Fast Track Solutions

Portfolio Review - a ‘Fast Track’ Solution

Purpose

To ensure that the customer’s project portfolio will deliver the most value to the organisation by (a) balancing the need for strategic, tactical, innovative and regulatory solutions and (b) placing the appropriate emphasis on financial return and business risk.

Rationale

Despite a general increase in the level of sophistication in managing project portfolios, the end result is often just a prioritised list of projects with a very tactical focus. Furthermore a rigid ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach seldom leads to a balanced portfolio and can compromise effective decision making.

Approach

We first create a simple assessment method taking into account the company’s strategic and operational drivers as well as current priorities. We then facilitate a process to evaluate projects within the portfolio which we represent graphically. Working with project sponsors, we then define what constitutes an appropriate balance for the organisation and review the project portfolio against this definition. Through an iterative process, we collaboratively re-create a portfolio that is better balanced that has been created by following a transparent and repeatable assessment process.

Outputs

The Outputs that are delivered by the ‘Portfolio Review’ Solution are:

  • Assessment criteria for projects that enable the creation of a balanced portfolio;
  • Definition of what constitutes a balanced portfolio within the organisation;
  • Revised portfolio that has been re-balanced by sponsors;
  • Outline process for ongoing assessment and balancing of the project portfolio

We have an example of a typical project portfolio in the right-hand panel - move your cursor over the diagram to see the type of information that is produced.

 

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Portfolio Review

The ‘Portfolio Review’ Solution uses the ’Strategic Grid’ (as pioneered by Cranfield Business School) to help categorise projects into ‘strategic’, ‘factory’, ‘high potential’ and ‘support’.

This categorisation ensures that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not taken and that the attitude to risk and reward depends on where the project sits within the grid.

An example of a project portfolio is shown below (size of circle represents project costs). During a workshop with business champions, it was agreed to reallocate funds between the business functions and to conduct business case reviews for two large projects. For the first time, managers debated the entire portfolio and not just individual projects, which had been the case before.

Hover with your mouse to zoom in:

Portfolio Review