Manage Your Project Portfolio

One Quick Way to Start to Manage Your Project Portfolio

A project portfolio manager contacted me via LinkedIn. The question: How can this portfolio team start to manage the project portfolio when the organization has 600 projects? Right now, the portfolio team is supposed to read the status decks for each of those 600, to understand each project’s status. How to start? That’s an impossible …

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How Business Cases as Experiments Change the Project Portfolio Decisions

My clients all have too much work to do. So they ask the product or project leaders to write a business case for each effort. The clients claim this information helps them decide which work to do and not do. However, everyone knows each business case is at least partially fiction. That’s because the writer …

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What Does Your Culture Value: People “Efficiency” or Work Throughput?

A senior manager said, “We give our resources everything they could need: technology, tools, even some training. Why are they so slow?” I asked, “How many projects are they working on?” “Each resource has at least two projects so they stay productive and efficient.” These managers have created a resource efficiency culture, not a flow …

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Use Deliveries to Offer New Decision Points for Tactics and Strategy

We often think that finishing a story from the backlog is “just” tactical. However, the more often we deliver in short feedback loops, the more often we can make strategic decisions. Finishing a story creates a new decision point, for both the product and the corporate strategy. The more often we iterate strategically, the more …

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Little’s Law for Any Kind of Product Development: How to Learn How Long Your Work Will Take

Joanie, a new VP Engineering, joined the company a couple of weeks ago. Her boss, the CEO, wants to know how long it will take engineering to finish all the projects. Joanie asked the various leaders these questions for every project in progress: When did you start this project? Are you still working on this …

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How to Assess the Value of Old Data and Its Effect on Aging

Up until a few months ago, my office was a disaster. I had a ton of old data: Paper in reverse chronological order on surfaces (most recent on top). Printed articles to read. Notes from previous workshops I wanted to integrate when I updated those workshops. Over the past year, as I realized the pandemic …

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Manage Interruptions with Defensive Project Portfolio Management

Here’s a scenario I see in all kinds of businesses. Your team has product-focused work. And, the team also has “fast” response-required, ad hoc work: Production support, when something breaks. You need to fix this right away. Provide technical support when people have questions. The team needs to answer these questions on a “timely” basis. …

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Agile Approaches Offer Strategic Advantage; Agile Tools are Tactics, Part 4

I started this series with observations that my clients appear to confuse strategy and tactics. They think agile approaches are tactics and agile tools are part of their strategy. That’s why they want to Buy an agile approach. And that’s why they want to Customize and then standardize on tools. This post is about this …

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