355.0 Activation

Step 8 Plan and Execute the Work

Portfolio management is more than a one-time event that you perform once a year during your Business Planning Process. It is an ongoing process that you use throughout the year. When you build a financial portfolio of stocks, bonds and other assets, you must monitor and manage the resulting portfolio continuously or at least at frequent intervals. The same concept holds true for your business portfolio. Your department needs to select, prioritize and authorize your resources in the overall context of building a portfolio of investments. However, you must also manage the work as a portfolio throughout the year. PortfolioStep refers to this ongoing management of the portfolio as "Activation".

Activation takes various forms. First, when the Steering Committee originally authorizes the work for the coming year, the portfolio managers need to plan for how the work will be staffed and when the work will start. Some of the portfolio work, like support and operations, should already have a staff in place that will continue to perform those functions. The staff may need to be reduced or grown, but the basic staff should already be in place. The project work, however, will need to be scheduled during the year based on priorities, deadlines and staff availability.

Management of the portfolio includes managing the resources, proactively communicating expectations, gathering progress status, confirming continued Business Case validity and project viability in terms of projected benefits. However, your business will undergo changes during the year that may, probably will, call for new projects and perhaps deletion of others. Hence, if new work is added to the portfolio it could mean that other previously authorized work will need to be removed. This ongoing process of re-planning and rebalancing the work based on changing business needs is all a part of portfolio management.

Portfolio management is a mindset. All resource allocation decisions are made in the context of how they will impact the portfolio objectives. The result should be that the performance of the entire portfolio is optimized for the greatest benefit to the organization.

Manage the Totality of Work in the Portfolio

Most organizations manage effort by focusing on work and projects in progress. Once a project has been completed, management tends to forget it. There is some sense of future work in the pipeline, but mostly just awareness that certain work is approved and will hopefully be staffed and executed imminently.

The essence of portfolio management is to keep visibility on the entire portfolio of work. This includes work planned, work in progress, work completed, product transfer to beneficial use and harvesting of benefits. Only in this way is the entire portfolio of work managed to corporate advantage.

Note - The pages below are available in the PortfolioStep ebook for licensed users only.

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355.1 Portfolio Staffing

355.2 Build Portfolio Work Schedule

355.3 Managing the Activated Portfolio

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