Mentor Transforms IT to Achieve Project Visibility and Improved Communication Across the Business

About Mentor

Mentor is a leader in Electronic Design Automation (EDA), developing software and hardware tools to enable companies to manufacture electronic products faster and more cost-effectively. The IT department is globally distributed with approximately 250 members supporting 5,500 employees who are located in 29 countries across 86 locations.

Challenge: Disconnected and Insufficient Tools

Mentor’s IT group had a poor track record of completing business application projects on time. Projects flooded the funnel but only a handful were being completed on schedule and all were costing more money than anticipated. Some projects became known as “super tankers” as they lacked objectives and success criteria, had no formal project change management or defined ROI. Over time, concern grew at the executive level with projects being late, cost overruns and no available bandwidth to take on new strategic initiatives. At one point, IT had 105 forecasted projects with only 40 being completed by year’s end.

“Projects were being started ad hoc with little to no consideration of priority, strategic fit, value or our ability to execute,” says Brian Tharp, IT PMO Manager at Mentor. “Project management and project collaboration were being done in spreadsheets, SharePoint, email, and other tools that were disjointed and siloed. This created chaos that led to overcommitted resources, unrealistic estimates, long project durations, and missed or delayed deadlines.”

Before IT could lead change for the company, the CIO needed IT to change first. The CIO identified three levers: People, Processes, and Technology. These drivers represented an opportunity for IT to partner with the business and create transformational change.

Solution: Integrate Project Collaboration with a PPM Tool

Mentor took a 3-phased approach to gain control over its resources and portfolios.

  1. Establish IT project governance. Governance laid the foundation for the process, brings accountability to the people, and forges a partnership between business and IT to work together to deliver value.

Mentor established a charter and goals to ensure IT resources work only on the initiatives with the highest strategic value and ROI. A strategic portfolio view fosters collaboration and transparency to a consolidated list of projects so IT can answer fundamental questions such as, “Are we working on the right projects?” and “Are the right skills available?”

With the people and processes framework in place, the IT group moved to technology.

  1. Implement a single project management tool across IT. Introducing a common tool ensures everyone speaks the same language, collaborates effectively, and tracks all work in one consolidated platform.

Mentor chose Projectplace because it addresses every requirement outlined by the CIO, including mobility, cloud enabled with out-of-the-box functionality, flexibility to track all projects, and elimination of email for project-related activities and status reporting. With minimal training, the newly formed PMO was able to educate more than 600 Projectplace users. There are more than 560 active projects currently managed within Projectplace.

“Projectplace makes everyone a PM,” says Tharp. “It has been so successful with managing IT projects, many other departments have adopted it to do everything from recruiting and operational maintenance to personal “to-do” lists. We are definitely achieving significant ROI.”

  1. Implement mature resource and portfolio management. Planview Portfolios allows Mentor to strike a balance between the work collaboration of Projectplace and the rigor of a portfolio management solution.
“Planview Enterprise gives us visibility into the true, full cost of each project, including internal resource costs we never considered in the past.”
– Brian Tharp, IT PMO Manager, Mentor

Mentor uses Planview Portfolios for project forecasting and currently has more than 100 active projects in the tool. With a reliable source of truth, IT has a better understanding of the level of risk associated with each project, something it never had before to help with prioritization. Insight into IT resource demand and capacity helps Tharp and his team identify when resources are being over- or under-utilized. Now, IT has hard data to justify they are working on the right projects with the right resources.

“Planview Enterprise gives us visibility into the true, full cost of each project, including internal resource costs we never considered in the past,” says Tharp. “We finally have a consolidated list of all projects and functional portfolios and it’s all in one place.”

All changes are synchronized instantly, a critical feature that allows people to do their work in Projectplace and have it reflected inside of Planview Portfolios with no additional steps. Mentor has reduced their dependency of spreadsheets, emails, and other one-off tools.

Benefits: Cohesiveness Between People, Processes and Technology

Since implementing Projectplace and Planview Portfolios, Mentor has:

  • Established strategic initiatives that are staffed and moving forward
  • A 94% on-time project completion rate, up from only 50%
  • A single source of truth for all project information
  • Improved prioritization of projects through alignment with strategic objectives
  • Complete synchronization between Projectplace and Planview Enterprise to view projects and resources
  • Improved credibility of IT and enhanced relationship with the business

To learn more about what Planview® solutions can do for your organization, visit