The business world is fraught with uncertainty—about cash flows, tightening regulations, labor costs and availability, and fluctuating interest rates, not to mention market pressures as a result of constantly evolving competition. To remain successful in the face of so many unknowns, companies need to be sure they’re moving in the right direction and that their strategic decisions are based on sound, current, and complete information. The implementation of a proven project portfolio management methodology can help to instill some much-needed confidence in today’s turbulent world.
Confidence in your investments
It’s often difficult to get good visibility into how the company’s project investments are faring, and the complexities only increase as the number of active projects goes up. A portfolio view offers valuable insight into the performance of each initiative across every sector of the company. It’s also the best way to maintain awareness of how the results, progress, and resource consumption of any one project compares against others in the portfolio. The high-level information provided by a portfolio view gives executives confidence in how organization’s investments are doing and that the team has the data necessary to quickly identify, evaluate, and address any less-than-ideal returns before poor performance begins to erode a project’s value to the company.
Confidence in your schedules
When projects regularly experience delays or schedule upheavals, it impacts the entire organization. Everyone from project team members to internal support departments to the senior leadership group soon stop trusting the schedules they’re shown. By implementing a portfolio view, PMs will be able to identify potential resource conflicts across multiple and resolve them before they can negatively impact activities. They’ll also have the data they need to spot any other problems that could delay key milestones, allowing them to resequence tasks to ensure dependent activities stay on track and a challenge in one project doesn’t trigger challenges in other efforts, too. A portfolio view gives stakeholders confidence that the expected benefits of each project really will materialize, and that downstream initiatives will be able to launch and complete on time.
Confidence in your daily activities
When teams are constantly in firefighting mode, they never know what they’ll be working on next. This diminishes members’ ability to use their time efficiently and to make the best use of the resources that are available to them. Expenses—to cover rush shipping charges or pay high off-hours labor fees, for example—go up, while productivity goes down. The use of a portfolio view enables PMs to proactively deal with looming hurdles and head off emergencies before they have an opportunity to disrupt everyone’s daily plans. Team members have confidence in what’s on their plates at any given time and they know they’re always working on the most important tasks that will keep their projects moving forward.
Confidence in your resource estimates
Managing an organization’s human capital needs and availability can be an expensive and tricky undertaking. It’s particularly difficult when multiple projects are pulling from the same resource pools. Developing and sticking to a complex budget is also a challenge. One big benefit of a portfolio view is that the business can be confident that resource estimates are based on realistic reviews of upcoming activities and that resources are consumed in the most efficient way possible. PMs can look across the portfolio to identify where high labor needs or calls for other resources in one project can be matched against a lull in another initiative. Instead of incurring hefty expenditures to cover both simultaneously, these fluctuating demand curves can often be smoothed out to meet the company’s needs more cost effectively.