Published here November 2003.

PART I | Reason 2 | Project-by-Project Decision Making
Lack of Clear Priorities | Combine Projects into a Portfolio Database
Establish a Portfolio Management Office | Typical Portfolio Management Process
Project Release | Improving the Prioritization Process | PART III

Project Release

Project managers with projects that pass the initial screening are authorized to use resources to conduct additional analysis and costing to provide the data required by the proposal templates. Although it is not common to do so, requiring multiple versions of proposals for large projects can be a good idea. For example, in addition to a base-case version, some organizations require project proponents to submit enhanced, decremented, and minimum cost versions for projects larger than some specified size. By providing project alternatives, organizations can avoid "all-or-nothing" choices for important, but resource-demanding projects.

Based on the formal evaluation, projects are prioritized and project "go," "no-go," and "hold" recommendations are made with the goal of creating a value-maximizing project portfolio. Project recommendations are reviewed by the executive steering committee and project funding for approved projects is authorized. Projects are phased based on critical paths to fit people and other resource constraints, with the most urgent projects starting first. Projects designated as "hold" may be resubmitted later (oftentimes project managers redesign such projects with the goal of increasing benefits and decreasing costs). The portfolio management office monitors the status of on-going projects to ensure that projects are on tract to achieve the anticipated benefits that motivate their being included in the selected project portfolio.

In addition, the portfolio management office should:

  • Define and develop the detailed, continuous process by which projects are evaluated, prioritized, selected, and managed.
  • Enforce a collaborative effort that enables senior executives (the steering committee) to reach agreement on portfolio objectives.
  • Provide coaching and training to project managers to help then to understand project evaluation criteria and to enable them to efficiently generate inputs for the project template.
  • Communicate to project proponents which projects are approved and project priorities.
  • Adjudicate resource conflicts between projects.
  • Maintain visibility of key project information across the enterprise.
  • Ensure that the project portfolio stays aligned with business objectives.
  • Identify lessons-learned and continually refine the portfolio management process.
Typical Portfolio Management Process  Typical Portfolio Management Process

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