Following our constant resource issues I’ve been Googling around for best practices in this area and stumbled across Michael Greer’s article What’s Project Portfolio Management (PPM) & Why Should Project Managers Care About It?.
He proposes a self assessment check list, to see whether you’re ripe for establishing Project Portfolio Management process in your company. It goes like this:
- Frequent difficulty finding enough people to put together a solid project team.
- Excessive project delays due to “not enough resources”.
- High turnover due to “burn out” of key project contributors because they are working on too many projects and spending too many overtime hours.
- Frequent change of status of projects (i.e., moving from “active” to “on hold” to “top priority” and back).
- Completion of projects that, when all is said and done, don’t really meet a strategic need.
- Intense competition, rather than cooperation, among departments and sub-organizations when staffing and funding projects.
It’s all more or less true for our organization. It’s not extreme yet, but something needs to be done before we get into a gridlock.
Solution? Start with documentation, says Michael Greer:
- Create “high resolution” project plans that accurately spell out, in vivid detail, the resources required to complete each task and activity.
- Capture the actual hours spent by all project players in completing project tasks and activities.
- Create summary tables showing planned and actual time spent by each person in your organization on every project to which he or she is assigned in order to demonstrate who’s overloaded.
- Document all incidents of resources that are “stolen” across projects, excessive overtime, large-effort-but-ultimately-useless projects, and so on.
- By conducting project “post mortem” evaluations, gather information about how systematic PPM might have prevented problems and encouraged successes.