Companies don’t always have the necessary tools or the level of project management proficiency in-house to create and maintain accurate project plans. The situation creates plenty of challenges when trying to plan and execute a single project, but if the organization has an entire portfolio—where multiple initiatives are underway at varying stages of completion—the difficulties are magnified. Efforts are further complicated if different sub-group has their own project management methodology to develop scopes of work, assess risks, estimate resource needs, schedule tasks, and report progress.
As each project moves ahead, these disparate internal teams may soon discover they have gaps in a number of areas. Their strategies around risk management might miss critical hazards, for example. They could be overlooking opportunities to allocate their resources most effectively. In addition, because they’re maintaining individual project silos in different parts of the company, the teams don’t have a good way to take advantage of economies of scale, driving up their expenses in the long run. Any cracks that appear are further amplified if more than one project encounters problems.
Eliminating the one-off approaches and bringing all of your initiatives under one project management methodology provides significant benefits. If shifting your strategy seems like an uphill battle (even PMs sometimes resist change), consider why using a single methodology to drive every project in your portfolio can deliver big advantages.
1 – Access to better data at every level. The information that’s gathered and tracked when everyone is working under a common methodology is far more reliable and accurate. You’ll know that each cross-functional group and project sub-team is managing their data in the same way, giving PMs the ability to consolidate and compare information without worrying that specifics metrics may not be consistent from one project to another. That makes reports useful to executives who are looking at rolled-up data for the entire portfolio, as well as project team members reviewing information at a more granular level.
2 – Improved risk management efforts. Identifying potential risks is more straightforward when every project employs the same methodology. Rather than relying on individual, subjective risk assessments, the organization will benefit from a consistent approach. This is helpful at the project level as well as when viewing risks across the portfolio, such as where staffing conflicts exist because multiple project teams plan to utilize the same set of people during the same time-frame. The use of a common methodology makes it possible to address those types of risks at the portfolio level and ensure that each project can move forward knowing their plan is achievable and realistic.
3 – More effective application of project controls. When there’s uniformity in the way your company plans and executes activities from one project to the next, the controls each sub-team uses to maintain visibility over progress can function more effectively. Delays are accurately identified and any anticipated downstream impacts from an issue that emerges in one project can be assessed and a solution developed before the effects have a chance to ripple out across the rest of the portfolio. This leads to better outcomes, fewer last-minute surprises, and repeatable project success.
4 – Increased resource efficiency. The adoption of one project management methodology across the entire portfolio enables better use of personnel, whether they’re internal employees or vendors. This ongoing consistency is a critical component in knowing that the resource estimates—labor availability, skills requirements, etc.—your PMs generate for each project are accurate and comprehensive. With a common strategy in place, your budget forecasts will also be uniformly structured, with contingency fees and other line items that are easy to understand and evaluate.