Planning the Portfolio

As a Senior Business Process Consultant, Alan Shefveland has 33 years of experience facilitating business and technology transformation for companies. For the past 20-plus years, Alan has demonstrated leadership with project, portfolio and value management process implementations that span a wide variety of industry verticals, including finance, high-tech, light manufacturing, telecommunications and utilities.

Project portfolio planning efforts often stumble on seven common pitfalls, including outdated evaluation criteria and prioritization based on emotion. To avoid these missteps and produce better business outcomes, here is a best-practice framework that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your organization.

“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.” – Philip Crosby (Quality Guru)

I have had a number organizations tell me “just give me the process and I’ll execute it,” but portfolio planning is more of an art than a process. Tools like spreadsheets, metrics, scorecards and investment maps can provide insight based on past experience, but you still need to make the decisions.

Today an enterprise has (or should have) a well-defined strategy that outlines its performance objectives and how it plans to reach them. In order to deliver on those objectives, the enterprise organizes into multiple business units or organizations with their own unique operational objectives that contribute to the enterprise. Classically these organizations are focused around the operation of a specific asset type of the organizational value chain.

Portfolio planning is unique to the asset type, the distribution of assets, and to the performance objectives of the…

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"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions."

- Leonardo Da Vinci

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