Make Your Project Portfolio Reports More Useful

You likely have some sort of project portfolio reporting process in place already, but are you staying in tune with the changing needs of both high-level sponsors and frontline team members?

portfolio report

Maybe your portfolio is evolving to encompass more initiatives, or to include projects with greater complexity or that are more closely tied to the long-term success of your business. Your stakeholders might also be hinting that their needs and expectations around reporting are shifting as the use of more powerful data management tools become commonplace in other areas of their jobs.

No matter the trigger, organizations are seeking ways to increase the usefulness and readability of their project portfolio reports. We’ve put together a few key capabilities that can help you get out of a static report rut to improve your process and keep stakeholders better informed.

Optimize reports to deliver the right views at the right times

Offering one report structure from beginning to end is no longer adequate. Your project sponsors, executives, and team members will benefit from access to different reports at various stages in your initiative’s lifecycle. Whether stakeholders are focused on risk assessments or budget reviews, your reporting process should be flexible enough to provide visibility into the areas that are most important right now. Tuning reports to meet these time-dependent needs enables your company to maintain awareness around your portfolio’s key issues and opportunities.

Tailor reports for different stakeholder groups’ needs

It’s natural for project supporters to seek out the data that’s most relevant for their specific areas of responsibility—financial performance, staffing requirements, workflow impacts, procurement planning, vendor scheduling, etc. A dynamic reporting process can accommodate each stakeholder’s requirements to ensure they have the information they need to keep their areas moving forward. Supporters and collaborators will no longer waste time digging for data applicable to their function and they’re likely to be better engaged as a result.

Customize the level of detail

In addition to providing a targeted view of your portfolio’s metrics, the ability to customize how much detail your reports incorporate is also tremendously valuable. Most executives prefer a high-level view while team members responsible for day-to-day project activities want more details, for example. Rather than expect the senior leadership to sift through mountains of data that doesn’t interest them—and that is very likely instead to confuse them—a well-developed reporting process will enable you to filter data to provide the most suitable granularity for each stakeholder group.

Provide on-demand reports

With data playing such a critical role in making the best strategic decisions for the organization, senior-level stakeholders increasingly expect real-time access to reports whenever they need to review key pieces of information. Portfolio reporting practices that enable complete and up-to-the-minute insight not only help support better and more timely decision making, they can also provide an important competitive advantage. The ability to promptly identify and resolve portfolio components that aren’t performing financially allows you to redirect funds to efforts with a better ROI. And flagging projects that represent an opportunity to jump ahead in the marketplace empower your business to maintain a strategic edge.

A robust reporting process offers other benefits, too. Flexible and responsive reporting requires the implementation of strong data management practices, a function that also enables you to know your portfolio information is always accurate and timely. And as your organization’s portfolio management strategy evolves, a well-developed reporting process will be able to mature along with it. This ensures you can continue to adjust your practices to best suit your business needs, even if your stakeholder teams and project types change over time.


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

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