IT Governance

How to Manage the Project Portfolio Solar System

Every project is a planet affected by the gravity of other projects, perceptible or not. The solar system of projects pushing and pulling on each other is the project portfolio, and project portfolio management (PPM) is about ensuring the solar system is not gobbled up by a black hole. Okay, the metaphors are getting more abstract, but the point remains—project portfolio management ensures that projects are cohesive and align with company strategy. In a post at the Digital Project Manager, Ben Aston provides a handy guide detailing everything you should know as you get started with PPM.

A Wide Orbit

A large aspect of PPM is understanding the value of ongoing and proposed projects. Important projects must be properly resourced, and strategically irrelevant projects should be prevented from ever getting off the ground. PPM likewise informs stakeholders to earn their buy-in on projects. PPM ensures that a good mix of low- and high-risk projects and short- and long-term projects are in the portfolio.

Aston outlines five steps to begin with project portfolio management:

  1. Create an inventory of projects and establish a strategy driving the portfolio.
  2. Analyze strengths and weaknesses of the portfolio. Evaluate individual projects and categorize findings in a way that makes sense to you.
  3. Measure strategic alignment and portfolio balance.
  4. Reallocate and reprioritize resources accordingly.
  5. Test and adapt your processes on an ongoing basis.

Aston then provides some pointers for after PPM is up and running, in order to ensure its continued success:

  • Accurate identification of risks and associated remediation strategies is critical and should be prioritized.
  • Don’t be afraid to cancel projects if they no longer align with company strategy.
  • Enable architects, IT planning teams, and C-suite to align execution with business strategy
  • Simplify time and task management for project team members, ensuring they have the freedom and flexibility to capture task and time data as necessary.
  • Accurate data is absolutely critical and should be prioritized. So should access to data, as delay in getting data can impinge on your decision making ability, as well as your ability to comply with regulatory requirements.

Since PPM is a big task, it is often smart to invest in project portfolio management software. Do your homework to decide which solution is the best fit for your business.

For further tips on PPM, you can view the full guide here:

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