How frequently do you perform project portfolio review? Generally, people have 12 to 18 months of tasks at hand. Meanwhile, something urgent comes up, and you readjust the schedule. While rescheduling is common, how often do you review the portfolio? Let’s find out what Johanna Rothman has to say in this article at the Project Smart.
Planning a Portfolio Review
If you plan a portfolio review too soon, you achieve too little. Too long, and you are too late. While there is no optimal cut-off period between reviews, recent happenings influence your portfolio. For instance, when you reshuffle the release dates, or rivals launch a new product, or new technologies become popular. According to Rothman, the ‘ideal time’ for portfolio review would be when:
- You complete a project cycle
- You have enough data to initiate a planning cycle
- You allocate budget and resources to a fresh project
You cannot extend project cycles because another project might need your resources. Choose a lifecycle that reduces the workflow and aligns with your business needs. Select the waterfall methodology if your team knows the product. With a minimal chance of technical issues and a short timeline, you can complete it.
For an iterative project cycle, assemble product features, and keep the final testing for the end. Deliver in stages in incremental cycles. Stick to four weeks for agile project lifecycles. If product requirements change frequently, agile or incremental cycles can provide you that flexibility.
A project portfolio review every quarter is doable in a planning cycle. Especially if you have a product with volatile requirements or changing market demands. With agile, you can reschedule the timeline and tweak the features.
Though an incremental lifecycle offers the same flexibility, it would have a starting time and a time variance for every feature. For iterations, deliver all the prototypes of a feature within the timeline. Meanwhile, remove all the additional requirements in a linear lifecycle.
Organizations still have a single, yearly budgeting cycle. Managers spent sleepless nights coming up with foolproof budget forecasts. The plans fail because nobody knows what the future holds. So, it makes sense to plan for only three months at a time. Since you do not have to plan everything, you have more time to work on them. Also, projects following traditional project management approaches can readjust their estimates if they overshoot the deadline.
The catch with quarterly and budgeting cycles is that you must have results by the time you sit for the project portfolio review. Waterfall and iterative projects in some organizations take more than three months to start. Agile cycles, on the other hand, can complete their prototypes within the period. They are fit for a quarterly or budgeting cycle. Even an incremental lifecycle can perform well, provided you do everything right.
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