Project Portfolio Management Tool Implementation

This Strategic PMO won the Stars of Excellence award for the outcome of this project.

The unique challenge

United Outcomes partnered with the Asian regional headquarters of a global insurance provider to help deliver a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) platform that significantly improved the management and reporting function for their regional programmes and projects.

Facing the challenge of no standard single system to track and manage their projects across Asia, they found it difficult to make data-driven decisions or have oversight across project costs across the region.

As a result, they were unable to provide their executives with transparency when it came to two of their most valuable resources – their people and their capital.

With limited project management experience and a project spend of US$200m plus, the client experienced poor-/low-quality deliverables, time slippage, overruns/underspend in costs, knowledge loss, lack of resource productivity and unsatisfied stakeholders.

Tools & thinking

United Outcomes partnered with the client to implement Planview, a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) platform to manage projects, programmes and portfolios of work across 11 Asian countries and 1,100 users.

The client was given additional support to fill some of the data migration, UAT and training capability needs.

With a range of new systems and procedures to implement, United Outcomes carefully guided the client through a phased pilot, training and launch.

Naturally, with a project of this size and scope, United Outcomes managed daily scrums, conference calls, briefings and communications.

We also created ‘Change Champions’ in each country as well as ‘train the trainer’ events to help local markets embrace the change process.

With so many variables the quality of the deliverables had to be exceptional – and we went the extra mile to ensure the change process was positive.

Success is never a straight line

No two days are ever the same – and you can never predict what curveballs you’ll be thrown, especially when delivering a sizeable project.

In this case, difficulty surrounding legal issues resulted in delays while some training needed to be re-evaluated which led to a change of approach.

When a project is being delivered into 11 countries, it won’t always be easy for everyone to see the value – and there will inevitably be resistance to change.

Every situation is different, but in this project we focused on what the client was telling us so we could build this into the training and building relationships with the individual Change Champions.

We worked on understanding the individual challenges in each country as due to various maturity levels, the pace of implementing Planview was not universal across the region.

Once the Change plan was signed off, we continually listened to the people in the business and adapted our approach in accordance with what we were experiencing.  


The PPM solution we implemented now provides one central system and one source of truth for project managers across the 11 countries.

The region can now manage their schedules, risks and financials while standardising governance and approval processes.

Following our engagement, business cases are automated, strategic alignment is tighter, time is better managed, and priorities are clearer.

The PPM solution was implemented on time and under budget, with 100% of the project portfolio for Asia managed in Planview within 8 months of the project kick-off.

The Manulife Strategic PMO team were subsequently awarded a Manulife Stars of Excellence award for the project, recognised throughout the business as exceptional work.