Project Management

Spring clean your portfolio: Portfolio review

From the The Money Files Blog
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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from RebelsGuideToPM.com.

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Here is the Northern Hemisphere it really feels like spring has sprung. Evenings are lighter, there is less rain (and while the garden won’t thank me for saying it – we had a soggy start to the year so this is something I’m really pleased about) and I don’t know about you but I’m feeling like I’ve got renewed energy for a spring clean. It truly is the season of starting fresh.

That goes for project portfolios too. If you haven’t looked at the work you’re doing across the organisation, across your department, or even simply your personal workload, then now is a good time to take stock of what’s still outstanding and what (maybe) is no longer relevant.

Are you ready to spring clean your portfolio? The way I’ve been thinking about this is in 3 steps. First, we assess and rationalise, which I’ll talk about in this article. Then we review resource optimisation and reallocate where necessary. Finally, we set clear priorities and a roadmap to take us through the rest of the seasons until it’s time to review again.

Step 1 is decluttering – you might have already done some spring cleaning at home, and now is the time to do the same for your work! So let’s share some strategies for renewal and realignment.

Review the current portfolio

First, take a look at the current project portfolio. Make sure your list of projects is up to date, and that it’s complete. There shouldn’t be any projects that have snuck on to the list without the proper approvals, but if there are, add them formally.

Check the basics for each project: they have formal approvals, there is an assigned project manager, they are hitting their governance milestones or anything else that is the normal for your portfolio.

Identify performance issues and misalignments

Next, identify performance issues, overlaps where several projects are tackling the same thing, and any misalignments with strategic goals. Make sure reporting is up to date and source new reports if they are not. Look for milestones that have been missed or risks that are not managed. When was the last time there was a peer review or an audit? Check that each project still meets its financial objectives and is still viable, with a business case that has been recently reviewed and a benefits case that still makes sense.

Review the ‘go’ criteria

Refresh your criteria for project assessment. Remind yourself of how decisions are taken about pausing, continuing or terminating projects. Do you need to update any criteria or measures around financial performance tracking? Perhaps there are new metrics to include.

Review how resources are allocated to live projects and check everything on the list is a good fit strategically. You might not end up changing any of your criteria or measures, but it’s still worth the effort to run through them and check they are still fit for purpose.

Involve your stakeholders

Finally for this step, talk to stakeholders so you can build in their perception of project value and potential. Are there any projects that sponsors have fallen out of love with? If so, these could be taken off the list and the resources reassigned to projects that will add more value.

Next time, I’ll look at step 2 in your spring cleaning plan, which is dealing with resource optimisation.

portfolio review

Posted on: May 01, 2024 08:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Financial Management Specialist | US Peace Corps / Cameroon Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
"Identify performance issues and misalignments" This is a great point

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Md. Golam Rob Talukdar Project Manager| AWR Development (BD) Ltd. Cox's Bazer , Bangladesh
Excellent , Spring cleaning at home

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