Enterprises do a lot of things to improve how projects deliver value. They look to define resource capacity calculations, identify the project pipeline, enhance reporting capabilities, etc. The list goes on and on, a veritable smorgasbord of PMI terminology and PMBOK processes. When you back up a bit, and look at each of these options from a macro standpoint however, you begin to see some fundamental trends.
The reality is that from a purely technological standpoint, many of these bells and whistles serve one of two masters.
- Portfolio Structuring (aka Governance)
- End to End PM Information Systems (aka the Data Required to Support Governance)
Portfolio Structuring / Governance
All of the AHP heuristics, resource forecasting, and dark scheduling arts in the world won’t get significant value out of a portfolio that has not been structured properly. Instead, you’ll be spending a lot of time and energy tweaking a sub-optimized system where you’re still either working on the wrong projects or can’t explain why the ones you’re working on are correct.
Identify which projects belong to which programs….and which programs support which strategic initiatives. Only then, can you really determine when (and how and by whom) the project should be chartered.
Portfolio structuring also helps you become more proactive in your candidate identification.
Caveat: that probably only applies to second tier portfolios – but identifying the difference between the tier one and tier two portfolios is part of the portfolio structuring exercise.
E2E PMIS / Data
Too often, we walk into an enterprise and see various point solutions for managing specific elements of the project lifecycle. As study after study points out, the key to effective portfolio management is to create an end to end repository for all project information. Start with the idea, move it through selection and out into execution. Gather information throughout the lifecycle. Don’t be creating information from scratch every time you hand the project off from Team A to Team B. Simple.
The data you collect in the PMIS then becomes the grist to enhance the decisions made in the governance layer.