The CIO's Guide to Breakthrough Project Portfolio Performance - Deepstash

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A fantastic productivity resource on how to get more done when you’re managing multiple projects

The CIO's Guide to Breakthrough Project Portfolio Performance

The CIO's Guide to Breakthrough Project Portfolio Performance

by Michael Hannan, Wolfram Muller, Hilbert Robinson


132 reads

The Premise: Breakthrough Portfolio-Wide Improvements

When we talk about breakthrough portfolio-wide improvements, we mean selecting much higher-impact projects, at least doubling the number of them that your organization can complete, and being able to deliver over 90 percent of them within plan—all within existing resource constra...

The three most important objectives for any project portfolio are:

  • Selecting the right projects.
  • Maximizing the portfolio’s throughput of project completions.
  • Optimizing the portfolio’s reliability of project completions.

  • CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) focuses on improving the underlying processes required for successful IT project delivery.
  • PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) provides a set of foundational and “genera...

The Theory Of Constraints (TOC) says that in any system, there is one function, resource, process area, or process step that constrains the entire system’s ability to deliver on its mission.

Once an organization has identified its system constraint, it knows that

One way to think of Throughput per Constraint Unit (T/CU) is in terms of “effective throughput,” as it represents what is actually expected to achieve, given what is known about how the system constraint limits throughput.

One simply needs to get defensible estimates ...

A somewhat improved project-selection metric is called “Effective ROI,” as it calculates the actual ROI expected when taking into account the system constraint: Throughput per Constraint Unit, per Investment (T/CU/I).

At some point, however, most or all of this hidden ...

If you can find a way to get more projects done without adding resources, you will have a greater ability both to expand capacity at the constraint, and to use that additional capacity to drive up throughput.

We can boost highway throughput in a number of ways—here are some common ones:

  • We can keep the road free of impediments and in good working order.
  • We can increase traffic density (e.g., carpooling).
  • We can meter the on-ramps whenever their inflow...

In PPM, we tend to focus mostly on trying to make the cars go faster—even when the highway is all jammed up, sometimes causing accidents, and usually frustrating everyone on the highway who can’t get where they want to go. We also tend to jump right to trying to add a lane or two—which is rar...

For CIOs, IT Project Portfolio Managers, and other senior executives looking for a more practical, hybrid approach for improving the throughput of project completions, project staggering is the first step.

It is important to note that task switching is slowing us down ...

It turns out that this is higher than normal, but not by much—seasoned process engineers will tell you that the typical business process contains 70-90 percent bloat. The challenge is to devote time, energy, and the right talent into improving processes before so...

Assuming that most or all of our projects suffer from pervasive task-switching, we would expect an average productivity benefit of 40 percent from focused, single-task execution, with results satisfying three conditions:

  • Change the object being moved through the process.

The goal here is to make sure that the developers always have something to work on. Everything is steered by the volume of planned tasks in the task buffer. So if there are just two tasks left, then one of the developers takes the next story from the product backlog and breaks i...

Ask all team members to block six hours every day on their calendars for focused task work, leaving the rest of the time to respond to messages etc.

Effective ROI is essential for selecting high-impact projects.

  • At the task level, Single Taski...

If we can set up our task-execution environments to more closely resemble a relay race, the behaviours will follow—as will the speed and reliability benefits.

The logical progression can be:

  • Project Staggering
  • Project Buffering
  • Portfolio Buff...




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