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Managing the IT Project Portfolio: A Project Ranking Methodology

calculationsWhen there are multiple projects you care about, it can be difficult to prioritize.  A paper by Randall Alberts of Georgia State University suggests that a proper project ranking methodology could be the key to success.  Defining perimeters and identify projects is only the beginning, so Alberts points out the highlights of project portfolio management:

The goal of project portfolio management is to identify and prioritize an organization’s projects so that appropriate resources can be applied in a timely manner.  To accomplish the goal, systems must be established to provide ongoing project status reports to enable shifting resources to complete projects that support the organization’s top priorities.  Equally important, these status reports serve to identify projects that do not serve the organization’s mission so that they can be stopped before critical resources are spent.  Like many things, managing projects as part of an IT portfolio often shakes up culture of an IT organization, especially when “business as usual” is disrupted.  Senior organizational leaders must be committed to weathering the storms of change in order for project portfolio management to succeed.

You are going to be met with resistance when dealing with any area of business.  Alberts notes that the majority of the resistance that project portfolio management will meet will come from areas with their own “pet projects” to protect.  Implementing good PPM standards might disrupt or derail these projects.  As unhappy as that may make some people, it will be better for the organization as a whole in the long run.

Establishing a project prioritization model should include optimize the use of resources and improve reliability, among other things.  Furthermore, it should serve as a watchdog for redundancy and negative action.  Numeric, color, and tiered systems can all be used for prioritization, so there are multiple options available for your organization.  Project prioritization may not please everyone all the time, but it is a necessary part of successful project portfolio management.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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