Project Management

Balancing Act - Managing Project Portfolios

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Managing competing priorities while striving to keep costs in check across an entire enterprise is the stuff of ulcers, high blood pressure and negative stress. For CIOs it’s a weight they must carry every day.   Most folks can’t imagine what it must be like to have a portfolio of projects that represent 5, 10 or even 100 man-years of effort at any given time. Even more difficult to imagine is the stress that comes with trying to keep the rest of the organization happy with the information technologies needed to leverage the business as each department or division wants what they want when they want it.  
With the emergence of the PMO and the demands of IT Governance, CIOs have been forced to get their project management act together, which in some ways has improved the quality of the outcomes achieved while in other ways has added more paperwork, more reporting and more work than ever before.
No matter how you slice it CIOs have their hands full when it comes to managing the project portfolio. The diagram below illustrates the constituents that the CIO must support and satisfy; each with their own needs, own issues and expectations and all pulling the CIO in different directions.
So what’s a CIO to do? How can the CIO level the playing field, deliver more value and improve project throughput? Here…

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."

- George Bernard Shaw