Prepare a project schedule using your previously developed work breakdown structure (WBS).  You’ll need to consider how many labor hours each task will take (by specialty and level of experience), number of hours per week available from these same people, and task relationships (what if any tasks can occur simultaneously). Various project software packages can create Gantt charts for you, and when things change, you update your input data, at which point the chart updates itself.  If you don’t use project planning and tracking software, you can use a spreadsheet to manually “draw” your Gantt chart.
The Gantt chart below is a possible scheduling solution for a project to purchase and install an entirely new computer system (presented in my previous article). Below is another possible scheduling solution, in this case for the first three major tasks of a construction project.  I assumed the excavation would be large enough that excavation equipment could be operated while foundation work follows at a safe distance.
Randy Klein is a project management expert, certified quality manager, and licensed professional engineer with 30 years of consulting and management experience.  Mr. About VistageVistage International is the world’s leading peer advisory membership organization, serving more than 18,000 CEOs and senior executives in 15 countries.
Plan Stakeholder Management is the process of developing appropriate management strategies to effectively engage stakeholders throughout the project life cycle, based on the analysis of their needs, interests, and potential impact on project success. You can buy each template individually or purchase the Plan Stakeholder Management Package for 67% Off. This template lists stakeholders, identifies what role they play in the organization and assess how they are involved in the project.A  It also uses the Influence vs. This template helps you to plan your communication reporting to the stakeholders, functional management, client, and project team. The objective of this document is to list the stakeholders, identify what role they have in the organization and assess how they are involved in the project.
This template is an essential part of developing a useful engagement plan where stakeholders are plotted against two variables: influence versus importance. Watch our presntation videos to know the best Project Management tips developed by Senior Project Managers.
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For any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1). Second, ideas come from many sources including customers, internal staff, power users, suppliers, etc. Finally, as the simple process diagram implies, each company will have to determine a “fitness” test in deciding which ideas will be rejected (with feedback to whoever submitted the idea), which ones will be recorded for future consideration and which will move on to the next step. For many small to mid-sized firms especially, their dedication to quickly responding to customer needs is both a blessing and a curse. As an organization’s processes become more mature, financial modeling tools can be another important way to assess a portfolio.
From that data, a tornado chart (in this case for NPV) can be presented as shown in Figure 5. Going one step further, the tool then provides a way to look at the entire portfolio as illustrated in Figure 6 and 7.
Another useful visualization tool related to the one described in Tool #4, but more generic in nature, is PortView (6). In summary, I have highlighted five very important tools that can assist management in understanding the state of the project portfolio. For additional information on portfolio management, see these articles: Assessing Disorder in a New Product Development (NPD) Process, The Importance of a Balanced Project Portfolio, Critical Aspects of Project Portfolio Management in NPD Success. See for example, this article on the role of a Product Manager: The Product Manager and New Product Development (NPD) Success.
New Product Visions is a consulting company that helps organizations improve the effectiveness of their new product development processes. This entry was posted in Innovation Management, NPD Metrics, NPD Organization Structure, Overall NPD Process, Phase Gate Development Process, Project Portfolio Planning, Uncategorized by admin.


