How to organize strategic project portfolios

Corporate strategy

Key takeaways

  • Start with identifying clear goals for organizing your strategic project portfolios.
  • Plan an information system considering what data to track and implement good data management practices.
  • Carry out the plan using project portfolio management tools. Use AI for extra help.
  • Regularly review and revise your system.

About this guide

Strategic project portfolios refers to a group of projects which are jointly managed to achieve maximum benefit. Organizing these portfolios strategically is crucial to align the projects with your organization’s overall strategic objectives. Mismanagement can lead to poor strategic alignment, making you risk vital resources and time on lower-value tasks. This article intends to guide you in organizing your strategic project portfolios, offering you tangible benefits of improved governance, better resource allocation, and more impactful decision-making.

1. Identify your goals

The first step in organizing your strategic project portfolios is to identify your goals. These might depend on various factors such as the size of your portfolio, the level of collaboration required, and the sophistication of your projects. You might wish to achieve a better return on investment, improve risk management, or just have more control over your projects. Regardless, having a clear idea of what you expect from organizing your portfolios will guide subsequent steps.

2. Plan your organization system

Once you have your goals identified, it's time to plan your organization system. This involves deciding what data to track, such as project timelines, resource allocation, and performance metrics. The implementation of best data management practices can jumpstart your planning process. For instance, avoid mistakes such as keeping unrelated data in the same table, poor naming practices that can cause confusion, or data duplication that can lead to redundancy. 

3. Implement your system

Armed with a plan, you're ready to implement. There are several categories of software that can assist you. Some of these include project management tools, portfolio management platforms, and data visualization tools. To automate this process and customize it, Skippet uses AI to aid you in developing your organization system for strategic project portfolios. While it's not a magic pill, it certainly simplifies the process because it incredibly tailors the system to your needs.

4. Maintain your organization system over time

Organizing your strategic project portfolios isn't a one-time effort but an ongoing process. Therefore, you'll need to constantly scrutinize your organization system, adapting and improving it according to your evolving goals and the dynamic nature of the projects you handle.

Best practices and common mistakes

By now, you've planned, implemented, and are ready to maintain your system. However, knowing a few industry-wide best practices can oil your progress. For instance, maintaining regular reviews helps identify weak links, and an understanding of portfolio optimization ensures that your resources are utilized most efficiently. Also, stakeholder engagement is crucial, as they have a significant role in the organization system.

On the flip side, some common mistakes to avoid include poor strategic alignment and poor communication within the team. These can derail your organization efforts. Poor data management practices such as data silos and duplication can wreak havoc on your system. Knowledge of these pitfalls helps you stay clear of them and ensure smooth portfolio organization. 

Example strategic project portfolio organization system

Let's take a simplistic example - consider an organization that handles many varying projects, some interlinked and others completely disparate. Each project requires different resources, has unique timelines, and differing priority levels in line with the strategic objectives of the organization. In such a scenario, this is how an efficient organization system could function.

The organization starts by setting clear goals for organizing the strategic portfolio. These include alignment of projects with strategic objectives, efficient resource utilization, and identification of high and low-value projects.

Next, the system planning begins. The organization decides to track vital data like resource allocation per project, deadlines, deliverables, potential risks, and performance metrics. The organization also implements stringent data management practices. For example, each project table will only contain data relevant to that project, names of files and resources allocated will follow a consistent pattern, and redundant data will be scrutinized to avoid duplicates.

The system is implemented using a mix of strategic project management and data organization tools. Seamlessly integrated into the process is Skippet, which uses AI to create a sophisticated representation of the organization’s system, customized to suit specific needs and goals.

Finally, the organization sets up regular intervals for system maintenance. They analyze how the projects are aligning with their strategic objectives, revise resource allocation based on project performance, and make necessary improvements.

The different teams involved such as individual project teams, management, stakeholders, etc., all use this system. Project teams input updates on task progress, resource usage, and any changes in timelines. Management observes the implemented system to assess the progress of the different projects and checks alignment with strategic objectives. Stakeholders can keep an eye on investment returns, risks, and project performance.

Wrapping up

In essence, organizing strategic project portfolios is all about strategic alignment, efficient resource allocation, risk management, and strong data management practices. It involves identifying goals, planning the system, implementing it, and maintaining it over time. While the process might seem daunting, meaningfully integrating tools like Skippet can greatly simplify the task, allowing you to focus more on managing your projects effectively.

Frequently asked questions

What is the most common error while organizing strategic project portfolios?

The most common error is failing to align the projects with strategic objectives.

Why is it important to avoid data duplication?

Data duplication can lead to redundancy and confusion, diluting the effectiveness of your organization system.

How frequently should I review and revise the organization system?

 Regular reviewing and revising is advised. The frequency depends on the dynamism of your projects and how quickly strategic objectives change.

Can any software completely automate the organization process?

While software like Skippet can greatly simplify and automate aspects of organizing your strategic portfolios, human intervention is still necessary for goal setting, revisions, and strategic decision-making. 

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