Let us demystify the differences between portfolio, program and project management.
Portfolio Management System Should Work With All PM Methodologies
Decrease the burden of your portfolio management work by implementing one of these project management methodologies.
There are various project management methodologies available to organizations today. Every project and project manager is different so one methodology might not work best every time. This is completely appropriate at the project level, but may introduce some challenges when it comes to managing your portfolios and reporting on your projects.
To ensure you get consistent reporting and the ability to compare “apples to apples,” you need a portfolio management system that supports the different project management methodologies. It should be flexible and nimble to ensure you can accurately and fairly evaluate status, progress, risks and more across the portfolio.
Many of the existing portfolio management systems force you to use their project management methodologies to get this consistent reporting. This may be fine if you’re starting from scratch, but most organizations already have some type of project management methodology in place. Forcing your users to change can present many challenges.
That’s why your portfolio management system needs to be flexible. You need to support all the various project management methodologies. Below are a few of our favorites.
Agile portfolio management’s four main areas of focus are on the team and their interactions, client collaboration, flexibility and evolution. The project team works in cycles or “sprints” in order to produce a product with flexibility and speed, with each sprint made up of various tasks working toward a larger end goal. Plus, it allows for constant feedback from both the project team and the client through continuous collaboration. The Agile method is highly iterative, accounting for quick adjustments during a project’s timeline, resulting in evaluations at the end of each “sprint,” effectively tweaking the project in order to reach the final goal.
This methodology provides a very simple way to course-correct if an error should occur. If your team is going down a certain path and after “sprint 3” the client isn’t happy, you can rapidly adjust the upcoming sprints to include what the client wants. That way, instead of getting all the way to the end and presenting a final product the client isn’t happy with it, you can check in and evolve with the client’s requests.
Still not sure if this one is for you? Consider this: if you work with a self-motivated team that communicates in real time, this methodology would work well because team members can quickly and easily adjust projects as needed, throughout each “sprint.” Also, with the Agile portfolio management methodology’s adaptability allowing flexible scope changes, this is typically best for service-oriented projects.
Typically known as the “traditional method,” the Waterfall methodology is sequential in nature, meaning that each task or project must be completed before the next one can be started. The waterfall method requires a significant amount of planning, with requirements outlined at the beginning and little-to-no alterations to plans unless imperative.
This methodology divides the project management process into seven consecutive phases, which resemble a waterfall (hence, the name):
- Study of Requirements
Team members must complete the phase they are in before they move on to the next one. With this method, the best way to plan a project is to schedule the tasks through to the final deliverable and have them remain in order. The result of the extensive planning is an accurate timeline and sticking to budget.
The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a step-by-step methodology used for projects with tasks dependent upon one other. The CPM outlines the critical and non-critical activities needed for the project by calculating which ones have the longest and shortest time to accomplish various tasks. “Critical” tasks are typically started first, with interdependent tasks following suit. This is determined by calculating the longest (critical) and shortest(non-critical) time to complete tasks.
Contrasting to the Agile and Waterfall methodologies, which are geared more towards tasks and schedules, the CPM focuses more on solving resource problems. However, the CPM is based on the fact that there are some tasks you can’t start until the previous one has been finished. When you put the dependent tasks together from start to finish, you map out your critical path.
Identifying and following this critical path allows managers to prioritize and allocate resources to get the most important work done and shift any deadlines of lower priority tasks. That allows for optimization of the work if there are changes for the project schedule, without pushing back the final result. While one of the other methodologies might be best for individual projects, this method allows for resource allocation considerations across multiple projects.
Scrum uses part of the Agile framework and is comprised of an iterative project management style. Within Scrum, the project team is led by a Scrum Master, instead of a Project Manager, who helps remove obstacles to efficiently completing work. The team works in brief two-week phases called “sprints,” though the team typically meets daily to discuss what is finished and if there are any issues. These meetings with the Scrum Master are ideal times to prioritize any overdue tasks and discuss any upcoming tasks that might not have made it into the project yet. This allows for evolution and testing, resulting in maximum efficiency. “Sprints” are used to discover and prioritize numerous tasks within a project.
Scrum focuses on productivity and collaboration so teams can rapidly create excellent deliverables and easily adapt to change. If you’re considering introducing the Scrum method to your project team, it is not difficult to implement and it solves many problems such as confusing or intricate development cycles, inflexible timelines or delayed production.
There are plenty of other project management and portfolio management methodologies out there, like Prince2, APF, RAD and Six Sigma. So if you haven’t found the right one for you and your team, keep looking!
At the end of the day, you want your portfolio management solution to be flexible to support any and all of these methodologies. CorasManage does that without tying you down to just one methodology so your organization can use one or multiple ones that work best for it. Plus, with CorasManage, you don’t have to change what you’re doing. You don’t have to change your methodology to work with us because we’re flexible and support them all.
Solve your current portfolio management problems and adapt to your future needs with Coras, an out-of-the-box portfolio management software that can be customized to fit your needs as a company.