For the purpose of this post let us assume that you have a clear and agreed method to prioritize projects based on organisational goals. Even with a good working model that aligns projects to the organisational scorecard there are constrains of capability and capacity that will come into play.
With limited finances and resource, the selection of the next project from your pipeline becomes increasingly important. Even cash rich organisations have limits on the projects they can select, if you have an unlimited budget you are still constrained by the availability of appropriate resource and equipment to deliver it. Even if the resources are available at the time of starting a project there is a lead time to having the right numbers and quality in place to align with all the projects you may wish to approve.
In the simple example below the organisation’s budget for projects is £3M which if projects are ordered by business score then 8 projects could be delivered. The current team of specialist is 45 people, so only the top 4 can be manned immediately and the rest would be delayed until these projects are completed or extra resource hired or contracted. However current office space and equipment limits the team to 60, which if projects have to be completed on site this would limit the immediate selection to 6 projects.
Managing the pipeline of possible projects is constrained by finance in many organisations, but clear and effective visibility of your available resources; be that people, equipment, office space or any other resources is a solid foundation to the flexible selection of projects that meet your strategic goals. Sensible information on resources used and patterns of availability allow for qualified selection of pipeline items. These candidate projects can be initiated on the basis of business benefit and capability to deliver as well as other possible risks.
Many PMOs that are purely reporting functions are unable to provide this type of service and can often be found assembling a revised resource position and forecast manually when each project is considered for selection. This is an unnecessary overhead and extra cost that usually creates a great deal of stress and is a poor basis on which to select new projects.
Is your PMO able to record and present a forecast that reasonably models current usage and future demand. Tools can help a great deal in resource management and what if analysis for new or revised projects, but tools are only as good as the data provided. Solid resource recording and forecasting requires the input of your whole project delivery team and engagement and acceptance of the project customers in your organisation. Help and support of change managers is a key element to the successful development of resource management and the agile presentation and administration of the pipeline of ideas into active projects.
Few organisations complete this process seamlessly with smooth transition from concept and outline ideas to active business aligned and completed projects.