I see a lot of people who think they are running a portfolio office, when actually all they are doing is managing a weather station. A weather station is a department that tells you that it is raining when you are standing in the rain getting wet.
This links to the whole conversation about portfolio management value and one of the reasons that portfolio offices get killed is because of lack of value. Being a weather station is a prime example of being as useful as last weeks newspaper.
Here is a brain dump of 10 key indicators that your portfolio office is nothing more than a weather station:
1) The ability to create a monthly status report is viewed as a massive, tremendous, splendiferous success, whooooopeee.
2) The reporting process time is so long that by the time a portfolio status report is issued to the Exectutive Team it contains information from 2 weeks ago and everyone already knows about the issues, or the issues have been addressed. (However, the portfolio office still think people will buy yesterdays newspaper).
3) The Director of the portfolio office does not attend the Executive Board meetings to present the monthly status.
4) At the Executive Board meeting, the Directors who own the Red projects take it in turns to provide a more up to date overview of the status of the red projects.
5) People that work in the portfolio office generalists and not skilled in portfolio management.
6) Customers of the portfolio office feel they experience only two things from the portfolio office. The first is an email reminding them that their report is due next week. The second comes three weeks later which is a bigger report containing the contents of all the other projects and programmes which has been carefully copied and pasted into the the portfolio monthly report.
7) Risks are on the status report, but they haven’t changed for months because they don’t get discussed at the Executive Board meeting.
8) Processes are too rigid, but the portfolio office team are not skilled enough to recognize this and put enhancements in place.
9) People do not enjoy working with the portfolio office
10) If you asked people what value they get out of the portfolio office, most of them would say “not sure”.
If you experience any of the above, you really should take action now. Especially those of you in the public sector because its all about the value for money challenge and if you’re doing the above, you ain’t adding value.
ps: feel free to add more indicators in the comments section