You Need Project Portfolio Management – Just Not So Complicted

August 22nd, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Project Portfolio Management 0 thoughts on “You Need Project Portfolio Management – Just Not So Complicted”

An article at the Project Management Institute (PMI) entitled Project Portfolio Management Techniques starts out with a statement we often use at Plan Canvas as well:

“According to Gartner research, out of $1 to $2 trillion invested in IT deployments in North America annually 30% or $300 to $600 billion is wasted.”

That’s just in IT projects/deployments/strategic initiatives. The rate of failure is estimated to be about the same for all types of strategic initiatives, whether they involve IT or not.

It may be too much

The article goes on to define several key terms and components of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) as well as several diagrams to illustrate what PPM from an in-depth perspective looks like.

It’s all great stuff…if you are a larger company or are an expert in project, program, and portfolio management. If not, it can be a bit over-whelming, and a lot of it is overkill, especially for smaller businesses.

In other words, just like strategic business planning and execution methods and tools are usually too complex for small business, so is PPM. The end result? It too is ignored.

But it doesn’t have to be

There is still a need, even for a 1-person business or freelancer, to use good PPM methods – they just have to be stripped down and simplified so that they are affordable and realistic but still effective.

PPM Made Easy

Use a simplified approach to PPM

There are 2 types of project portfolios

There are both internal and external projects to include in your portfolio. Internal projects are “strategic initiatives.” These are things you need to do to better enable your business or meet certain long-term strategic goals. They are resource intensive, costing you time, money, or both. A simple example is the development of a website for your business.

External projects are things you deliver to your customer. They generate revenue. Examples include order fulfillment, a construction project, or perhaps you are building a new app for your client.

But they each have common traits

There are a handful of things you should keep in mind when defining a project and managing your portfolio, without complexity. Here is a simple list of things to do:

  1. Give the project a unique name.
  2. Identify the primary purpose of the project
  3. If it is an internal project, tie it directly to a defined strategic objective – if you can’t, don’t start the project.
  4. Prioritize the project as compared to others.
  5. Define the project target start and end dates.
  6. Identify who is going to “own” the project
  7. Identify any major milestones associated with the project
  8. Track progress – not started, started, complete.
  9. Track project health – Green = good, Yellow = caution, Red = bad.
  10. Be flexible with your portfolio:
    • Reprioritize as needed.
    • Don’t take on everything at once.
    • Delegate
    • Stay on top of it with regular reviews.

There is, of course, a lot more you can do in terms of project planning and PPM. The bigger the company, the bigger the project, the bigger the portfolio, the more you need much more involved PPM practices. But for small businesses, this list is generally all you need to start getting much better results.

Keep it simple

Don’t get too complex, and don’t throw out the notion of PPM simply because everything you’ve seen so far is just that – too complex.

Plan Canvas offers very simple PPM features for identifying, prioritizing, assigning and tracking your portfolio of projects – both internal and external.

Get started today or contact us for a demo.

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