Making sure your project portfolio aligns with the overall strategy

In the dynamic realm of project portfolio management, choosing the right projects is vital for organizational success. Project Management Office (PMO) members hold a crucial responsibility, ensuring alignment with strategic goals. This article delves into key guidelines for PMO members to select projects contributing to the overarching strategic vision adeptly.

Are you looking for in-depth insights into project portfolio management? The article "Project Portfolio Management - An Introduction For Practitioners With Little Time On Their Hands" takes a comprehensive look at this complex topic.

Understand the Organizational Strategy:

One thing is pretty obvious: PMO members must have a comprehensive understanding of the organization's strategic goals. This involves aligning with key stakeholders, such as executives and department heads, to gain insights into the long-term vision, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs). This foundational knowledge serves as a compass for project selection. If this step fails - which it often does - the management team either doesn’t buy into the PPM idea (more on that very idea here), or simply has no strategic goals and/or strategy.

Establish Clear Criteria & Prioritize Projects Based on Strategic Importance:

Develop a set of clear and well-defined criteria for evaluating project proposals. These criteria should reflect the strategic priorities of the organization. Common elements include potential return on investment (ROI), alignment with corporate objectives, and feasibility within existing resources. Once you agree on a set of criteria, identify projects that directly contribute to the organization's core objectives and have a substantial impact on overall performance. This prioritization ensures that resources are allocated to projects with the highest strategic value. Want to learn more about prioritization methods? Go down the PPM rabbit hole here.

Regularly Review and Update Criteria:

The business environment is dynamic, and strategic priorities may evolve over time. PMO members should regularly review and, if necessary, update the criteria used for project selection and prioritization. This proactive approach ensures that the organization remains agile and can adapt to changing circumstances.

Create a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) System:

Implement a robust Project Portfolio Management system to facilitate the evaluation, selection, and especially ongoing management of projects and the entire project portfolio. A neat way to go about things at this very stage is the implementation of a dedicated PPM software solution. We happen to know a pretty good one.

Learn more about Falcon: The perfect PPM software solution

Falcon is an intuitive and streamlined project portfolio management software for complex project portfolio management. As a market leader in the strategy and transformation sector, Falcon makes it easier for PMOs, leading consultants and private equity firms to plan, manage and report on their most important projects and processes.
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Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration:

Foster collaboration between different departments and teams within the organization. PMO members should actively engage with various stakeholders to gather diverse perspectives and ensure that projects align with the needs of the entire organization. Cross-functional collaboration enhances the likelihood of successful project outcomes.

Conduct Feasibility Studies:

Before greenlighting a project, conduct thorough feasibility studies. Assess the technical, operational, and financial aspects to ensure that the organization has the capacity and capability to execute the project successfully. Feasibility studies provide valuable insights into potential challenges and risks. You may want to consider the so-called Stage Gates, too. They support you with meeting your project portfolio standards (more on Stage Gates here).

Monitor and Measure Project Performance:

Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor and measure project performance across the entire project portfolio. Regularly assess how well projects are progressing in terms of timelines, budgets, and deliverables. This ongoing evaluation enables PMO members to identify any deviations from the strategic objectives and take corrective actions on the project and portfolio level.

Implement a Continuous Improvement Process:

Encourage a culture of continuous improvement within the PMO. Analyze the outcomes of completed projects, identify lessons learned, and apply these insights to refine future project selection processes. Continuous improvement ensures that the organization becomes more adept at choosing projects that align with its strategic goals over time.

Conclusion:

Effective project selection is a cornerstone of successful project management. PMO members, as stewards of the organization's strategic goals, must employ a thoughtful and systematic approach to project selection and prioritization. By understanding the organizational strategy, establishing clear criteria, and prioritizing projects strategically, PMO members can contribute significantly to the overall success and growth of the organization. Through continuous improvement and a commitment to aligning projects with strategic objectives, PMOs can navigate the complexities of project portfolio management (PPM) with confidence and precision.

Looking for the perfect PPM tool?

You can take a closer look at all the functionalities of our software Falcon here and arrange an individual meeting with our project portfolio management experts.
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