PPM 101: Prioritize the Work

Tom Mochal

Tom Mochal, PgMP, PMP, TSPM is the president of TenStep, Inc., a methodology development, consulting and training company. Tom won the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute for his work spreading knowledge of project management around the world. He is a speaker, lecturer, instructor and consultant to companies and organizations around the world.

One of the most challenging aspects of portfolio management is evaluating which work gets funded and which doesn’t. Here are some best practices that can improve the prioritization process.

Done right, project portfolio management can do a lot of good for any organization. But it’s not easy, as many companies, large and small, have discovered. In PPM 101, an ongoing series by veteran project management consultant and author Tom Mochal, we focus on the fundamentals for organizations that are just getting started on the PPM path.
One of the benefits of portfolio management is that you get to compare all of your work investments and determine which ones make the most sense to fund. This is a similar process that you perform with your financial portfolio. There are a myriad number of investments in stocks, bonds, real estate — you have to determine which ones you will invest in.
At some point there is a process required to evaluate all of the portfolio work to determine which work gets funded and which work does not. This is actually one of the hardest aspects of portfolio management. Up to this point, each manager and each organization has been identifying work requests and trying to quantify the work in terms of benefits, costs and how well the work aligns with goals and strategies. Now you actually have to use this information to make the tough …

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One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

- Dan Quayle