Data Visualisation in Programme, Portfolio, & Project Management

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Why is data visualisation important in Programme, Portfolio & Project Management?

Our Consultants have seen growth in the use of data visualization tools over the past decade, where now many companies rely on dynamic and live business information for critical decision making than anytime previously. We also have seen an increasing demand for sophisticated data visualization technology by businesses who see the benefits of harnessing data and leveraging analytics to put their organisation ahead.  

10 Reasons why you should visualise data in PPM

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1. Contextualise and make information accessible

Channelling project decisions through visualisations are a vehicle for communicating on change transparently and inclusively. This is fundamental for any transformation programme, but often overlooked and easy to get wrong as project communication is usually upward. Team action summaries and infographics can help convey complex information in an accessible and understandable way. We’ve created data-based visuals which have helped organisations communicate to their audiences which improve comprehension and engage teams. Live automated dashboards are a fast way to contextualise and make information more accessible.​ 

2. Better Rationalisation for Cost Optimisation

Visualising cost ensures that project managers can quickly check their performance against budget or baseline. It’s a great way to cut through complex financials, bringing the most important calculations to the fore and giving them context across time, categorisations, geography and more. We’ve helped clients understand and prioritise their potential portfolio for the next budget year by visualising the impact of ‘what if’ funding scenarios. This rationalises funding requests by providing context to executive leadership.​ 

3. Unveil a 360 Degree View of Programme Information

Transformation programmes have many cross dependencies and problems often arise late and long after leaders should have known. Combining and coordinating processes can be a difficult task. Visualising the underlying data helps digest complex issues before consequences multiply by analysing performance and even build predictive models for the future. MI-GSO|PCUBED used data visualisation tools to integrate client data from 5 different systems and external reports which gave an instantaneous view of changes and the number of days a dependency had missed its target​. Businesses have a wealth of data at their disposal and integrating data at source through a visualisation tool is a fast and smart way to see a 360 view of information. 

4. Understand Supplier Performance

Visualising procurement data can help organisations better understand their purchasing patterns, identify opportunities for cost savings, and optimise their supply chain. Spend analysis, supplier performance, contract and inventory management can all be visualised using a combination of heatmaps, scatterplots, bar charts, stacked and line charts or timelines. Our consultants created a project budget dashboard for a manufacturing client to track capital and operational spend, visualising performance against budget baselines across the phases of each project. Supplier performance is a useful visual to enable benchmarking. We helped a financial services client visualise which suppliers were adding more value than others to quickly assess performance in revenue, resources, and milestone targets. 

5. Navigate the Data Maze

Keeping projects on the correct path to progress is not always straightforward and understanding program risk allows leaders to prioritise. RAID management logs are widely used to assess risk appetite and navigate issues. MIGSO-PCUBED transformed many organisations RAID logs by centralising and simplifying the collection, monitoring, and tracking information. Visualising RAID makes it easier for program leaders and project stakeholders understand their risk for timely and potentially crucial interventions. We’ve built dynamic dashboards to help our clients manage risks and issues – from categorising by severity level and creating automated risk probability heatmaps to harnessing risks before they become issues. 

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels

6. Demystify Problems and Find Solutions

Our clients have often implemented PPM tooling but struggle to use the data to see the bigger picture. Health check digital dashboards​ enables PMO’s & Project Managers to assess data inconsistencies which lead to problems in understanding timelines, forecasts, risk, resource requirements, and more. In large scale programmes with multiple tasks being managed by various stakeholders, it is often difficult to maintain consistent standards in plans, and visualisation helps enhance quality quickly and in real time. This benefits organisations with whom we’ve worked by helping identify key areas for improvement and trends in misuse of PPM tools by end users. 

7. Unlock Team Potential

One of the biggest challenges facing businesses is creating a culture of transparency and accountability to encourage efficient, productive, and engaged workforces.​ Over time, visualising resources can identify potential career opportunities while enhancing collaboration across teams. A resource picture can give insights into what their teams are working on in real-time, giving them a clear view of skills shortages and resource dependencies, which are often the root cause of bottlenecks. Digital dashboards are particularly useful as you can view from individual, team, or project level through a variety of visuals such as tree maps, bar charts & heat maps. 

8. The Art and Science of Stakeholder Management

Certain metrics can be used to map stakeholders, a methodology used to understand who project contributors are, as well as their motives and interests. Displaying this data through visuals such as maps, radars, and quadrants makes it easier to digest the information, enhancing decision making power. Our consultants leveraged data to identify stakeholders along with their influence and interest levels, by building an automated interactive stakeholder map. This surged engagement and advocated the transformation programme. Another digitised visual is a competency radar, which helps identify skills and strengths to enable to enable the analysis of training needs. 

9. The Power of Predictive Analytics

Digitised schedule dashboards allow efficient, and timely communication with stakeholders. Visualising schedules or plans can shape strategies, facilitate understanding and enhance collaboration, making improvements sooner rather than later. A powerful way we depict milestones is by creating automated real-time Gantt charts driven by logically connected activities to show downstream impact. Over time, large programmes can benefit from predictive analytics to identify utilisation or duration patterns across their projects, by leveraging their historical data. 

10. A Magnifying Glass on your Scope

Many programmes fall into severe delay. Visualising scope helps to understand the goals of a project, formalise actions to increase velocity, or control delays and budgets. Visualising backlog data from sprints helps create comprehensive automated priority charts. This provides live dynamic planning and scope control to aid organisations in understanding how changes impact their timelines and cost. 

Conclusion

Data visualisation can revolutionise decision making, eliminate complexity and empower teams to overcome hurdles efficiently and logically. The ten visuals described here are proven in helping organisations select the correct strategies for a successful portfolio, programme, or project delivery. 

This article was written by Niamh Glennon, Technical Manager.

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