How to Create & Manage a Project Portfolio

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Project portfolio management is a process by which organizations and enterprises can arrange, view and analyze their current projects. It is commonly used to prioritize the various projects; they are usually sorted into different categories such as finance, growth and benefit. Project portfolios ultimately allow the board or a managing director to get a wider view and a deeper understanding of the company's current undertakings.

Compile an inventory of the business's current projects. Include every undertaking that the enterprise currently has, no matter how small. Provide enough descriptive information for each project so that they can be compared and managed. For example, detail the project's projected financial cost, its intended aims, benefits, estimated duration and how the project supports the company's overall strategy.

A housing company, for example, might compile an inventory that contains an anti-social behavior initiative project, an estate regeneration project and a new build. The company may also write that the estate regeneration project costs $1 million, will take an estimated 3 years to complete and will house 800 new families.

Upload this information electronically; this will ensure that the data can be compared more quickly and more efficiently than by a human team. Electronic data can also be transferred via email and handed to the company directors immediately.

Arrange a meeting for the company’s managing directors and department heads (portfolio management team, or PMT). These individuals will have the widest knowledge of the business and can make informed decisions in the best interests of the company. Ask them before the meeting to look over the data and absorb the information for discussion.

Ensure that the portfolio team agrees on the criteria for prioritizing a project. Issues such as finance and benefit are commonly used to determine priority, but other issues such as potential may be considered.

Call the meeting and prioritize the current projects undertaken by the company. Priority should be given to projects based on their financial, growth and benefit potentials. The highest-priority projects will require constant attention, while other lower-priority projects may be held or dropped from the company's agenda entirely.

Reevaluate the company's project management by calling the PMT together on a regular basis. Arrange quarterly, monthly or even weekly consultancies and discuss whether certain projects need more support (thus raising their priority) or can be dropped further down the list.