Effective portfolio management for teams, departments and enterprises
Portfolio management can support companies by assessing and aligning the range of projects that are ongoing. Its a valuable way of providing clarity as to where your organisation is out of balance, under-resourced, or under-utilised. Getting a better handle on your project portfolio can boost efficiency and give your teams focus.
In this blog, we outline two common problem areas in teams, departments, and enterprises where portfolio management can help with managing your company's project portfolio.
High level of expertise but no focus?
With a highly-skilled department or organisation that engages with stakeholders to complete business projects, there can be a risk of taking on too wide a range of projects. A broad focus such as this can make staffing difficult. New people will need to know everything about the many different services provided and face an almost impossible learning curve. Existing staff may struggle with a heavy workload and restricted professional development.
How portfolio management can help: Proper portfolio management will keep the focus on overall goals, creating a framework to guide decision-making. Your team can properly assess which projects can be executed well without straining existing resources and frame your hiring, training, and process-development needs.
Focused but unbalanced?
Often, organisations find themselves with an imbalance across different types of resources. Some teams are over-utilised because their specialism is in high demand, whist other teams have less to do. The result is that revenue is decreasing while staff costs remain the same.
How portfolio management can help: Communication is key here, along with monitoring of the current and projected workload and requirements. A clear view of the project portfolio means that expectations can be managed or recruitment/resourcing can be addressed.
Managing your company's project portfolio
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is a great place to start. Consider where your department or organisation's strengths lie and ensure these are being leveraged, without unbalancing the overall portfolio. Moreover, re-visiting your company's key strengths will give you the focus (and confidence) to address projects outside of this remit.
Consider the overall mission
A profit and loss analysis is fundamental to any business or team or department but there is also a need to consider the strategic value of projects. Almost all companies strive to be the best at what they do and serve a need that is well defined. Understanding the overall mission focuses the way in which business is done, facilitating an alignment of portfolio, interests, and goals.
Get everyone on the same page
With strengths and mission firmly in mind, it's imperative to get everyone on board, particularly at the top level. All the leaders in the company: CEO, project managers, line managers, HR, marketing, and sales must be on the same page. In turn, they will guide staff and influence their understanding of the organisation's goals encouraging cross-department cooperation, preventing silos and resourcing issues.
Monitor and review
Regular communication between managers is important to:
- monitor current projects and make any required adjustments
- review opportunities for expansion or complementing existing projects
- confirm everyone is working towards the same goal
- ensure balance and efficiency
While the above can be completed effectively without one, a Portfolio Manager can be a valuable asset too. He or she can evaluate current projects, provide a strategic overview, and communicate with all business leaders from a position of neutrality and keep all parties in alignment.