Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Project Portfolio Management: Managing the Project Pipeline

~ By Barry Muir

Orange rubber ducks lined up in order

For most service departments the demand for new projects will occasionally outweigh the department's capacity to do them. Whether it's due to financial constraints or skills being completely exhausted elsewhere, sometimes you just have to say "no."

Saying "no" is easy, it's deciding who to say "no" to.

Projects that bring the highest return on investment from the scarce resources available must be pushed forwards. Projects that drain resources and eat up the budget must be discarded, or at the very least, put on hold.

So how do you decide which projects stay and which ones go?

Give the Projects a Priority or Ranking

At what level this is decided will depend on the company, and the rank each project is given may need to change in the future, perhaps at short notice. But it's important to give yourself focus; to shorten that daunting list of projects and restore some perspective.

Assess Your Clients

How important is that new piece of HR software? If you've got high morale and a low staff turnover, perhaps it can wait. But if you're on a massive recruitment drive and the daily flood of CVs is proving hard to handle, then perhaps that new HR software should be a priority. But Finance are knocking your door down too…and Sales have been using the same system for five years…

Market Trends

Perhaps new regulation has brought the need for new processes, and therefore new projects. For example, when the Financial Services Authority (FSA) began regulating the previously self-regulated insurance industry in 2005, many brokers and insurers had to implement new reporting methods to comply with the regulations. Failing to meet the FSA standards would have led to large fines.

As you go through these steps, you'll find your projects will naturally begin to fall into groups, whether it's because they all have the same priority, the same client, or are as a result of current market trends.

Managing these groups, or any group of multiple projects, is called project portfolio management. Understandably, it's not easy. But having the right piece of project management software to assist you can prove invaluable.

Your software should enable you to see the impact each project has on your skills capacity. Managing large numbers of people across multiple projects is a tricky balancing act, so being able to track the progress of staff or contractors is essential.

But when bottlenecks appear and rearranging your resources becomes unavoidable, a 'what if' function within your software will help you assess your options so you can rebalance your workforce for real.

Digital timesheets will help you to capture the actual time taken on a project, and therefore accurately predict the time it will take to complete it. Where progress is visibly slow, additional resources can be drafted in, and project costs re-estimated.

It's the software's integration of timesheet and budget facilities that will consistently aid performance measurement, and help you to identify and remedy projects that require corrective action.

Managing a single project can be difficult, so managing multiple projects will never be easy. But with an intelligent piece of project management software to offer a helping hand, perhaps you can make project portfolio management a great deal easier.

And then maybe you won't have to say "no" quite as often.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
What is the day after Monday?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

10 Principles of Good Project Management

A project management workflow diagram written on yellow sticky notes

This article details ten solid principles of project management that are crucial to achieving your goals.

Project Management Checklists

Checklist

Checklists are underused in the planning and managing of projects. Here is a high level twelve-point checklist for use during project planning.

PMP vs. PRINCE2 Certificates

Senior lecturer in front of his class

What's the difference between the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications? Which one should I choose? Which one's better for my career?

Agile Through the Waterfall

Agile and waterfall tag cloud

Many organisations have adopted Agile practices into their development methodologies and they have proved to be successful for the organisation as a whole.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Aimee Windmiller-Wood commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Thu 23 February 5:06am

Liam commented on…
High Anxiety: Managing Projects With Your Pants Down
- Fri 17 February 9:27pm

Daniela commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Thu 2 February 3:21pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Help With My Project Management Dissertation https://t.co/EoVJgBqYum #projectsmart #pmot about 4 days ago

General Project Management • Prince2 Advice https://t.co/pP7mAnGTJP #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Interview Help 30-60-90 Plan https://t.co/BNA7TTqz1I #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago