Successfully compile and implement project portfolios
It’s a situation that often occurs in companies: many projects, limited resources and a deadline by which sales figures must be achieved or the new product must be released.
In this situation, decision-makers ask themselves two key questions:
- Which projects and tasks should we do to add the most value to the company?
- How do we ensure that the selected projects and tasks are ready by the deadline?
With projectfacts, you simply compile your desired project portfolio and compare it with alternative scenarios. In this way, you can assess in real time which portfolio will provide the greatest benefit and whether the existing team capacities are sufficient. Integrated project management supports you during implementation. With it, you can work agilely, classically or hybrid. In this way, you get the maximum for your business goals.
In companies that work on a project basis, HR employees must first request approval from the project managers before they can approve a vacation request. For this purpose, various approval steps can be added, e.g. by supervisors or project managers. A new option is to use special vacation managers for approval. They can be defined per capacity.
Many projects, limited resources, one goal
Prioritizing projects is often not easy, because strategic goals compete with fast turnover, internal projects with customer orders, small projects with large projects or schedules with available resources.
Faced with this tension, many companies resort to what they think is the simplest solution. Projects are processed in a rigid pipeline and whoever shouts loudest for resources gets them.
This method is pragmatic and helps those involved to manage ongoing business. At the end, however, there is often disillusionment: we have again missed sales targets, the product does not meet expectations, or customers are dissatisfied because deadlines have not been met.
A better solution is one that defines in advance which goals are to be achieved by the next milestone. The milestone can be the quarterly closing, a planned product release, a trade show, or something similar.
Tools from multi-project management
The tools that help companies achieve their goals are called project portfolio management and program management. They are special forms of multi-project management, but differ in their basic understanding.
Program management looks at projects that are working towards a common goal. The projects do not necessarily have to be related to each other in terms of content. The aim of program management is to control the individual projects in such a way that they make the best possible contribution to achieving the overriding goal.
Project portfolio management
According to project portfolio management (PPM), projects in a company compete for available resources – material, machine time or personnel capacity. The aim of PPM is to select from the entire project landscape those projects that offer the greatest possible added value for the company under the given conditions.
Both approaches aim at selecting and managing projects from the existing project landscape in such a way that they make the greatest possible contribution to achieving the company’s goals within the given restrictions (limited resources, etc.).
With projectfacts you make use of this basic idea. With the help of virtual milestones, you plan in advance which tasks and projects you want to realize by the deadline. You can see the effects in real time. This allows you to try out different scenarios until you are satisfied with the result.
The following two examples use specific use cases to show how portfolio planning helps companies plan and implement their projects.
An agency plans the coming quarter
Agency work is often very dynamic and order peaks and revenue gaps are close together. In order to achieve the quarterly targets and at the same time not overload the team, it makes sense to plan the project portfolio for the coming weeks.
Often, individual large customers compete with a large number of smaller projects. Certain tasks are particularly profitable, while others are strategically important for collaboration. Let’s assume you are in charge of the agency and have set yourself the goal of achieving a turnover of at least 80 thousand euros in the coming quarter. To achieve this, you have a team capacity of 2000 h at your disposal.
With projectfacts you set up a virtual milestone and schedule it for the end of the quarter. Now you can select tasks from your project landscape and assign them to a virtual milestone. This milestone collects the work packages that you assign to it across all projects and provides you with statistics on them.
In this way, you can check whether you are achieving your goals with the selected project composition and compare it with alternative portfolios. You also ensure that the available capacities are sufficient to handle the projects in the portfolio.
A software developer plans the next release
Release planning is central to IT companies that have their own software product. It involves questions such as …
- Which features should be developed by internal projects?
- Which customer projects should be included in the next release?
Both project types compete with each other and additionally with tasks in the daily business, such as fixing bugs or hotfixing. Let’s now assume that the following goals are to be achieved with the release:
- Revenues of at least 60 TEUR.
- A share of internal feature development of at least 30%.
You can use color markers to identify internal projects. If you then assign these projects to a virtual milestone, you can see the proportion of internal projects in the corresponding statistics. By creating multiple milestones, you can map different scenarios and compare portfolios with each other.
Process and monitor projects in the portfolio
projectfacts supports you not only in planning your projects, but also in the actual implementation. Depending on your philosophy, you can use a conventional work breakdown structure or manage your projects in an agile manner. Hybrid project management is also possible. This allows you to combine classic planning with iterative project execution in accordance with the Scrum methodology.
Simply assign tasks to your project team. Via the task manager, you can see the complete overview and your employees can see the tasks that are pending for them. On it, your team members can book times and change the status of the tasks if they are currently in progress or already ready for acceptance.
A further feature of the project tool is that you can set up controlling specifically for your milestone. You are then not dependent on keeping an eye on several projects in parallel, but receive information on exactly the work packages assigned to your milestone via a central dashboard. This way, you can see at a glance whether your project portfolio is developing as desired.
Ready to manage your project portfolio with projectfacts?
Then contact our consulting team now. We will be happy to help you with the setup. You don’t have a projectfacts account yet? Get access for free here.
Header image: © congerdesigm pixabay.com (2019)