Remote Project Management: Keep Your Portfolio Healthy

Portfolio management isn’t always the first thing project teams think about when shifting to a remote work structure, but it’s crucial that PMs maintain good awareness of the organization’s broader portfolio during times of transition. Driving productive conversations to enable that awareness, however, can be daunting when business leaders are working from home (WFH) or when project teams and senior staff are dispersed.

healthy portfolio

Some key steps can help ensure that everyone remains engaged in discussions about the project portfolio and committed to successfully moving priority initiatives forward.

Begin the conversation. If your organization is managing significant disruption such as the WFH transition triggered by COVID-19, it may be a struggle to shift the focus from a reactive strategy—quickly pivoting on existing projects—toward something as proactive as portfolio management. PMs should begin the conversation as early as possible so it’s on the leadership team’s radar. Choose a communication platform that enables you to provide important data points, such as a video conferencing solution that includes screen sharing. A full-featured approach will help drive engagement with your executive group and also give you the tools to distribute your project data most effectively.

Establish a priority structure. When business activities are thrown into disarray, your project portfolio needs to be reassessed. Take time to evaluate if and how the current environment has changed your priorities and choose which projects should be at the top of your ranking. A portfolio management application or similar technology is a good resource that enables your team and senior staff to access the overall list of projects remotely. They can see which initiatives are under consideration and you can work collaboratively with them to determine which are important and time sensitive, and which can be shelved for review at a later date. Once you have more clarity on how business activities are shaping up in your industry or region, you can then use the technology to carry out periodic reviews and update the project list as necessary.

Identify the first important milestone. With most of your team’s attention likely focused on immediate actions, you may not have good visibility into where the initiatives in your portfolio stand. To inform your plans going forward, you need to identify the first key milestone among your portfolio’s highest priority projects. Is there a go/no-go date that must be managed to either move ahead with that top-rated project or to determine it will be postponed, for example? Identify top-tier milestones and schedule a conference call to bring your key stakeholders together to discuss a plan of action to ensure any priority tasks can be executed on time. You should also flag the milestones—either within your portfolio management application or your project management software—so everyone is able to track them as they approach.

Ensure ongoing alignment with strategic objectives. Your company’s needs and resources may evolve in the coming months as the pandemic response moves into a recovery and adjustment phase. Your project portfolio should be evaluated against those changing needs to ensure the value propositions remain relevant. Schedule recurring meetings dedicated to assessing your portfolio and mapping it against the organization’s mission. A remote environment makes these periodic follow ups even more important, as they provide an opportunity for team members to gather new information on where strategic goals may have changed as well as where opportunities exist to restructure the project portfolio to be as efficient and effective as possible. Maintain ongoing communications through the use of on-demand project management software and other information-sharing technologies to ensure the latest updates are incorporated into the portfolio knowledge base.


PMAlliance, Inc offers project management consultingproject management training and projecportfolio management services.

Project Experience

Portfolio Management
Successful portfolio management calls for exceptional data management skills and diligent oversight across multiple efforts.
Demanding, time sensitive, and finely tuned, manufacturing projects require close attention and experienced oversight.
IT Projects
Organizations must be able to successfully execute challenging and highly visible technology projects to maximize revenue.
Power Plants
Power Plants must be able to keep these vital infrastructure assets current, efficient, and economically positive.
High-profile hurdles and expensive risks of failure make these projects critical to manage properly from the very beginning.
Presents complexities at nearly every stage, from allocating resources to controlling schedule variances, or clearing regulatory & safety hurdles.
Ensuring team members are able to move outside the silos of their department or discipline is the key to achieving success.
Product Dev
Design and other early-stage activities must be carefully orchestrated while maintaining visibility on future impacts and resource needs.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Among the riskiest and most strategically important initiatives a company can undertake, and their outcomes can make or break the business.
Finance & Insurance
Technology implementations call for the right level of planning detail and diligent oversight.
An ERP implementation can be among the most disruptive and strategically important initiative an organization can undertake.