IT portfolio management provides you with a rich source of data that you can use to guide decisions about your current projects. It emphasizes a focus on goals like revenue growth, cost reduction, adherence to regulations, and business continuity and requires input from across the organization to be successful. Through IT portfolio management, responsibility for critical systems is distributed throughout the company to encourage collaborative problem solving when IT-related issues occur and gain better visibility of all IT demands placed on the department. For an effective IT portfolio management strategy, include the following four components in your plan and consider enlisting the support of a strategy management consultant.
Building a Registry
Before you can organize your IT projects, you need to know exactly what those projects look like. Collect detailed information about all of the technology you have at your disposal and all of the projects currently underway, including the name, length, estimated cost, business objective, ROI, and business benefits of each one. If possible, compile information about these projects into a single, shareable database to ensure that everyone has easy access to it. It may be helpful to get the help of managers in other departments and ask them to fill out a form with essential information for each of their current projects.
By creating a registry of your projects, you can easily find and update information about each one. This gives you the ability to quickly determine whether they’re on track, what resources are needed to complete them, and how to resolve any problems that may occur with them. It also gives you a better understanding of how the company is using its resources and shows where they can be improved.
Identifying Strategic Objectives
At the beginning of each year or at another set point, meet with internal leadership to discuss the company’s goals and the projects planned to support those goals. For each project proposed, collect business cases that demonstrate the estimated costs, ROI, business benefits, and potential risk, among other factors, and have project leads present their findings. You can then decide which projects to fund based on how closely it meets the previously discussed goals and whether its cost-benefit ratio is acceptable for the company.
Identifying strategic objectives on a regular basis helps ensure not only that the company continues to grow at a strong pace, but that the projects undertaken in each year are directly related to specific objectives. This can lead to better time and resource management within the IT department, as you’ll be more confident that you are spending your IT resources on necessary projects with a high chance of success.
Prioritizing and Categorizing
Once you have chosen the projects that best align with your business goals, rank them by importance to ensure that you are funding the ones that will have the most impact. Categorizing each project based on its budget, goals, amount of resources needed, and other criteria can be helpful in determining which ones are most needed. Remember that projects that are lower priority will not necessarily be ignored — they are simply being set aside for the time being and, with proper planning, can still get done after higher priority projects have been completed.
This structure clearly shows what the company values most and puts everyone on the same page when it comes to directing resources towards projects. Clearly communicating goals, timelines, and plans helps avoid wasted resources and keep projects moving in a timely manner. It also allows managers to look ahead at what’s coming next and make strategic decisions within their own teams accordingly.
Managing and Reviewing the Portfolio
Now that your portfolio has been arranged, it’s important to continue maintaining and monitoring it. Establish a way to get project updates from managers, whether through weekly emails, monthly meetings, or even a Program Management Office, depending on what works best for your company. Enter all updates and other information into a database and report them to executives via a designated Project Portfolio Management Team tasked with managing updates. To make it easier to identify project statuses, consider color coding projects red if they need immediate attention, yellow if there are concerns to be aware of, and green if there are no issues.
Working with IT Strategy Management Consultants
If you find yourself short on time or resources, consider working with an IT strategy management consultant. These professionals can assist with analyzing, planning, creating, and assessing IT portfolios, making them a valuable resource for your company at any stage of the portfolio’s development. Speak to Hartman Executive Advisors for more information about its IT portfolio management consulting services. Hartman provides in-depth support to middle market businesses and works alongside executives to create comprehensive, individualized portfolio management strategies for success.