, the process participants should be added as users in Meisterplan and given the appropriate user rights.
- To do this, use the "Add user" function in the Meisterplan user administration menu and specify the individual authorizations per user.
- We recommend that you first review the users and what user rights each individual should have. This allows you to perfectly implement the user system in Meisterplan from the start.
If you are using the Lean PPM method, you will find tables with the appropriate configuration for each role in the article "Customizing Meisterplan".
Step 4: Train the Process Participants
As soon as your colleagues have access to Meisterplan, it's time to answer the numerous questions about the Lean PPM tool itself.
- Depending on the needs and previous knowledge of your colleagues, give a crash course, work together on the first projects and reports, or just be available as a contact person as needed.
If the other users would like to teach themselves, simply send them the link to the Get Started section. If you can not answer a question yourself, consult our online Help Center or contact us and we'll be happy to help.
Step 5: Set Up Meetings
Everyone is prepared for the process and set up in the tool, so now only the meetings are missing.
- Choose how often you would like the meetings (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.), and set up regular meetings with the relevant portfolio management participants.
- Our templates help in focusing on each meeting's agenda. Print out a (customized) copy for every participant and bring them with you.
Step 6: Establish Responsibilities
In order to firmly establish the new PPM process in the company, it has proven useful to plan and start the regular meetings immediately. Give yourself and your colleagues the space to "try and improve" by scheduling a lessons learned meeting with everyone involved after the first PPM cycle and discussing which things can be optimized.
These include configuration elements in Meisterplan itself (for example, have you missed a specific project information field?), as well as the nature and execution of individual meetings and information flows. Being able to participate in the new Lean PPM theme and recognize its own benefits will give your organization much more motivation to live and develop the subject.
Many customers who have successfully implemented Lean PPM have their processes and responsibilities documented (e.g., on their company's intranet). Here again, simplicity, transparency and timeliness are more important than a 200-page manual that nobody will read.
Step 7: Leverage the Knowledge of Others
If you're not sure if there is an opportunity to further optimize your process or how to do so, contact us! We'll be happy to discuss your configuration and processes, as well as provide you with valuable tips from our experience with other customers.
Additionally, you can exchange best practice experiences directly with other customers in our online community at quest.meisterplan.com.
- Read our advice on 6 common mistakes you'll want to avoid when implementing PPM.
- Create a user account at quest.meisterplan.com and leverage the experience of other companies who have been using Meisterplan successfully for years.
- Join a roundtable web session with other customers, moderated by the Meisterplan Customer Success team.
Download our checklist here and check off what you've already done on your way to making plans that work!