Have you considered project portfolios as part of your overall project management strategy? Here's a quickie teaser video to help inspire you to try. After watching, scoll down below for some things to consider.
You're basically treating a big bundle of projects as a black box. You don't care precisely what's inside; you care how it performs as a total package. In other words, how do all the projects inside a given portfolio perform as a unit for my company. Do they outperform another project portfolio? Do they cost more? Are they more (or less strategic) to the company?
Watch and scroll.
Why project portfolios matter
Project portfolios matter from a high-level management perspective. From the executive level, you're asking which group of projects performs the best as units. That includes revenue, customer satisfaction, follow-on business, cost, strategic importance, and other factors. A single project may perform poorly, but shows no significant risk to the porfolio as a whole.
Things to try
If you've never tried portfolios, here is the place to start. Begin by choosing Tools, Projects within the app. Click on a project, and assign it to a portfolio in the properties panel. Repeat with every project. Make sure every project is assigned to a portfolio. Now you're ready to view some of the graphs and run reports for a given portfolio.
You will still manage projects and tasks as before, but you'll also manage entire groups of projects without regard to the actual projects and tasks under them. Treat them like "black boxes" you can't see inside. You care about the performance of the entire unit, not the individual parts.
Who is managing each portfolio?
One of the first things to look at is, who is managing each portfolio. Are they doing well, or do they need assistance or even a mentor? As you view performance reports, consider how you might mentor the individuals managing each portfolio. Under each portfolio manager are several project managers. Leadership at the executive level means a lot to mid-level managers.
The basic numbers
The first thing you might consider doing is collecting the basic numbers for portfolios, and comparing them. Knowing how to collect numbers like this leads to high-level analysis. In other words, you can get more strategic after you have collected the basics.
Consider collecting these raw numbers from the portfolio:
- Total revenue
- Total cost
- Total resource commitment, in hours
- Some measure of the customers served
- Some measure of the strategic importance delivered
Revenue to cost ratio
How much is each portfolio costing, and what is its revenue-to-cost ratio? How does that compare with other portfolios?
Revenue to resources ratio
Consider developing a "revenue-to-resources" formula. A single number could represent the potency of project resources to produce revenue. Of course those resources have a cost, as described above. But in this case, you're measuring how resource hours result in revenue. In other words, how much revenue per hour worked.
You'll have the ability to check resource allocation on a project-by-project basis, and on a project portfolio basis. In other words, how are resources allocated for an entire collection of projects rather than just one. The image below is an example of such a graph.
If you’re a project manager, you should consider using project portfolios. Standard Time® can help. What’s a project portfolio? Basically, just a collection of projects. Want to see revenue for one collection of projects compared with another?
Want to compare estimated hours with actuals on an entire collection? Project portfolios let you view collections as “black boxes” without regard to the actual projects inside.
That’s a high level project management technique.
Get Standard Time now, and try project portfolios.