Managing Your Portfolio – Leaping those “Change” Moments

As PMO Portfolio, Programs, and Projects struggle to get the most out of their IT resources, capacity management and risk management issues essentially start rearing their heads once the portfolio is in the execution phase. …

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“Oh No!” – Is Your Portfolio Starting to Spiral?

As the year has started and the final month of the 1st quarter quickly approaches, you have probably looked at your IT Portfolio Report and noted that your risk items from your risk register have increasingly changed to issues – the “Oh no!” stage.

As a result, your triple constraints are now being held hostage as each day passes without a resolution and your ransom resolution is to resolve the issues immediately right? Sound familiar? Yup, most Portfolio and Project managers face similar issues early on in the portfolio cycle. It is simply the nature of the lifecycle, and ironing out all the loose ends that creep up post the project kick-off meeting are starting to bite.

Personally, this is not a “panic” point for me simply because I have made a practice of setting the right cadence up front to go through the storming process that comes along with the Portfolio Project Management lifecycle to resolve these issues promptly. In fact, it’s a good thing that issues show themselves early on because scope is easier to manage and redirect at earlier stages. It’s also less expensive to find and resolve issues earlier as opposed to later on in the project.

As with all new initiatives and projects commencements, during the beginning of the year, the Portfolio Managers radar is tentatively higher to ensure Portfolio and Projects transparency is at the top of the list for executive reporting. Hence, here’s some tips to keep the “Oh no!” in check:

  1. As a Portfolio Manager, your status should be fluid to Executive decision making while their attention radar is high and issues are fresh on their minds.
  2. No single status report fits all c-level managers. It’s important to know your management appetite for consuming information and decision-making processes to address and resolve the issue quickly.
  3. Be super proactive with additive transparency; lack thereof is asking for trouble and can potentially cost you your job.
  4. Be mindful when scheduling your activities during the initial stage of your projects as scope creep will likely to surface itself.

In summary, if you feel believe your Portfolio is starting to turn south, grab the wheel and take charge by exposing the higher risks level and socializing the issue(s) with the stakeholder. At decision time, it’s it’s most likely the decision-makers have already made up their minds and all it will require now is the formality of documenting the outcome.


Francisco T. Avalos






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