Sunday, March 1, 2015

Inside and Outside Project Comparison and Prioritization

We understand the needs of a Project Management Office (PMO) to help drive IT efficiency, cut costs and improve the quality of project delivery in terms of time and budget. In my earlier blog 7 Questions to Ask Before Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO), I shared three types of roles a PMO plays in an organization in terms of supporting, controlling or directing. A PMO can boost productivity while ensuring that priority projects get the most attention, but it is important to perform the right comparisons between projects to prioritize them. The PMO should not be comparing 'inside' of a project in terms of which department/business unit the project belongs to with 'outside' of another project in terms of goals it's achieving. While reviewing projects, the PMO should go over the project charter or SOW, which includes:

  • High-level scope of the project 
  • Goals and objectives 
  • Cost 
  • Schedule
  • Critical measures
  • Potential gains
  • Risks
  • Assumptions
  • Issues
  • Dependencies
  • Constraints
  • Identification of key stakeholders
  • Project's impact on the entire organization

Use a common basis for comparing projects while prioritizing them. One way of prioritizing projects is to group them in terms of:

  • Business critical, strategic objectives or initiatives of the organization
  • Business unit/department critical (one or multiple)
  • Business unit/department need (one or multiple)
  • Internal process improvements or exploring long-term growth by adopting new technologies and/or business models 

Note that the above mentioned grouping of priorities can change according to the strategic goals of an organization. After grouping priorities, there might be a potential need to do project sequencing for execution within each prioritized group. Harold R. Kerzner in his Project Management - Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence book shares key decision criteria for project sequencing, which includes:

  • Strategic priority
  • Window of opportunity
  • Project interdependencies
  • Resource availability

Share your thoughts on how you compare and prioritize projects within your organization.
Inside and Outside Project Comparison and Prioritization was originally posted under Prokarma blog on Feb 26th 2015.