Portfolio management has come to prominence in recent weeks after featuring on the ESI International Project Management trends for 2014 list and with the Project Management Institute rolling out its new Portfolio Management Professional qualification.
An earlier Psoda blog post gave an idiot’s guide to portfolio management that focussed on ideation, so I thought it was time to write again about the topic, this time looking at setting up an execution portfolio.
Portfolio management can be implemented across an entire organisation, a department or a particular change initiative. It’s worth remembering that, like most P3M activities, there is not a one size fits all methodology for portfolio management. Organisations need to make sure that whatever they implement works for them.
So how do you implement a portfolio management practice? Here’s a high-level overview of the process to set up a portfolio:
- Current state analysis
Before you can make any changes you need to know where you are currently. You should make a list of all of the programmes and projects currently being planned or underway and include information about the budget, current schedule, progress to date, forecast benefits, benefits achieved to date, risks and resource allocation.
It’s quite likely that at this point you will find a number of programmes and projects can be stopped or merged with others on the list.
- Build a portfolio pipeline
Now you have a list of planned and inflight programmes and projects, you can build a pipeline to ensure that work is evenly spaced and resources are allocated efficiently.
- Build a portfolio dashboard
Once you have a rough pipeline you need to come up with metrics to measure your programmes and projects against, as they move through the pipeline. This could include metrics like:
- Benefits achieved to date
- Risk profile
Just remember that any metrics you pick need to meet the particular needs of your organisation.
It doesn’t matter if information is missing, reporting on the portfolio should begin almost immediately and be enhanced as more information becomes available.
Regular and consistent reporting will help the portfolio manager and senior leadership team make informed, evidence based decisions about the state of the portfolio.
It’s important to have regular meetings with the programme and project managers to discuss the current state of the portfolio. This is a great opportunity to share lessons learned between projects, identify risks that need to be escalated, resolve resource conflicts or to share other pertinent information.
How can Psoda help?
Our portfolio management module is fully configurable and is designed to support the entire process.
- Set up portfolios
- Build a pipeline with workflows and stage gates to transition your programmes and projects through
- Configure indicators so that they are exactly what you want to measure
- View your programmes and projects in bubble charts so you can quickly and easily see those that do and don’t make the grade; and
- Run reports at all stages of the process to give real time, current updates across the portfolio.