Portfolio Jiggery-Pokery

So you’ve got your portfolio of projects and programmes, you’ve got all the information you need, you know the cost benefits, all of them are really important (as they always are), some are legislative must do’s, some are in flight some are pipeline.  You’ve got the budget sorted out, teams are in place and delivering and you’re firing on all cylinders….happy days.

Then, perfect timing, the CEO zaps you an email titled “Budget issues next year” and the first line reading “we need to reduce the budget by 20% next year” ….ah.

In the event of this happening, here’s a brain dump checklist (in no particular order) of some of the pretty simple questions you should be asking yourself.  Such questions will assist you as you start your “portfolio jiggery-pokery” (that’s good jiggery-pokery not bad jiggery-pokery by the way), or for those of you that prefer more technical terms, these questions will help you ‘balance’ your portfolio

“Have I…

  • -Defined and agreed the portfolio prioritization principles with the board?
  • -Agreed what projects are so far advanced that you don’t want to touch in the first round?
  • -Catagorised all the projects so I can tell which ones are keeping the lights on and which ones are bells n whistles
  • -Defined the cost benefit and risk analysis of each project?
  • -Understood clearly which projects contribute most to your strategy?
  • -Defined the payback period for each project?
  • -Identified dependencies between projects?
  • -Worked with projects to understand which ones can potentially be ramped up to deliver early, or delayed to deliver later?
  • -Engaged with the right people to ensure ramp up and / or slow down can be matched with the right resources (including IT and Business as Usual teams)?
  • -Got off my back side and walked around the office talking face to face to the people I need to talk to?
  • -Engaged with people and invited them to suggest some creative and crazy off-the-wall ideas as well as the obvious ones?
  • -Understood fully the implications of killing some of the projects?
  • -Created an attractive easy to understand presentation that highlights all the jiggery-pokery options and makes recommendations to the board?”


If you answered yes to all of these that’s very cool, if you answered no to some of them its probably a good idea to double check your portfolio jiggery-pokeryness.


 ps: I’ve probably missed a question or two off this list, so feel free to add to it in the comments.

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