Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects


All of your projects and programs make up your portfolio. But how much time do you actually spend on your projects, and how much time do you spend responding to emergencies?

This book will introduce you to different ways of ordering all of the projects you are working on now, and help you figure out how to staff those projects—-even when you’ve run out of project teams to do the work.

Once you learn to manage your portfolio better, you’ll ...

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All of your projects and programs make up your portfolio. But how much time do you actually spend on your projects, and how much time do you spend responding to emergencies?

This book will introduce you to different ways of ordering all of the projects you are working on now, and help you figure out how to staff those projects—-even when you’ve run out of project teams to do the work.

Once you learn to manage your portfolio better, you’ll avoid emergency “firedrills”. The trick is adopting lean and agile approaches to projects, whether they are software projects, projects that include hardware, or projects that depend on chunks of functionality from other suppliers.

You may be accustomed to spending time in meetings where you still don’t have the data you need to evaluate your projects. Here, with a few measures, you’ll be able to quickly evaluate each project and come to a decision quickly.

You’ll learn how to define your team’s, group’s, or department’s mission with none of the buzzwords that normally accompany a mission statement. Armed with the work and the mission, you can make those decisions that define the true leaders in the organization.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This book is] a strong pick for any business interested in organizing and prioritizing projects. It shows how to tie work to an organization’s mission, get a better view of workflow options and priority scheduling, and make decisions based on better portfolio management. Any business library needs this."

- Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934356296
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Programmers, LLC, The
  • Publication date: 8/28/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 764,281
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Rothman helps leaders solve problems and seize opportunities. She consults, speaks, and writes on managing high-technology product development. She enables managers, teams, and organizations to become more effective by applying her pragmatic approaches to the issues of project management, risk management, and people management. Johanna publishes The Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter and podcast, and writes two blogs: Managing Product Development and Hiring Technical People. She is the author of several books: - Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management - Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (with Esther Derby) - Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People - Corrective Action for the Software Industry (with Denise Robitaille).

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Table of Contents

Foreword Ron Jeffries xiii

Foreword Tim Lister xv

Preface xvii

1 Meet Your Project Portfolio 1

1.1 What a Project Portfolio is 2

1.2 See the High-and Low-Level Views 4

1.3 Now Try This 7

2 See Your Future 9

2.1 Managing with a Project Portfolio 9

2.2 Managing Without a Project Portfolio 10

2.3 What Are Your Emergency Projects? 13

2.4 Learn Approaches to the Project Portfolio 14

2.5 Why You Should Care About the Project Portfolio 15

2.6 Your Portfolio Reflects Your Influence Level 18

2.7 Now Try This 19

3 Create the First Draft of Your Portfolio 21

3.1 Know What Work to Collect 21

3.2 Is the Work a Project or a Program? 24

3.3 Organize Your Projects into Programs As Necessary 25

3.4 Organize the Portfolio 29

3.5 Using Tools to Manage a Portfolio 30

3.6 Now Try This 31

4 Evaluate Your Projects 33

4.1 Should We Do This Project at All? 33

4.2 Decide to Commit, Kill, or Transform the Project 34

4.3 Commit to a Project 35

4.4 Kill a Project 38

4.5 How to Kill a Project and Keep It Dead 40

4.6 Killing a Senior Manager's Pet Project 41

4.7 Kill Doomed Projects 42

4.8 Transform a Project 44

4.9 Now Try This 46

5 Rank the Portfolio 47

5.1 Never Rank Alone 47

5.2 Rank Order the Projects in the Portfolio Using Points 48

5.3 Leftover Points Provide Metadata 51

5.4 Rank the Projects by Risk 55

5.5 Use Your Organization's Context to Rank Projects 56

5.6 Who's Waiting for Your Projects to Be Completed? 58

5.7 Rank the Work by Your Products' Position in the Marketplace 59

5.8 Use Other Comparison Methods to Rank Your Projects 60

5.9 Don't Use ROI to Rank 63

5.10 Your Project Portfolio is an Indicator of Your Organization'sOverall Health 65

5.11 Publish the Portfolio Ranking 65

5.12 Now Try This 67

6 Collaborate on the Portfolio 69

6.1 Organize to Commit 69

6.2 Build Trust 70

6.3 Prepare for Collaboration 72

6.4 Set the Stage for Collaboration 73

6.5 Facilitate the Portfolio Evaluation Meeting 74

6.6 How to Say No to More Work 76

6.7 Fund Projects Incrementally 78

6.8 Never Make a Big Commitment 79

6.9 Discover Barriers to Collaboration 81

6.10 Who Needs to Collaborate on the Portfolio? 88

6.11 Now Try This 89

7 Iterate on the Portfolio 91

7.1 Decide When to Review the Portfolio 91

7.2 Select an Iteration Length for Your Review Cycles 93

7.3 Defend the Portfolio from Attack 99

7.4 How to Decide If You Can't Change Life Cycles, Road Maps, or Budgets 99

7.5 Make Decisions as Late as Possible 101

7.6 Now Try This 102

8 Make Portfolio Decisions 103

8.1 Keep a Parking Lot of Projects 103

8.2 Conduct a Portfolio Evaluation Meeting 104

8.3 Conduct a Portfolio Evaluation at Least Quarterly to Start 109

8.4 Review Your Decisions 111

8.5 Now Try This 111

9 Evolve Your Portfolio 113

9.1 Lean Helps Your Evolve Your Portfolio Approach 113

9.2 Choose What to Stabilize 114

9.3 Stabilize the Timebox 115

9.4 Stabilize the Number of Work Items in Progress 117

9.5 Fix the Queue Length for a Team 121

9.6 When You Need to Fix Cost 123

9.7 Management Changes When You Stabilize Something About Your Projects 123

9.8 Now Try This 124

10 Measure the Essentials 125

10.1 Measure Value 125

10.2 What You Need to Measure About Your Projects 127

10.3 Measure Project Velocity: Current and Historical 129

10.4 Measure Cumulative Flow for the Project 132

10.5 Measure Obstacles Preventing the Team's Progress 134

10.6 Measure the Product Backlog Burndown Chart 138

10.7 Measure Run Rate and Other Cost Data, If Necessary 138

10.8 Don't Even Try to Measure Individual Productivity 139

10.9 What You Need to Measure About the Portfolio 140

10.10 Measure Capacity by Team, Not by Individual 143

10.11 People Finish More with Lean and Agile 144

10.12 Now Try This 145

11 Define Your Mission 147

11.1 Define the Business You are In 147

11.2 What Good is a Mission, Anyway? 148

11.3 Define an Actionable Mission for the Organization 149

11.4 Draft a Mission from Scratch 151

11.5 Brainstorm the Essentials of a Mission 152

11.6 Refine the Mission 154

11.7 Derive Your Mission from Your Work 155

11.8 How to Define a Mission When No One Else Will 156

11.9 Beware of the Mission Statement Traps 157

11.10 Test Your Mission 159

11.11 Make the Mission Real for Everyone 159

11.12 Now Try This 160

12 Start Somewhere...But Start 161

13 Glossary 163

Bibliography 167

Index 171

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