5 Perks of a Formal Portfolio Prioritization Process

You may already rank the projects within your company’s portfolio. But do you have an established methodology around the process that’s followed every time, no matter who’s sponsoring the effort or which project manager is reviewing it?

portfolio process

If your portfolio’s priorities are determined through an informal or ad hoc process (or no process at all), consider the benefits of putting some structure and consistency around how you arrive at those rankings.

1 – Boost performance by avoiding mid-stream changes

Problems often arise when senior leaders or sponsors change their minds about which initiatives should be at the top of the portfolio priority list. If these decisions impact one or more projects that are already underway, your team will be left to jump from one effort to another. Timelines will be paused, vendor contracts interrupted, and funding put into doubt for any hoped-for restarts. Maintaining good productivity or efficiency in this situation is nearly impossible and performance will surely drop. Using one formal process to establish priorities—and stick to them—provides you with a foundation for ongoing success.

2 – Maintain control of your resource management activities

Allocating resources across multiple projects is already a challenge in many organizations. Between narrow windows of availability for in-demand craft labor and lead time to recruit and onboard new team members with key areas of expertise, your business could find itself short of necessary resources at exactly the wrong time. If you have a consensus beforehand about which projects are high priority and which are not, you can dodge these complications. A formal prioritization process empowers you to exercise tighter control over resources and more accurately monitor their consumption throughout your entire portfolio.

3 – Protect resources for projects that truly need them

Though an initiative may meet your project intake criteria, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to ever reach the launchpad. These go-nowhere efforts can become long-term problems, occupying time and even draining budgets if feasibility studies or other activities are executed as part of their holding pattern. A prioritization process that’s clear, consistent, and tailored to support your organization’s strategic goals enables you to not only focus on projects that will deliver a solid return on your investment, but also helps more quickly identify projects that should be eliminated entirely because they’ve lingered at the bottom of the priority scale too long.

4 – Gain insight into your on-time project performance 

A formal prioritization process that’s consistently applied and followed enables your organization to better understand how well the team is meeting its on-time project delivery goals. You’ll have the data necessary to track execution metrics over time and review if your performance is continuing to improve or if you need a rethink to help move past a plateau. This insight is difficult to gather if your prioritization process is volatile from one review cycle to the next, or if it’s unevenly implemented based on which senior staff members or project team leaders are involved in ranking your portfolio’s projects.

5 – Improve your project team’s morale

 It’s demoralizing to devote energy and passion to a project, only to have it moved to the back burner in favor of something new and shiny. If that cycle becomes a habit in your company, it’s likely to demotivate and frustrate your team. On the flip side, knowing their efforts will ultimately pay off in the form of a well-executed project and strong performance metrics can boost your team’s morale substantially and lead to better job satisfaction. A formal and consistent prioritization process builds confidence among your team and demonstrates to them that their work is valued and important.


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