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How to decide which projects should be in a portfolio?

Portfolio management is the next big trend in the project space, but how do you actually decide which projects should be included in a particular portfolio?

It’s worth remembering that a portfolio should be used to provide an extremely high level overview of the projects and should not be concerned with details. Any metrics chosen to select and measure the portfolio should reflect this.

Metrics to pick which projects should go into the portfolio

Create a series of metrics to make sure you have consistent selection criteria for inclusion or exclusion of projects. They don’t have to be complicated but should make selection a black or white exercise.

Some example metrics could be:

  • The same project manager
  • Projects over a certain budget
  • The same type of projects, e.g. infrastructure, IT, business as usual etc.
  • The same customer

Who should have a say on the configuration of the portfolio?

When setting up a portfolio it’s worth having a team of people make the decision. This will stop unintentional bias that may creep in if only one or two people are involved. People to consider having on the committee are:

  • Portfolio manager
  • Senior executives
  • Financial manager
  • PMO manager

How should I roll out portfolio management?

In my experience it is better to start with a small pilot and iron out any hiccups before rolling it out to the wider organisation. Consider starting with a small portfolio of projects with less strategic impact to test that the metrics and process works efficiently.

Once you’ve worked out which projects to include in your portfolio and which to leave out, make sure you use a good tool to manage your portfolios effectively. With Psoda’s portfolio management tools you can group your programmes and projects into portfolios of work and then prioritise that work based on customisable key indicators. If you’d like to give it a try, sign up for a free 30 day trial.

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