How to Manage a Project Portfolio

Project Portfolio Management is a term that’s used to describe how project managers and business analysts organize, prioritize, and show relationships between multiple active and proposed projects for their organizations.

Sound portfolio management enables key business executives to make informed decisions about project priorities and enable a more focused project delivery process. Many organizations are able to transition away from barely managed chaos as a result of implementing simple portfolio management practices.

Let’s take a look at the various elements of a project portfolio management process. (For the complete process and supporting templates, check out the Project Prioritization Organizer.)

First, you’ll want to establish a template for submitting new project requests to be considered as part of a portfolio. Using a template ensures that all projects are evaluated from the same perspectives, and considered given the same information.

Second, you’ll want to capture all of the projects in your portfolio in a simple project list. Ideally, this list is rank prioritized by a Steering Committee and contains information about the scope of each project and delivery timelines. While the focus of this list will be on active projects (i.e. projects that are currently being worked on by your delivery team), you’ll also want to start a backlog of pending projects so it’s clear what’s coming as soon as resources are freed up to work on it.

Third, you’ll want to establish a project prioritization process that guides you and your executive team through considering new requests. Often this process is managed through two primary meetings.

  • You’ll have a regular Steering Committee Meeting (bi-weekly is ideal for most organizations) to review new project requests with key stakeholders and decide where to slot them in to the ranked priority list.
  • You’ll have a regular Project Delivery Team Response Meeting (a few days ahead of your Steering Committee Meeting) to enable your delivery team to provide an informative response, often including an estimate, on new project requests.

Once your project portfolio management process is in place, your organization will be able to deliver projects in a more focused way. And the organizational buy-in you experience from a prioritized list of projects will help your work inside each project proceed more smoothly as well.

>>Get the Project Prioritization Organizer

project-prioritization-organizerv2The Project Prioritization Organizer contains all the templates and processes you need to implement a project portfolio management process, as well as a guidebook to walk you through how to implement this process the first time through.

Click here to learn more about the Project Prioritization Organizer

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