Each potential investment is captured in a standardized business case and located in a centralized database. Assumptions are cataloged, screening decisions are memorialized, and alternatives are identified in each business case. Metrics are defined and portfolio views are built. In creating, weighting information and data form the criteria for screening new or existing investments. Organizations should develop a consistent and standardized set of criteria with threshold levels (e.g., risk tolerance, funding and resource capacity and constraints, cost limitations, must-have versus nice-to-have requirements, investment categories). The level of detail associated with the screening process can vary based on the size, risk, complexity, technology, and business/mission maturity of the investment, and if the investment is based on a mandatory requirement.
The screening mechanism serves as a check and balance that ensures multiple, relevant, and timely criteria are assessed against each investment to assure success in enhancing business and mission performance. The screening process helps to identify related investments that might be candidates for consolidation. The process also helps to identify potential candidates for acceleration or decommissioning before a large dollar exposure is incurred. As part of this screening process, detailed gaps in requirements, standards, stakeholder analysis, architectural views, and a detailed catalog of the description of assets should be published and made available to key employees so that investments can easily be mapped to these areas. The criteria used for the screening process should also be made available so that answers to many questions can be anticipated in advance and addressed in the business case.
Inventories all significant investments, both current and planned.
After the portfolio has been planned, you finally have the pleasure of building it. The moment you have been waiting for! At this point, you use that slick silver bullet tool replete with collectors and agents to grab every modicum of data about all things, right? Wrong! Sure, this is when you collect data about the portfolio; however, there is a minor catch-22. Most of the pain points are not cleanly structured to make data collection a breeze. Most of the time, target areas are identified for a reason, and they are a mess.
Many of the tools on the market have collectors and agents. Some have built-in enterprise application integration (EAI) tools. While these are helpful, they are by no means silver bullets. Even if they were silver bullets concerning the data they collect, those data are suspect. EPMO and PMO tend to be the cobbler’s stepchildren with regard to maintaining good-quality operational data. In fact, most successful portfolio management initiatives approach this stage with extreme pragmatism. The collected data are either readily accessible or reasonably estimated and assessed in a rapid manner. Too much time spent collecting and analyzing the data can have rapidly diminishing returns. As mentioned previously, there must be a balance struck between being directionally accurate and precise.
The portfolio and sub-portfolio structures are to be populated with data and descriptors that will allow the previously defined views to be generated and the articulated objectives to be met. Lists of active and proposed projects are captured. In most organizations, a lack of standardized project processes causes “abnormalized” data. Often the data must be manually “cleansed.” Some assets are measured and tracked with greater accuracy and precision than others. It is common for infrastructure asset data to be readily accessible and in relatively good shape. Standards that exist for the management of these assets are mature and allow collectors or agents to bring back data in a standardized format. However, the lion’s share of the pain within organizations does not rest in mature infrastructure. It rests in discovery initiatives and projects. It rests in applications. It rests in information. It rests in human capital. When populating sub-portfolios with their components and assigning descriptors to enable views, this reality must be accepted.
Identify Expected Results and Risks
Build Portfolio Views