Project Selection and PMOs

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Project selection is a widespread challenge that requires a single point of accountability — ideally, a strategic project management office — that can provide the infrastructure and information support necessary to execute a ‘whole portfolio’ approach that is flexible and adaptable to ever-changing needs.

In this series of articles I’ve started to look at different elements of the portfolio management process and last month I left off at the decision to develop a business case. The purpose of the business case should be to summarize the costs and benefits associated with a particular proposed project and help support the decision making around whether to approve that initiative for inclusion in the next period’s portfolio. In most organizations there are far more proposals than there is money, time and effort available for investment so this decision making is critical to driving success. Yet almost routinely the projects that are approved are subjected to significant change — cancelling projects, initiating new projects and approving fundamental change to the scope, schedule and budget of many that are kept. If so much work goes into developing business cases, and those drive the project selection process, why is there a need for so much change?

Business cases often aren’t

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room — or at least one of …

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"If you can't convince them, confuse them."

- Harry S. Truman

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