Prioritising Projects in a Portfolio

Following on from the PMO Manager’s Lunch where we talked about the realities of portfolio management and portfolio office (you can download the report here) and due to the enormous amounts of conversation that are happening around this subject at the moment in PMO circles – we thought we need a real-life case study PMO Mini-Masterclass on the subject.

Step forward Carnival UK – perhaps better known for the cruise ships and liners of P&O and Cunards – who did a great job of taking the PMO Flashmobbers through how they started their portfolio management office and began prioritising projects using scorecards.

You can see part of the presentation below – for the full session and access to the slides etc, take a look at the PMO Mini-Masterclass on-line – a must-watch for anyone in PMO today.

Jessica and Tom did an excellent job, here was the brief:

In portfolio management and the Portfolio PMO there is a focus on doing the right projects and programmes in line with the organisation’s strategy. When it comes to initiatives, the Portfolio PMO has a role to play in supporting an organisation’s prioritisation of them.

So how far ahead does your Portfolio PMO do this? A year out, two, three? More?

Unfortunately, we all recognise that businesses don’t tend to think that far ahead about what or how, outcomes or problems which they are trying to solve and end benefits.

Does your Portfolio PMO struggle with this? Is prioritising initiatives just a catchy heading with nothing of substance behind it?

Do you also have the problem of marrying together the financial planning process of the business who are mainly concerned with the numbers whilst your PMO are trying to focus on the delivery AND the numbers?

In this session, Carnival UK share the challenges, successes, scorecards and stories.

Three Takeaways

These were just my three takeaways – I’m sure you’ll pick up on other things they covered but for me, these were the things that stood out.

If the portfolio office is going to do a successful job with prioritising initiatives it needs to:

1. Need to Understand the Business – might seem obvious, but you get a good sense of just how much understanding you need when you listen to Jessica and Tom talking about it.

2. It needs to be personal communication – when working with the business area owners to understand their priorities in their areas of the business. 1-2-1s are crucial.

2. Scorecards that work in the context and culture – there are lots of different types of scorecards – different ways to prioritise. Context and culture are everything when it comes to choosing the right questions to ask

Here’s Jessica talking about their portfolio office and getting started on project prioritisation (10 minutes), to see the full session, take a look at the PMO Mini-Masterclass.


Project Prioritisation - Scorecards


About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

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