Consider the Projects
Step three is to make sure that only projects that are critical to the business take place and that the projects that do take place are measured on the actual benefits they deliver to the business at the end of the project. Most organisations are currently failing in both of these areas.
These decisions must be made at the highest level in the organisation and portfolio management provides the mechanism for this (although you don’t have to call it that, particularly in smaller organisations, where it might be considered overkill).
When I’ve run project portfolios I usually work on a three year focus, with a quarterly review of the portfolio and a strict rule that nothing is bullet-proof. The most business-critical projects are always prioritised and anything else (including projects that are already under way) can be deferred or delayed. This way all projects are business critical and will get full top management support.
Up to now, not many organisations have implemented portfolio management and of the few that have, many still suffer from what I call ‘project amnesia’. Some people call it the ‘approve and forget’ approach as once they have approved a project they seem to forget all about it. So there is one final important fourth step, which we will look at next week.