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Maintain an Organized Portfolio

Align portfolio management practices with COBIT (APO05: Manage Portfolio).

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Contributors

  • Ross Eagar, Associate Director – Project Sourcing & Fulfilment Office, ArcBest Technologies
  • Angela Johnson – Director of Portfolio Management, EHealth Saskatchewan
  • Three anonymous contributors

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Your Challenge

  • All too often, the portfolio of programs and projects looks more like a random heap than a strategically organized and balanced collection of investments that will drive the business forward.
  • Portfolio managers know that with the right kind of information and the right level of process maturity they can get better results through the portfolio; however, organizations often assume (falsely) that the required level of maturity is out of reach from their current state and perpetually delay improvements.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The information needed to define clear and usable criteria for organizing the portfolio of programs and projects already exists. Portfolio managers only need to identify the sources of that information and institute processes for regularly reviewing that information in order to define those criteria.
  • Once a portfolio manager has a clear idea of the goals and constraints that shape what ought to be included (or removed) from the portfolio and once these have been translated into clear and usable portfolio criteria, basic portfolio management processes can be instituted to ensure that these criteria are used consistently throughout the various stages of the project lifecycle.
  • Portfolio management frameworks and processes do not need to be built from scratch. Well-known frameworks – such as the one outlined in COBIT 5 APO05 – can be instituted in a way that will allow even low-maturity organizations to start organizing their portfolio.
  • Organizations do not need to grow into portfolio management frameworks to get the benefits of an organized portfolio; instead, they can grow within such frameworks.

Impact and Result

  • An organized portfolio will ensure that the projects and programs included in it are strategically aligned and can actually be executed within the finite constraints of budgetary and human resource capacity.
  • Portfolio managers are better empowered to make decisions about which projects should be included in the portfolio (and when) and are better empowered to make the very tough decisions about which projects should be removed from the portfolio (i.e. cancelled).
  • Building and maturing a portfolio management framework will more fully integrate the PMO into the broader IT management and governance frameworks, making it a more integral part of strategic decisions and a better business partner in the long run.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should maintain an organized portfolio of programs and projects, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Assess the current state of the portfolio and PPM processes

Analyze the current mix of programs and projects in your portfolio and assess the maturity of your current PPM processes.

2. Enhance portfolio organization through improved PPM criteria and processes

Enhance and optimize your portfolio management processes to ensure portfolio criteria are clearly defined and consistently applied across the project lifecycle when making decisions about which projects to include or remove from the portfolio.

3. Implement improved portfolio management practices

Implement your portfolio management improvement initiatives to ensure long-term sustainable adoption of new PPM practices.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Assess the current state of the portfolio and PPM processes

Call #1 - Assess portfolio mix.
Call #2 - Assess portfolio management practices.

Guided Implementation #2 - Enhance portfolio organization through improved PPM criteria and processes

Call #1 - Integrate standard portfolio criteria across all portfolio management sub-processes.
Call #2 - Review the SOP.

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement improved portfolio management practices

Call #1 - Create a stakeholder engagement plan.
Call #2 - Initiate the projects and engagement.

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Module 1: Assess Portfolio Mix and Portfolio Process Current State

The Purpose

  • Analyze the current mix of the portfolio to determine how to better organize it according to organizational goals and constraints.
  • Assess which PPM processes need to be enhanced to better organize the portfolio.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An analysis of the existing portfolio of projects (highlighting areas of concern).
  • An analysis of the maturity of current PPM processes and their ability to support the maintenance of an organized portfolio.

Outputs

Activities:

1.1

Pre-work: Prepare a complete project list.

1.2

Define existing portfolio categories, criteria, and targets.

1.3

Analyze the current portfolio mix.

  • Analysis of the current portfolio mix
1.4

Identify areas of concern with current portfolio mix.

1.5

Review the six COBIT sub-processes for portfolio management (APO05.01-06).

1.6

Assess the degree to which these sub-processes have been currently achieved at the organization.

1.7

Assess the degree to which portfolio-supporting IT governance and management processes exist.

1.8

Perform a gap analysis.

  • Assessment of COBIT alignment and gap analysis.

Module 2: Define Portfolio Target Mix, Criteria, and Roadmap

The Purpose

  • Define clear and usable portfolio criteria.
  • Record/design portfolio management processes that will support the consistent use of portfolio criteria at all stages of the project lifecycle.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clearly defined and usable portfolio criteria.
  • A portfolio management framework that supports the consistent use of the portfolio criteria across all stages of the project lifecycle.

Outputs

Activities:

2.1

Identify determinants of the portfolio mix, criteria, and constraints.

  • Portfolio criteria
2.2

Define the target mix, portfolio criteria, and portfolio metrics.

  • Portfolio metrics for intake, monitoring, closure, termination, reprioritization, and benefits tracking
2.3

Identify sources of funding and resourcing.

2.4

Review and record the portfolio criteria based upon the goals and constraints.

2.5

Create a PPM improvement roadmap.

  • Portfolio Management Improvement Roadmap

Module 3: Design Improved Portfolio Sub-Processes

The Purpose

  • Ensure that the portfolio criteria are used to guide decision making at each stage of the project lifecycle when making decisions about which projects to include or remove from the portfolio.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Processes that support decision making based upon the portfolio criteria.
  • Processes that ensure the portfolio remains consistently organized according to the portfolio criteria.

Outputs

Activities:

3.1

Ensure that the metrics used for each sub-process are based upon the standard portfolio criteria.

3.2

Establish the roles, accountabilities, and responsibilities for each sub-process needing improvement.

  • A RACI chart for each sub-process
3.3

Outline the workflow for each sub-process needing improvement.

  • A workflow for each sub-process

Module 4: Change Impact Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement Plan

The Purpose

  • Ensure that the portfolio management improvement initiatives are sustainably adopted in the long term.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Stakeholder engagement.
  • Sustainable long-term adoption of the improved portfolio management practices.

Outputs

Activities:

4.1

Conduct a change impact analysis.

  • Change Impact Analysis
4.2

Create a stakeholder engagement plan.

  • Stakeholder Engagement Plan
  • Completed Portfolio Management SOP