Project Portfolio Management – Manage the Funnel

Project Portfolio Management - Manage the Funnel

PPM - Funnel Overview

Executive leadership teams are frequently overwhelmed by the volume of implementation requests that demand satisfaction.  Adding to this complexity is that project requests can come from both formal and informal request channels.  Who hasn’t received project requests via email, brief mentions in meetings, or worse, during hallway conversations?

Even if requests are being captured in an organized fashion, executive leadership frequently doesn’t have the staff or budget to satisfy every request.  In this blog entry we discuss the idea of using a project “portfolio management funnel” to process these request in a logical, fair and structured fashion.

PPM Funnel Process

1. Initiative Conception (capture of initiative requests)

During this step of the funnel initiatives are captured and discovery begins to better understand the request.  The business sponsor is informed that the delivery organization is aware of the request, that it has been captured, and that the delivery organization will perform analysis on the request.

2. Document Initiative Specifics (high level scope, budget, risks, benefits, etc.)

The purpose of this initial fact finding elaboration is to gather the high level information necessary to be able to compare this initiative to other proposed initiatives that are in the funnel.

The specifics of what should be gathered for a proposed initiative vary from organization to organization, but a good place to start is to gather:

  • Initiative name and description
  • Approximate budget ( is possible )
  • Business Benefits
  • Risks
  • Executive Sponsor / Sponsor Organization
  • Critical Success Factors
  • High Level Scope
  • Key Resources ( if applicable )

3. Score the Initiative

To determine which projects advance in the funnel the organization should use a standardized scoring mechanism to rank an initiative’s merit.  The specific methodology for scoring projects will vary from organization to organization, but some factors that should be considered include:

  • Resource Demand
  • Budget
  • Business Alignment ( what organizational goals does the initiative support )
  • Level of Risk
  • Regulatory Considerations (initiative is needed to satisfy mandatory government regulations)

4. Project Approval Process

Once the project has been captured, elaborated, and scored it is time for the approval process.  The approval process needs to consider the initiatives scoring and resource availability.  Again, different organizations will have different factors to consider when considering if an initiative can move forward to become a project.

PPM Approval Process

5. Initiative Execution

After the initiative is approved, it moves to the project execution status.

In Conclusion

Organizations need to consider proposed initiatives from a business alignment, available resources, and available budget point of view. The initiative approval process must be consistent across the entire delivery organization. Remember; just because an initiative should not be approved today, does not mean it should never be approved. Some initiatives will not be approved, not because they are without merit, but because they are prioritization rank is below other initiatives. In some cases it will make sense to put these requests “On Hold” and revisit them as conditions change.

Level 5 Partners offers mentoring and guidance to help organizations achieve these results. In addition we offer the vPMO, a completely integrated web based solution that can be used to implement the processes discussed in this blog entry.

Please be sure to check it out: Virtual Program Management Office (vPMO)

Learn more about Project Portfolio Management here.

We love sharing our knowledge and information about our offerings. If you find the vPMO interesting, contact us for a free no obligation demonstration.

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