And Why Hasn't My Project Started!
Possibly the single most important imperative derived from centralizing all of your projects into one single place - a portfolio - is to decide which projects you will be able to start and when. That is, your forward-looking portfolio schedule. The three main constraints for positioning project start dates are capital, staffing, and risk confluence. Downstream from the identification of top initiatives, staffing the project as well as risk confluence (and accumulation) with other active projects become the main constraints in scheduling the start dates of top initiatives.
Most organizations are so resource constrained, relative to the demand placed on their portfolio, that resource availability becomes the driving factor in determining the portfolio's forward looking view. A preliminary understanding of the general scope of a project is necessary in order to determine its resource needs. Once you know the resource requirements, analyzing resource utilizations becomes a valuable tool in answering questions such as "When will the Top Initiatives start?" and "Why can't my project start right now?" In addition, understanding resource utilization allows the opportunity to balance resources to avoid extended periods where resources are over-used or under-used, and to determine skill sets that might we be lacking.