Ten Hot Tips to improve Portfolio Management

A reader emailed me and asked for my top ten tips on how to improve portfolio management in their organization.  I thought this was a cool idea.  However, I’m in bed and far too tired to think about prioritizing a list of just 10 things –  so here’s list of “10 HOT” random things as they come into my mind in no particular order – all of which will add instant value to your portfolio today:

1)   Perception is reality: Go and ask 15 people what they think of your portfolio / portfolio office.  Include a selection of executives, project managers, business areas….you’ll learn a lot!

2)   Measure how good you are: Use my portfolio spider graph in this presentation and draw a line to represent your own feelings about your own portfolio capability.

3)   Measure how good you want to be: Repeat number 2 but draw the line to represent your own feelings of where you want your portfolio capability to get to in the next 6 months.

4)   What can you do? For each area on the spider graph list down three things you think would help you improve.

5)   Know you’re value: Use my Value Experience Plan as a template, write out what value you think people will experience from your portfolio over the next 3 months. Be honest – don’t make up value when  you know it’s not there.

6)   Decisions or boredom: Review your last Executive Board update. Was it really useful? Did the executive board actually make decisions based on the content? If not, throw it away… right now!

7)   Portfolio Welcome Pack:  Create a portfolio welcome pack that defines the services people can expect from working with your portfolio.  This will force you to define the services and think about the value of said services.

8)   Be more creative:  Face it, no-one likes word documents and our PPM world is full of boring reports that people continue to write even though then know they don’t add value. Think about how you can use pictures instead of words for everything, integrate it into your processes, communication and reporting, put big posters up in the office of interesting diagrams  – get people to write on them, paint on walls… do anything, just be more creative. (this case study has some good examples of portfolio creativity)

9)   Communicate: Do you keep your portfolio team up to date?  Consider sending what I call a “2×2” a two minute read about the top things happening over the next two weeks.  Super useful stuff.

10) Build a portfolio delivery community: View your portfolio as a community or tribe, bring people together, have conversations, kick ideas around, ask for opinions, get project managers to present about their projects, ask for feedback, be open.

And the bonus one for you…. Portfolio Vision.  Work with your team to define the vision for portfolio management in your organization. And please don’t copy the portfolio management definition from a book, that’s way to easy and a one way ticket to boring everyone – come up with something that’s right for you and you’re team…  If you’re sitting there thinking you don’t need a vision for portfolio management – trust me, you’re wrong…you do.


now it’s sleep time


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