For the purpose of this article let us assume that you have a defined way to manage the project pipeline. Those involved work to 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. Capacity is constrained by the availability of appropriate resource and equipment; even if you have an unlimited budget. Selection is easy when the resources are available at the time of starting a project. But issues occur if there is a lead time to having the right numbers and quality in place. This can create a lag to aligning all the projects you may wish to approve.
Selecting from a sample portfolio
In the simple example below the organisation’s budget for projects is £3M. If projects are ordered by business score then 8 projects could be delivered. The constraint on specialist means only 4. The rest are delayed until these projects are completed. or extra resource hired or contracted. However, current office space and equipment limits the team to 60. Which limits the immediate selection to 6 projects, if these must be completed on site.
Managing the project pipeline resources
Finance constrains the selection of projects in many organisations. But clear and effective visibility of your available resources is key. Whether that is 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. Business benefit and capability to deliver should drive projects selection, as well as other possible risks.
Many PMOs that are purely reporting functions are unable to provide this type of service. PMOs often assemble a revised resource position. They manually forecasting each project during selection. This is an unnecessary overhead. If extra cost that usually creates a great deal of stress. It 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. Giving a basis for “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. As well as engagement and acceptance of the project customers. The help and support of change managers is a key element to the successful development of resource management. Once achieved this can lead to the agile presentation and administration of the pipeline of ideas into active projects.
Few organisations complete this process seamlessly. The ideal being a smooth transition from concept and outline ideas to active business aligned and completed projects.