OnPoint, LLC

Flawed Governance Decisions = Weak Project Portfolios

Some years ago, Gerald Kendall and Steven Rollins wrote a book called, “Advanced Project Portfolio Management and the PMO – Multiplying ROI at Warp Speed” in which they noted four universal problems in project portfolio:

  1. “Too many active projects (often double what an organization should have)
  2. Wrong projects (projects that will not provide value to the organization)
  3. Projects not linked to strategic goals
  4. Unbalanced portfolio
    • Too much on the supply side, not enough on the market side
    • Too much development, not enough research
    • Too much short term, not enough long term
    • Not reflective of the organization’s most important assets, strategic resource value, or major product revenue opportunities…”
These problems are not new – they existed when the book was written over a dozen years ago and in my experience they are still common.  They are the result of flawed decision-making by the governance team.  But why are these governance decisions so poor?  Could it be that the materials that PMOs provide to support project decisions are inadequate?  Are the decisions being framed in project management jargon instead of business language?  Are so many data points provided that the executives can’t see the forest for the trees?  Do portfolio reports fail to provide a view of the interactions among projects?  If your project portfolio includes any (or all) of these four problems, it’s time to have a serious conversation with your governance team to understand what information they need to make better decisions.

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