Project Portfolio Management Mistakes that You Should Avoid

As project managers, it is important to create plans that effectively cover all aspects of project lifecycles. Despite experience and knowledge in the field, some common mistake and errors may arise. Here are some of the most common mistakes made when managing IT portfolios.

No tangible investment strategies

It is a common practice in many IT companies, whether start-ups or larger corporations, to directly start with budgeting and funding. The projects scoring higher on the priority list are picked off based on the budget until the funds have been completely exhausted. The remaining projects are simply postponed or backlogged. When prioritizing projects, it is important to understand the individual needs of different business units and then create strategies that are helpful in achieving broader business goals.

Ignoring return profiles / risks

A common mistake made by many companies in managing IT portfolios is ignoring the risk factor. Lack of planning and assessment for returns as well as risk profiles is an essential part of management as it allows your company to be prepared for any negative developments. Not giving risk assessment and return profiles enough importance can lead to initiatives that are low on risk as well as returns, starving your organization. With the right assessment, you can make use of innovative, as well as game changing IT initiatives.

When it comes to IT portfolio management, you can categorize projects into four broad categories that include strategic applications, key operational applications, support applications, as well as high potential applications. While planning for the first three categories are commonly addressed in companies, many tend to consider high potential applications owing to lack of research and planning in risk assessment.

Focusing on lists instead of the big picture

 Companies also tend to simply make lists of IT projects rather than considering the big picture. It is important to take a holistic and strategic approach to portfolio management. If you simply evaluate a project based on budget or time, you are not addressing the core business values and understand very little of the portfolio objectives.

Overlooking budgeting for mundane projects

It is not advisable to include only new and/or important initiatives in your company’s portfolio. Ensure that ongoing projects that are often sidetracked are also given enough time and budget to provide overall benefits. With the right initiatives and strategies, you can enable your company to monitor and use resources in an appropriate manner. These resources include everything from investments, business processes, IT portfolio etc and should be used with minimal duplication.

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