Portfolio.ReportingIn our previous installment of this blog series, we focused on how to leverage the Portfolio Analysis feature of Project Server. We described the overall benefits and explained how to establish business drivers and then align your company’s projects to those drivers.  It also elaborates on business drivers themselves, explaining that measurable and consistent criteria are necessary. They quantify the risk, benefit, and value that a given project brings to the business as a whole.

In this post, we will focus on how to prioritize business drivers within Project Server.

The purpose is two-prong:
  1. Each business driver must be supported by senior leadership
  2. Consistent metrics are required to evaluate project performance based on those drivers

Gaining Perspective
The process described in this blog post should be a collaborative one.  Rather than having your Project Managers complete this process on their own, we recommend the following:

  • Start by conducting interviews with your CIO or COO to ensure that projects are prioritized in alignment with the expectations of senior management
  • Then facilitate workshops to gain a group consensus around priorities
  • Finally, enter the information into Project Server based on the perspectives gathered above

Utilizing Impact Scale
In the previous blog post, we covered the basics of defining business drivers.  Once those business drivers have been defined, Project Server requires companies to establish the impact scale for them.  The scale ranges from none to extreme (see image 1.1) and they provide a point of reference for measuring how a given project contributes to its respective business driver. By utilizing the scale, data that was once subjective can now be measured in an objective and consistent way.  Consistent data provides both a strong basis for portfolio analysis and also measurable evidence to evaluate a project throughout its lifecycle

When you start with the right metrics, you can answer important questions like:
Does this project continue to bring the strategic value for which it was approved?
Is the business driver that we approved this project under still valid?

Image 1.1
Image 1.1

Rating Priorities
Once you have defined the business drivers and selected the impact scale for each, prioritization is a must.  Project Server requires companies to rate their business drivers against each other in order to develop priorities (see image 1.2).  To make it easy, the pairwise analysis system uses smart logic so you only have to answer questions that apply to you.

Image 1.2

You can go through the analysis process more than once if your company wants to capture different perspectives.  Completing more than one analysis allows your company to have multiple ways of prioritizing data so you can run different reports depending on which statistics you need to find.  This helps the PMO compare and contrast different viewpoints on the portfolio and it uncovers the best mix of projects based on different sets of priorities.  In the end, each business driver gets a score indicating its level of priority and your answers are scored separately to show how consistent they were. (see image 1.3). 

Image 1.3
Top chart: priority score % Lower bar: level of consistency

Following these steps builds the foundation of your portfolio analysis. These steps take otherwise subjective data and map it to real numbers your organization can use to objectively categorize and prioritize projects. One of the key aspects of this approach is to ensure you obtain senior leadership agreement to the business drivers, thresholds and prioritizations of the drivers themselves. In my next post we will detail how to setup and perform an analysis as well as the various methods by which you can map your projects or ideas to the business drivers in Project Online. Stay Tuned!

When you complete this process with the input of upper management and other key stakeholders, you will have a strong foundation for an accurate portfolio analysis from the most important angles.  The next step is setting up the actual analysis, which we will cover in the following post.  

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