How to Manage Project Portfolios in the Modern Enterprise

With such demanding commercial markets rolling on a never-ending quarterly cycle to meet the needs of local, national and international markets, project portfolio management is a primary concern for today’s industry leaders. In fields such as communications, financial services, healthcare, insurance and the life sciences, the way in which a business or organization manages its portfolio of projects can determine its overall value and performance. Strengthening project portfolio management capabilities is one of the best decisions an enterprise can make, whatever industry they are in. At the same time, it is also highly beneficial to view projects through a rolling, four-quarter lens, rather than the traditional yearly calendar. Just consider some of the different ways enterprises are using cutting-edge processes and technologies to achieve these vital goals.

Management Tools for Successful Programs

Ineffectively or inconsistently managing projects can spoil a business’ opportunities to succeed. This is why a structured yet flexible program management system with cutting-edge information technology tools is a must. An effective system will make it easy to manage projects, including milestones and taxonomy considerations, with an air of transparency that enables decision makers and key players to drive successful behaviors throughout the enterprise.

Management Tools for Successful Portfolios

One of the most difficult aspects of managing a portfolio of projects is assessing the importance of different project-related activities and deadlines, and prioritizing different projects based on objective information. This can be true regardless of the size of a company or the kind of work they do. There are several enterprise IT management solutions designed specifically for project portfolios, but that is just the beginning. Along with the right tools, an enterprise must also have a rationale for how they assess their portfolio, a governance model in place to prioritize various projects once assessed and mechanisms in place to make changes when necessary.

Processes for Managing Fluctuations in Demand

All businesses experience fluctuations in the demand for their products and services. At the same time, there are also fluctuations in the requirements of various projects, and the resources that will be necessary to complete them. It is inevitable. These fluctuations shouldn’t strike panic into the hearts of business leaders, though. They just need to be predicted and managed effectively to ensure appropriate processes are in place throughout the supply chain and within the human resourcesof the enterprise and its partners.

Processes for Managing and Allocating Resources

Resource management is a vital, yet often overlooked, aspect of project portfolio management. The key is visibility and transparency. In order to allocate resources appropriately to ensure successful projects across the board, it is necessary to constantly take stock of the enterprise’s pool of resources and utilize them effectively, including everything from IT to human resources. In most cases, the best resource management system is one that assesses inventory and capabilities on an ongoing basis, with expert guidance to keep resource allocation in check.

Business leaders in all industries must consider tools and processes that enable them to improve delivery capacity, decrease time to market, measure return on investment, trace the effects of previous decisions to make better decisions in the future and make more profitable project management choices. This type of planning and project management implementation can result in huge improvements to the products and services being delivered, and ultimately ensure a more profitable enterprise. By forecasting demand, utilizing resources effectively, assessing all critical project decisions and managing projects with careful planning and ongoing assessments, the people within an enterprise can also do their jobs better and with less stress. It may sound like a lot of work to implement technology tools and human processes across all these vital areas of project management, but the rewards are more than worth the effort. Effective enterprise IT management solutions, along with the guidance of experienced consultants who understand the demands of the market, can ensure a forward-thinking approach to project portfolio planning.

About Robert Heiden

Robert Heiden is the Project Portfolio Practice Lead for Paragon Solutions. Paragon Solutions is an advisory consulting and systems integration firm specializing in various industries. For more information on Paragon’s project portfolio management solutions, contact