Project Management

Spring clean your portfolio: Setting clear priorities and roadmapping

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Earlier this month I looked at spring cleaning your portfolio to check for strategic fit and also to ensure resources were being managed appropriately.

Now it’s time for step 3 of my decluttering plan: setting clear priorities. You can’t keep everything tidy if you don’t have a plan for how to manage the space going forward. Otherwise, the clutter starts to build up again (looking at you, cupboard under the stairs).

It’s really important to set clear priorities for the remaining projects in the portfolio (the ones you haven’t swept away with the clean sweep brush) and develop a roadmap for execution that aligns with organisational goals.

You probably already have a strategic, portfolio roadmap, and if you haven’t reviewed that yet, it’s worth it, so you’re starting this section of the year with a fresh slate and clarity about where everyone is going.

Focus on high-impact initiatives

Scan through the portfolio and make sure projects are prioritised appropriately. Use scoring models and an alignment matrix, or whatever prioritisation model you have agreed with your stakeholders, to ensure everyone is focused on the high-impact initiatives. Typically, these are the ones which are relatively straightforward to deliver and have high benefits. You might use a PICK chart (let me know if you want me to write about PICK in a future article, it’s quite a useful tool to Google if you don’t already use it) or something similar to pull out the projects where it’s worth investing your time and resources.

Remember, even if you did this exercise a while ago, things might have changed. The business context is different now to how it was even 3 months ago, so it’s worth keeping prioritisation under review.

Create (or refresh) your roadmap

If you already have a roadmap, pull it up and check that the key milestones and timelines are still valid. Adjust as necessary, being as flexible as you need to be and flag anything that needs approval before it is updated. For example, you may have internal rules about the number of projects that can go live at any one time in an area and now the portfolio plan shows that guidance would be broken with the current timescales. Discuss internally and update so that you’re not overloading any single area with too much change at once.

Engage stakeholders

Finally – although this is something you’ll be doing throughout the spring cleaning process – check in with key stakeholders. They should be aligned and supportive of project prioritisation, both the process for assessing priorities and the final outcome of the prioritised list.

Hopefully, getting buy in is straightforward, because you’ve aligned priorities to the strategic plan and everyone can see that this roadmap is the best approach to making sure all the projects get the organisation closer to delivering on the overall objectives.

When all that is done, you can put down your dustpan and brush. The old stuff has been swept away and the portfolio is looking clean and refreshed. After your spring cleaning I think you deserve a well-earned rest!

portfolio management

Posted on: May 14, 2024 08:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Reshma Rizvi Scientific Project Manager| University Of Saskatchewn Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Well-explained and step-by-step approach for strategic alignment of the Project Portfolios, thank you, Elizabeth!

Michael Browning Director, Cybersecurity| Vanderbilt University Nashville, USA
Great insight - thank you for sharing!

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