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Experiments With Project and Portfolio Management: A CIO Perspective

During a project with an international airline company, DD Mishra identified four areas of focus when attempting to improve project cycle time.

The first step is establishing a baseline, determining how long the process takes for projects. Mishra broke all the projects into smaller like groups and looked at the ones that had been completed in the last 6 months and noted how long they took from start to completion.  This established the standard that was used to determine the baseline.

Next the outliers were analyzed, and using a standard deviation method they were assigned a +/- 1, 2, 3 and beyond. Anything with a +3 or greater delineation was focused on to figure out what held up the process.

After the bigger outliers were dealt with it was time to focus on projects that diverge by more than 1 from the mean. This gave Mishra a good idea of the big picture and what improvements needed to take place.

The last area that was implemented was a review process for the senior management.

Below are the first 3 best practices that came out of the experiment:

  1. Introduced the concept of minor tactical projects which were ultra-short term initiatives for example POC. We tailored processes to meet the demands. This includes funding guidelines and how they will be tracked and closed.
  2. Creation of various approval matrix for different types of projects on the basis of budget needed to cut down administrative lead time and taking empowerment back to programme managers. We defined maximum lead time based on available data and configured alerts in the tool.
  3. Initiated fast track projects for those which were needed for competitive differentiation. Fast track projects got faster and priority attention for clearance and were escalated for failures.

In conclusion, the entire initiative not just optimized the cycle time but added capability to do more with less and challenged the fundamentals of doing less with less.

About Ryan Malinoski

Ryan Malinoski was a staff writer and technical assistant for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He joined the team in 2013.

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