Before IT work becomes a technology project, the project is defined, classified, risk factor assessed and then will be reviewed and approved by key leadership.
Vistage members participate in Chair-led advisory board peer groups, receive one-to-one coaching, learn from expert speakers, and interact among a global network of CEOs. It sets out the current state of understanding of stakeholder power and impact, detailing key goals for each group. Easily get a visual overview of project status, task interdependence, sequencing and dates through Gantt charts. Returning to the concept of entropy, a way to bring order to chaos is to put energy into the system. This process can be viewed as a sub-process to the overall project portfolio management system. They come in many forms, including verbal and written, and include ideas for new products as well as enhancements to existing products. That next step likely should include a simple 1 or 2 page description then the idea will enter the portfolio process where it will get prioritized against all the current projects, projects that are in the queue waiting for resources and other new ideas. This process could be viewed as the “fitness” test described in Tool #1, at least as it pertains to customer requests. For many small to mid-sized firms with a few to several simultaneous projects, this becomes an important exercise. In collaboration with SmartOrg, a beta version of a simple financial modeling tool appropriate for small to mid-sized organizations has been developed (5).
The important point here is that for this project, the marketing cost estimates, unit volume estimates, and the burdened unit cost projection, along with the respective uncertainties, are the primary source of the overall uncertainty in NPV.
This tool allows the user to input data via Excel and plot a wide variety of bubble charts, using any x and y axis definition that makes sense. In this example, months until launch is on the y axis, and the project phase on the x axis.
With an understanding it is then management’s responsibility to be engaged in the process and ask the hard questions, and expend the energy needed to bring more order to the project portfolio. The second law of thermodynamics states that all systems move to a higher state of disorder.
IT projects are grouped and prioritized into areas that are aligned with the President's goals and IT strategies. It identifies how the key strategic priorities for each group and an action plan for improving stakeholder relationships will be developed. Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete. It is important because not all ideas are created equal and you do not want to waste valuable, key resources on ideas that really should have been rejected earlier for whatever reason, strategic or otherwise. That should be encouraged but with a note of caution: there is a danger in always listening to your customers. Typically, these requests might come through the distribution network and be championed by, for instance, a salesman who convinces management that “…if we just had this one new feature, we can sell X number of additional units every year!” This is particularly true of software enhancements. This tool allows financial aspects of a project to be input, along with risk factors, then projections made in terms of earnings, margins, NPV, etc. The project team might need to spend more time reducing the uncertainty in these projections, and management can visualize sources of risk vis-a-vie other projects competing for the same resources.
To illustrate, Figure 8 shows another example of a “cumulative frontier” for a company managing multiple projects. All projects are represented by bubbles, the size being NPV relative to other projects, the color associated with market segment, and the segment the probability of success. You and team can manage tasks from any internet enabled PC or Mac.Centralized Project Management. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects.


The purpose of this article is to highlight several tools that management can use to help bring more order to a chaotic project portfolio. A robust process for screening ideas is a good way to protect the portfolio itself and make sure that projects don’t get added without basic up-front due diligence.
In many companies when I ask who manages this process, the answer is “…well, we all do that.” In my opinion, that means no one is doing it and no one takes responsibility. The problem is that at some point, these requests become overwhelming and many small requests add up to a major drain on resources, preventing the business from making strategic decisions and instead priorities change daily.
All too often, organizations are structured such that customers and salesman contact engineers directly who make decisions about fixing this or adding that, and suddenly there is no control of the resources. For companies who have no process in place, a simple Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet will suffice.
This helps illustrate the so called “cumulative frontier” and highlights the fact that it might be appropriate to discontinue or re-think the STAR project relative to the rest of the portfolio, as it adds little value at significant cost in resources. In this example, and very typical of most existing project portfolios, about 90% of the value generated by projects could be done with 50% of the resources.
On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products, further diluting the focus on current projects. Whoever is responsible for the process does not necessarily make all decisions, but guides the process and involve all the key stakeholders in the decision making process. They may not be able to express latent needs, and may not give you a true answer in terms of how much they are willing to pay.
I am not saying this should never happen, but there has to be a balance between satisfying customer needs and making long-term strategic decisions about the best use of scarce resources.
The percentages of time each team member has actually spent on the project through 3Q12 is indicated in red, and projections through the end of the project are in black. Again, some of the projects in the flatter portion of the curve in the upper right quadrant of the graph might warrant a “kill” decision. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. Existing firms with existing products are very good at incrementally improving existing technology, spurred on by customer “demand” and the competitive jockeying that consumes much of our management attention. It is a simple matter than to combine this with other projects and summarize for each key resource how much of their time is allocated for projects and how that will change over time. Of course, there may be good reasons to continue them, but this is one more tool management can use to help bring order to a chaotic project portfolio, and reallocate scarce resources to higher-value projects.
In a perfect world, all projects would start in the upper left quadrant, and progress to the lower right quadrant. Senior management must be on guard that in your quest to compete, you don’t get ahead of what customers really want and at what price they are willing to pay for improvements. Only by understanding where your key resources are spending their time will you be able to prevent overloading the system, a common problem no matter the size of the organization. For instance, in this example, the “Venus J” project has moved almost vertically since the last evaluation.
It also will help highlight where key resources may be multitasking across more than 2 projects. That might be possible for CAD resources and technicians, for instance, but it is typically counterproductive for key engineers. If a majority of projects in this diagram exhibit similar patterns, then the portfolio is in a high state of disorder and management must determine the reasons and take corrective action.



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