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Posts Under "Portfolio Management"

5 Things to Consider when Initiating a Mega-Project
By Alan Zucker
Mega-projects (aka, massive strategic initiatives) are not just big projects. The scale and complexity of these undertakings can overwhelm the typical enterprise. To successfully execute mega-projects, enterprises should adjust and adopt their ‘regular’ approach to project management. Cooking is the best analogy to describe the difference between a regular project and a mega-project. On a daily basis I make dinner for four. I can easily scale to eight; but after that, my pots aren’t big enough and I don’t have enough seats at the table. On occasion, I have hosted large parties of 100. But, I could not scale to... Read More»

How to obtain the best ideas
By Alfonso Bucero
In any organization everybody has a unique viewpoint. These viewpoints generate a tremendous opportunity. In my experience working for multinational firms as a project manager, employees have many ideas for improvement of the work that impacts them. And in many cases those ideas are not collected by the management team. Some of these may be raised in the form of questions to the manager or upper manager. Why do we do it this way? Some may occur over lunch, in hallway conversations, or while the employee is performing a routine task. Although there is clearly no shortage of ideas within... Read More»

Are Your Metrics Meaningless?
By Patti Gilchrist
Data is an essential corporate asset, critical for the continued success of any business. Data empowers organizations to make critical decisions and drives strategy. Thus, organizations often enthusiastically collect and report a variety and abundance of data, with the mindset that more is better. However, if not managed effectively, this mass of data may not provide enough meaningful or measurable value and may actually produce misleading conclusions. When implementing a system of metric collection and reporting, there are potential roadblocks that can derail the entire process, leading to meaningless metrics. A common cause of error is an inadequate data collection... Read More»

Creating the Project Office - a Personal Story
By Randy Englund
Every so often a student posts a course review that thrills and delights me, even more than usual, mainly because it validates and vividly describes, in a most personal manner, my deepest intent. This review covers, in a way that should be of interest to many, a journey of creating and developing a project office, a journey that enlightens and informs others about pitfalls and best practices. The review also depicts the benefits of online educational forums—how the lessons learned describe and may be applied on the job. Here is L's story: "I was interested in taking this class [UCI... Read More»

Think and Work Differently
By Margaret de Haan
For any of you that have ever read anything that I have posted in the past, you know that I always lean towards doing what makes sense rather than what is written in some book. Each organization, culture, team, and Project is different, so why assume that anything and everything is cookie-cutter? With all of the specific steps in many of the methodologies, to follow them to the letter would make Projects so process heavy that you would never get anything done. Sure, documentation and process are required to avoid total chaos, but isn’t our role as Project Managers primarily... Read More»

Portfolio Management: Lamborghini Body on a Plymouth Horizon Chassis
By Brian Irwin
Having attempted rolling out project portfolio management at several organizations I can state with confidence that the portfolio management process fails to deliver on its promise to streamline an organization’s project pipeline and provide high value. However, it is not the fault of the portfolio management process. Rather, I have found that the fault resides primarily with how organizations are structured (refer to a prior blog post titled Portfolio Management: Is Modern Management Practice Compatible?). Another major issue is a lack of education and understanding of portfolio, program, and project management at the upper management level (think C-suite). It’s easy... Read More»

Do You Always Under Estimate Your Projects?
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
I got a request the other day looking for someone to do a workshop on estimating. Some engineers were interested in what projects really cost and how are these costs developed. It sounded like they were doing the estimating and were always wrong. If you do not understand what goes into an estimate and the process involved you will always end up with a poor estimate. In this article I want to give them, and you, the detail that goes into an total installed cost (TIC) estimate for a complex project (multi-disciplined project). This is an estimate that covers the... Read More»

"Manage That Pipeline!"
By Margaret de Haan
OK, so for those of you that manage the Project pipeline, I'm sure that many if not most of you have experienced those Charters that don't get approved, or die. The documentation gets completed, it goes to the powers that be, but somehow even though it doesn't get an OK2GO, it doesn't die either. It seems to perpetually stay on hold, but it keeps on getting brought up during the Steering Committee meetings, and six months or a year after its initial pitch, it is decided that the documentation should be reviewed, updated and reviewed again by the team for... Read More»

Portfolio Management: Is Modern Management Practice Compatible?
By Brian Irwin
I sat anxiously in the PMO Director's office waiting to present my proposal for an organizational portfolio management process implementation. I had spent the previous several months drafting the process and holding reviews with several key company stakeholders. My homework was done and I knew I would hit this one out of the park. The presentation spanned the next thirty minutes. What seemed like an eternity of silence had passed, but in reality was probably only 10 seconds, the PMO Director finally spoke his verdict. "Am I the only one that has major heartburn with this process," he stated. My... Read More»

Why Not Link Projects to Strategy?
By Randy Englund
Barriers to Implementation It is relatively easy to develop models for selecting portfolios of projects that are thorough and integrate objective and subjective data. When all is said and done, however, people may throw out the results and make a different decision. Sometimes the reason is a hunch, an instinct, or simply a desire to try something different. Sometimes people have a pet project and use the process to justify its existence, or a hidden agenda may be at play—perhaps the need to maneuver among colleagues, trading projects for favors. Politics at this stage cannot be ignored, nor are they... Read More»

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