Let the data tell the story: Insights through accurate information

Campaign managers struggle with wild poll results. And for project managers, volatile data is a business challenge.

Have you noticed how adding to the craziness of the current election cycle is the fact that polls are all over the board?

Whether you’re Independent, Democrat or Republican you have to be scratching your head wondering what’s going on. Looking at poll numbers from Rasmussen released in the weeks after the party conventions in July, one would think the Citizenry was changing its collective mind every seven days.

One thing is for sure—both candidates must be struggling with how to spend campaign funds. How can they make sound decisions on where to direct resources with such volatile data? Say that, according to polls, you’re 1 point behind in Colorado. That’s striking distance and a good place to spend campaign dollars to advertise your message. If you’re 11 points ahead, however, it’s probably just a waste of money – it’s already in the bag.

When polls are all over the board – one telling you that you’re winning by five points and the next telling you that you’re losing by two, it’s hard to get the insight  you need.

Similar challenges for business project managers

Your organization is no different. People inside your company are using data to make important business decisions every single day. In today’s application economy, when key data is volatile and seeming to lack a directional trend, your business suffers as teams are not able to make actionable adjustments.

At CA, we understand the critical role that data plays in making strong and relevant business decisions. In fact, a key finding in our recent ethnographic study on Project and Portfolio Management was that today’s PPM systems produce data that is all over the board.

PMOs, saddled with the responsibility of driving business decisions, must feel like campaign advertising managers, sifting through copious amounts of data wondering what to believe.

PPM status reports miss the mark

The study clearly demonstrated that PPM systems are failing to provide organizations with accurate project status reporting, and we dug deeper to find out why.

First, we found users were simply not entering accurate data. Now, just like pollsters can’t make people tell the truth about which candidate they plan to vote for, PPM systems cannot force team members to make accurate entries. But we can look at the reasons why they don’t and remedy them. It comes down to this:

  • Users see time entry as a form of authoritarian governance
  • Users see status entry as burdensome, time-consuming and tedious

 

Team members don’t see any real value derived from the time spent inputting data, so they sometimes fabricate numbers just to get the job done—if they do it at all. And incorrect entries by team members virtually ensure further inaccuracies.

When project status isn’t correctly reported, related info subsequently entered into the system is also inaccurate, ultimately sabotaging the system’s ability to provide an up-to-date, single version of the truth.

Secondly, inconsistent data is also a result of the use of tools outside the PPM system. Many organizations still export PPM data into Excel to more easily amend and manipulate it, and then to PowerPoint to share it. While these external tools do offer familiarity, just the simple act of exporting data into them abstracts the information, removes context and eliminates the ability to drill down for deeper understanding.

Effective PPM is simple, fast and a delight to use

So, how can CA empower organizations using our PPM solution to drive more accuracy? Demonstrated by CA PPM 15.1, with each new release we’re committed to delivering a substantially improved solution focused on exceptional user experience that delivers obvious value.

At the core you’ll find streamlined simplicity, speed and ease-of-use that will help team members to embrace the system’s features rather than turn to external tools. The result will be a more fully leveraged solution with more accurate and trustworthy data that tells the true story.

Not being a pollster, we can’t solve the current election polling volatility. But we can work to make your PPM solution the most accurate data generator in your organization.


Jeff Moloughney is senior director of Product Marketing at CA Technologies, leading the company’s IT…

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