Park Projects You Can't Staff, For Now
How many projects are you working on now? If you're like most people, groups, and organizations, the answer is more than one. You, your group, and organization are suffering from multitasking. That means that you have more projects than you have people to staff them. It's time to park some work.
A project portfolio parking lot is a way to keep track of your unstaffed projects, without cluttering up the project portfolio for you, your group, or your organization. You can take them out of consideration during the project portfolio evaluation but not forget about them. That's what a project portfolio parking lot does for you–it gives you a place to put the projects without losing them or cluttering your project portfolio.
The parking lot is a way for people to take work out of consideration, to pause, while they think about everything else they, their group, or organization has to do.
People can now ask whether the project should be done at all. Are you wasting energy considering this project over and over and over again? Once you take the project off the unstaffed work list and off the potential portfolio, you can stop thinking about it–for now. Once that project is out of consideration, you, your group, or your organization can fully commit to the other work you need to do–one project at a time, and get the work done.
Some people may be concerned about removing projects from consideration for a while; they are concerned about closing their project options too early. Maybe the ideas are just a little ahead of the technology. Maybe you want this project in a year or so, but not now. Whatever your reason, you don't want to forget about the project, but you don't want to have to think about it all the time. That's why you can create a parking lot for projects you don't want to actively consider but don't want to forget about. The parking lot solves the problem for people who like to cross things off their lists and for people who don't want to close their options.
When you park a project, put the project on the parked list, with the date you parked it, any value you can note about the project, and any reason for parking. Now, when you return to the list at some point in the future, you know why you parked it and what the value was when you parked it.
And, if you park it and later can't remember why it was a good idea in the first place, it's a sign that there's no longer a reason to do the project at all. Now you can happily kill the project!
Whatever you do, don't “try” to do more than one project at a time. You'll context switch and get much less done.
Want to know more about project portfolio management? Start here, https://www.jrothman.com/Books/manage-your-project-portfolio.html
If you haven't yet participated in the AYE conference, make this your year. We have great sessions–all of which are experiential and interactive. My sessions are:
- You are Here. You Want to Go There? We'll be discussing and practicing assessments.
- Coaching is a Two-Way Relationship. We'll practice coaching and you'll see how to grow your coaching skills
- Agile Program Management: Another Approach to Large Projects. Want to learn how to apply Agile to more than three sub-projects? We'll practice the issues of coordination, architecture, and measurement
- The Budgeting Black Hole: Predicting the Unknowable. Managers want to know when they can expect a project to be done, for funding and planning purposes. Project teams would dearly love to tell them. We will experiment with approaches and measures to see what you can predict and when. Yes, this will address managing the project portfolio.
- Coping With Change in Your Life. If you read my blog, you know about my new deafness and ongoing vertigo problems. We'll experiment with change, large and small, and see how you currently cope with change, and what your other options might be.
Want to see what sessions the other hosts are leading? Take a look at the program. Sign up before April 30 for the Early Bird discount.
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