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Optimize Project Intake, Approval, and Prioritization

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Your Challenge:

Companies are approving more projects than they can deliver. Most organizations say they have too many projects on the go and an unmanageable and ever-growing backlog of things to get to.

While organizations want to achieve a high throughput of approved projects, many are
unable or unwilling to allocate an appropriate level of IT resourcing to adequately match the number of approved initiatives.

Portfolio management practices must find a way to accommodate stakeholder needs without sacrificing the portfolio to low-value initiatives that do not align with business goals.

Our Advice - Critical Insight:
Failure to align projects with strategic goals and resource capacity are the most common causes of portfolio waste across organizations. Intake, approval, and prioritization represent the best opportunities to ensure this alignment.

More time spent with stakeholders during the ideation phase to help set realistic expectations for stakeholders and enhance visibility into IT’s capacity and processes is key to both project and organizational success.

Too much intake red tape will lead to an underground economy of projects that escape portfolio oversight, while too little intake formality will lead to a wild west of approvals that could overwhelm the PMO. Finding the right balance of intake formality for your organization is the key to establishing a PMO that has the ability to focus on the right things.

Our Advice - Impact and Result:

Eliminate off-the-grid initiatives by establishing a centralized intake process that funnels requests into a single channel.

Improve the throughput of projects through the portfolio by incorporating the constraint of resource capacity to cap the amount of project approvals to that which is realistic.

Silence squeaky wheels and overbearing stakeholders by establishing a progressive approval and prioritization process that gives primacy to the highest value requests.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Optimize Project Intake, Approval, and Prioritization

  1. 1. Optimize Project Intake, Approval, and Prioritization Give yourself the authority to say “no” (or “not yet”) to new requests. As a Portfolio Manager, you do not have the authority to decline or defer new projects—but you also lack the capacity to realistically say yes to more project work. With your staff constantly being pulled into reactionary support roles, you not only have trouble completing all the projects currently underway, but you similarly have trouble starting any of the projects in your ever-growing backlog. Ad hoc or “off the grid” projects frequently circumvent the formal intake processes that you have in place, robbing your already in-flight projects of precious resources and threatening your portfolio’s strategic alignment with business goals. Give yourself the authority to say “no” (or at least “not yet”) to new projects by aligning intake, approval, and prioritization with the defining constraints of strategic objectives, portfolio capacity, and stakeholder needs. With intake processes geared toward these ends, you can ensure that the PMO is always driving the throughput of the highest-value projects in the portfolio and that the business side has visibility into IT’s capacity and processes. For most organizations, the appetite to approve more projects is increasing while the propensity to invest in an appropriate level of IT resourcing is on the wane. This tension of wanting more from less suggests that IT departments need be far more disciplined in choosing what to initiate. On average, Info-Tech’s clients believe they are wasting 22% of their portfolio capacity on cancelled projects, failing to assign work, and fixing defects in previous work. They believe they may be wasting an additional 28% of their portfolio capacity on inefficient processes and assigning the wrong resources. Optimized project intake, approval, and prioritization represent your best opportunities to eliminate this portfolio waste.
  2. 2. http://hr.mcleanco.com/research/ss/fos ter-a-dynamic-learning-mindset

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