Project Portfolio Management

By Woody Walker

Once you have selected your project portfolio, it’s t

ime to assign resources to that portfolio. Portfolio Resource Management is an efficient and effective process of resource request, resource allocation, resource assignment, resource tracking, and resource forecasting for the entire PPM lifecycle. Answer the questions below to see how your organization is handling the Portfolio Resource Management process.

How does your organization assign resources to the selected project portfolio?

  1. Resources choose their own assignments and no thought is given to conflicting assignments across projects.
  2. Resource and Project Managers review assignments; identify conflicts; attempt to resolve with other Project Managers and then escalate conflicts they cannot resolve to their supervisors.
  3. The Project Management Office reviews the entire portfolio of projects, identifies conflicts, attempts to resolve and then escalates conflicts they cannot resolve to the business but no formal process exists.
  4. A formal resource management process exists where all resource requests, allocations and commitments are entered and monitored as resource demand changes.

How does your organization manage resource supply/demand in the selection process?

  1. We do not accurately capture resource capacity and project demand or do not compare resource capacity to project demand.
  2. We capture resource capacity by named resource and match to individual resource capacity. If we cannot name the resource, we match overall FTE capacity to overall FTE demand.
  3. We determine the capacity of each resource and assign resources to a resource type. We then estimate resource demand for each project request and compare supply to demand to identify a supply/demand mismatch.
  4. We determine and compare resource capacity and project resource demand at a resource skill level. Multiple resource skills are considered.

If you answered 1 or 2 for the questions above, you may have an opportunity for process improvements. Selecting resources based on individual projects without an overview of resources needed to staff the entire portfolio may cause you to apply less than ideal resources to projects or even run out of resources before you get to the projects that really change the way you do business. Inaccurately capturing resource capacity or project demand will negatively impact the decisions you make in regards to resourcing the portfolio.

Implementing a formal resource management process where all resource supply and demand is documented and available; and resource requests and allocations are monitored throughout the entire portfolio will allow you to efficiently and effectively manage resource demand and supply. Formal resource management requires a disciplined process, an understanding of the organization’s business goals, and the information required to balance demand and supply.

Ideally a PPM tool should be implemented to manage all resources and ensure that the most appropriate people will be assigned to do the right work. This will allow your organization to deliver the highest business value to projects across the enterprise. There are many good PPM tools in the market and Gartner has some great information on these tools.

Woody Walke is a Senior Director – Project Management Office at Ciber North America. Ciber helps clients solve problems and grow by driving tangible business results from their technology investments.

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