Every professional project has a few characteristics that make it distinct from its predecessors, needs that are unique to the client. Despite these differences, though, client projects tend to have a lot in common. These similarities are just one of the reasons it’s vital for businesses to keep careful track of their prior projects.
Now, you might say, ‘of course we save our old projects,’ but for execution purposes, your business’s needs go beyond this. You need a project portfolio management (PPM) program.
Beyond The Task List
One of the greatest workplace innovations of recent years is project management software, programs that allow business teams to track projects, set up to-do lists, and communicate with each other within the boundaries of a task. Such software simplifies the role of the project manager, but one thing these programs aren’t good at is keeping track of completed tasks.
This is where PPMs come in. As the name suggests, PPMs monitor ongoing and past projects, breaking them down into subcategories based on priority, strategic alignment, and other properties. They offer a big picture view. As the Meisterplan team explains, PPMs allow businesses to flag individual tasks based on what strategic goals they meet, monitor budgetary distribution, and reorient portfolio priorities based on statistical data.
Test And Repeat
By taking the long view on your business, PPMs allow businesses to improve the project execution process and meet strategic goals. One way that PPMs do this is by emphasizing and monitoring quality across projects.
Portfolio-driven work is work that can be repeated. In the business world, ease of repetition translates into a measure of quality control. Outcomes can be compared to prior versions of the same project task, improvements can be made, and ultimately the work may even be automated or template-driven.
Portfolio-driven modification is an example what James Allen of Bain & Company calls a “micro-battle.” In micro-battles, you have the chance to test a strategic approach and learn from it; sub-tasks within a larger project are perfect testing grounds because the stakes are low. So, for example, you might look at your portfolio and determine you’re spending too much time on an activity. From there, you can try a different way of completing the task and see how an alternative approach compares before applying the new strategy to every project.
A Stake In Strategy
PPMs are a great way to make sure that your projects are in alignment with your business’s strategy, but that’s not their only strategic value. Rather, having a stronger grasp of your portfolio can give your business a boost in other ways, including by helping you attract new clients and fill any strategic gaps.
When potential clients are seeking a business partnership, one of the first things they look for is an appealing portfolio. In most cases, this means they page through the materials on your site or your company sends them a standardized information packet. Using a PPM program, you can provide each potential client with relevant examples. This makes your business a more appealing contender in the struggle for customers.
Finally, PPM software offers real added value in the area of portfolio diversification. According to Dr. Kamal Jaafar, an associate professor of Engineering Management at the University of Wollongong, most current models of determining projects’ strategic alignment are lengthy and difficult to execute, yet it’s a vital process. Using PPM software, it’s easier to identify not only how each project fits into your company’s strategic model, but also which aspects of your strategy lack sufficient representation. From there, businesses can pursue projects to fill those gaps and strengthen their portfolios.
PPM software may not have the high level of institutional adoption enjoyed by project management software, but such programs are likely to rise in popularity in the near future. Give your business a professional edge and take control of your portfolio today.