Your company may already measure its success rate at the project level, but do you know how well your team is delivering its projects on a wider scale? If you don’t have a project portfolio methodology in place, you might not be seeing the big picture. When organizations don’t roll their projects up into a portfolio and have organized project portfolio management, they’re missing important data that tells them just how well their team is performing.
How many projects were delivered on time?
This information usually comes through when a project doesn’t meet its target completion date, and PMs often think this gives them a good enough handle on their success rates to identify problem areas. However, it’s easy to see late projects as one-off issues and leave it at that. Only after you have access to a portfolio view can you truly see the frequency of these delays and their effects on downstream efforts. For an organization that relies on multiple PMs to drive their projects to completion, it’s even more important to know how many projects were delivered on time because the portfolio-wide metrics may point to more acute issues with execution and individual accountability.
How well did the company’s investments in project management fare?
Though budget data is likely reviewed for each project, it’s possible these figures only catch someone’s attention when they’re over the original forecast. Instead of responding to problem areas, it’s better to have the information available to look across the portfolio of projects and identify where funds aren’t delivering the expected returns. Have anticipated productivity gains failed to materialize? Are planned cost-saving measures truly impacting expenditure levels? Compare instances where results have exceeded expectations against where they’ve fallen short and look for patterns, trends, and triggers.
Companies invest significant resources into projects, and there’s no way to boost your long-term performance unless you implement a strategy to manage the portfolio as a single system. The good news is that a portfolio view enables you to constantly improve your project management infrastructure.
What actions are needed to improve project success?
Only after you have the right metrics in hand can you then determine how to improve your on-time delivery rates and project resource allocation efforts. With a proven portfolio management strategy in place, your business will have the insight you need to get better at planning, executing, and controlling every project in the portfolio.
In some cases, you’ll discover your organization is taking on too many projects at a time. Better results may be achieved by adding staff to your project teams so you have more people available to tackle project tasks. It’s possible the organization would benefit from increasing the number of PMs to help you maintain better control over daily activities and ensure strong accountability within the team. To maximize your in-house personnel, it often makes sense to partner with an outside consultancy. These experts can take the burden of planning and control off your shoulders so your teams can focus their time on higher-level activities.
Where can waste be eliminated?
A broad view across multiple projects can also reveal areas where waste and inefficiencies have hampered performance. Are team members spending time fighting fires rather than executing tasks according to the project plan? You may need a project management methodology that includes more rigorous project controls and enables you to finally resolve recurring problems. Are low-priority projects consuming personnel and funding that might be better spent on more strategically important efforts? Once you roll your projects up into a portfolio and assess their health and performance at a higher level, inefficient practices can be identified and fixed.