Project Portfolio Management

The Portfolio/Program Funnel Flow Problem

Are your projects lost in a twister of programs? This becomes a problem more and more frequently because insufficient projects are constantly being thrown into the program, never meeting their full potential. In a post for the Association for Project Management, John Heathcote discusses how to avoid this funnel of disaster.

The Storm of Demands

When a program has insufficient means to get it started, it often begins slowly and has an adverse effect on future endeavors. The problem is that projects that would offer value to the program are not properly identified. They may be classified as “too risky” and discarded. But they may offer future value despite their present downfalls. There is the opposite problem as well: feeling pressured for time and pushing projects through that are simply not good.

So how can the flow of proposed projects be improved? A very simple solution is to communicate with contracting partners or elsewhere in the company for a fresh insight. Projects often do not compose a list of value early enough, and thus the benefits are overlooked or never seen. There is also the problem of pure human error. People are overly optimistic and take on too much or do not look far enough into the future. Imagine you won the lottery and now have an exorbitant amount of money. What would you do with it? Perhaps purchase a car or a house or maybe even that long sought after vacation. These are all fair ideas, but in retrospect they may not be investments to add future value to your life. The key here is investment. Invest in projects or possessions that bring future value.

The solution to the project funnel is learning to better identify beneficial investments and have better criteria by which to gauge this. Pressure does not help the situation, so take a step back and really look to see what cows you are throwing into the tornado.

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