Project portfolio success is about many things, one of which is how seamlessly projects run. And how they run comes down to what kind of access we have to the right data, because with that, we make decisions.

Data = power.

Why is data unavailable?

Data could be inaccessible for two reasons.

  1. The dashboard is a pain to navigate because of all the clutter
  2. Data is there but it's not available for output

Tip 1. Access the big picture when making decisions

At the start of a project, it’s great if stakeholders share an understanding of what makes a project successful. Knowing them, their interests, their expectations, can help you define clear and measurable goals and set a project management plan.

Tip 1 on how to gain project portfolio visibility through the big picture
Tip 1 - Access the big picture to gain project portfolio visibility

First create an inventory then prioritize aligned projects

Project portfolio management is meant to give companies a bird’s eye view of any past, current and upcoming projects. The idea is to first identify all potential projects in the pipeline, by gathering key information such as for example, where a project is in their lifecycle. By identifying your company’s strategic goals and business objectives, you can set aside the projects you think support those.

Once projects are aligned with strategy, filter again to make sure you don’t waste time focusing on things that don’t matter.

Provide forecasting and business analysis so your company can invest in new projects

The idea of having a good project management framework is that it allows companies to monitor all of the aspects of current and potential projects, such as budgeting, forecasting and risk/reward analysis.

Also, if individual project budgets go over the top, you should be able to know the potential impact they have on other projects and whether it’s worth keeping them. Portfolio management techniques allow leadership to see the potential ripple effect of projects falling behind.

Tip 2. Consolidate all the data for proposed and current projects

What beats cross-project visibility and full knowledge of the health, progress, and overall status of all projects?

Tip 2 on how to gain project portfolio visibility by consolidating your data for all projects
Tip 2 - Consolidate your data for portfolio visibility

First understand your project constraints

Unlike a project manager, a portfolio manager’s focus is on selecting projects rather than breaking down tasks. Which means they have to be aware of the high-level and individual constraints connected to every project.

Use a portfolio overview for detailed analysis

A portfolio plan is an overall strategy that helps guide your day to day planning, and when it's fused with a roadmap of all the work you’re involved in, then we're talking. Some project management plugins feature a portfolio-view of projects which allows you to keep track of portfolio progress, timelines, statuses, you name it. You'll also know which projects are overdue, which were completed within each milestone, and what is upcoming.

See progress at every stage with a timeline

Now, a project status report is a great way to keep track of progress and see ahead when it comes to risks and whatever challenges come along. But with a project portfolio timeline feature, you can get real-time understanding of the scope and status of any project, which is absolutely necessary when trying to spot issues early on.

Get cross-project visibility across your portfolio

The idea is to organize your projects, manage updates and plan work seamlessly. So why not have a feature that allows you to understand dates and milestones across multiple projects, and the ability to orchestrate and synchronize activities across multiple projects and teams from a single place?

Tip 3. Use the technology available to automate your approach

Use a simple all-inclusive project portfolio management tool

You should be able to use one resource with many functionalities across the entire company. Having the right tool will stop you from relying on multiple applications. Project portfolio management is already complex enough, with a lot being managed at once; your tool of choice should be super simple and easy to use.

Dream the impossible dream?

Basically, choose a PPM tool that minimizes overhead, manual effort and having too much documentation, but with an intuitive design and the simplest functionality. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it does exist and it’s called Swanly.

Gain project portfolio visibility with Jira portfolio roadmap: Swanly
Use the right PPM tool for project portfolio visibility - SWANLY

Keep an eye on productivity so you can reallocate budgets

Every project should be evaluated individually with its own milestones, ROI, resource allocation and so on. Projects are then reprioritized, while budgets and resources are reallocated based on information you uncover during your resource management, risk management and of course, change management processes.

Make sure your risk aligns

Sometimes you’ll need to reschedule projects if you decide to keep them, but make sure your rescheduling risk aligns with strategy. Collaboration is often necessary before making decisions to change a portfolio. Your portfolio will eventually have a healthy balance between risk and reward, while of course meeting internal requirements.

Get the tool that allows you to do great reporting

A good project portfolio management PPM tool should offer amazing reporting options, so that your process turns factual. You’ll be able to set expectations when it comes to what projects should or shouldn’t move forward, based on your ability to predict the projects that might need more resources for example, or that may prove tricky from an organizational perspective.