Portfolio Management: Optimizing for Success

Lionel Grealou Operations Leave a Comment


Every (manufacturing) organization creating products or delivering engineering or IT-related services is managing a portfolio of projects (whether it is done formally or not, in a manual or semi-automated way). Project success and delivery performance (quality-cost-time) can be enhanced by Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) from concept to market in terms of facilitating the following:

  • Selecting, prioritizing and sequencing projects (based on time, cost, type of project, what is valued the most for the organization)
  • Having the right balance and mix of projects (based on scope, size, strategic vs tactical, high value projects, etc.)
  • Having the right balance of resources (people, man-hours to support projects, optimum resource allocation)
  • Having a pipeline of projects to match strategic business objectives
  • Managing project / program deliverables, costs, resources and timing (efficiently monitoring team performance with objective and accurate metrics)
  • Linking project deliverables and people – from digital to physical assets (decision makers, delivery manager, engineers, sales and marketing, suppliers, buyers, etc. – making teams more productive by clearly managing responsibilities, task and deliverables; engaging customers by communicating status and results for increased satisfaction)
  • Enabling global and cross-functional collaboration (data security, resource management, reporting and dashboards, project templates, work breakdown structure, task management, product line management, risks and issues, schedule product builds, project content, financials, document and data traceability)

APQC reported that best practices for portfolio management include the following 3 considerations:

  1. Using a standardized business case (input to portfolio management to select and track projects): scope, charter, need/requirement, benefits, cost, people, time, budget, plan, value and risk scorecard, accountability, assumptions, dependencies, technology maturity and selection, solution exploration and validation, long term sustainability; dependency and change management are particularly critical for success of PLM projects and programs.
  2. Following a formal, enterprise-wide (flexible) stage-gate process (all projects are different, hence there must be some scalability based on scope, complexity, criticality, value, duration, feasibility, novelty, skill / resources required, improvement vs transformation, etc.): projects must be assessed, categorized and managed differently based on the above; relevant portfolio and project governance will also depend on the project type. PLM solutions provide linkages between project framework and product information, such as Bills of Material (BoMs).
  3. Integrating lessons learned and continuous improvement (people, process, content, technology integrated in knowledge management): project health, opportunities, risk, discussed in Communities of Practice (CoP), fed into existing and future projects as standard practices.

What are your thoughts?


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This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 23 April 2015.