Irecently realized that an important part of effective portfolio management is really all about ime. While my organization, the Mayo Clinic, has migrated to a new enterprise time-tracking tool this year, it’s struck me that many portfolio managers need to look more closely at time. Time heavily influences the expected value in all projects and organizational activities. Time, as the saying
goes, is indeed money, and the different types of
time need to be managed effectively.
The first way to think about time is how long it
will take projects within our portfolios to successfully achieve their intended benefits and value. In
competitive markets, time will make or break the
project. Will it beat the competition to market and
gain the necessary ROI? In government-regulated
organizations like healthcare, time can be in the
form of a mandated deadline required to conduct
basic business operations.
For every project, the cost of time needs to be
identified and quantified. For example, what type
of time should a portfolio manager estimate, count
and manage? Is it the billable hours you pay to
external consultants and vendors? Is it the time
that internal staff dedicates to this project? Also,
how much time do high-level leaders who oversee
the project need? At my organization, we also have
to factor in our consulting physicians and clinical
leaders. How much of their time is necessary to
make sure whatever we are working on meets our
These are tough questions that need to be discussed and addressed to provide for a consistent
enterprise approach to estimating and quantifying
the cost of time.
Teresa (Terri) Knudson, PMP, PgMP, is the director
of the enterprise portfolio management office at
the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. She
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
We try to answer these questions by looking at
another type of time: What each person, each
day, spends their time doing. I realize many
organizations track this time very closely, which
often translates into billable hours to a customer.
Organizations also want to measure this time to
determine if the projects are profitable. While
this measurement can be a valuable tool, for my
organization we need to make sure it does not
adversely impact patient services. The main point
is to manage time so it can provide actual benefit.
So how exactly are we tracking time? First, we’re
keeping it simple by starting at a high level. We are
creating major categories of effort so our staff can
record their time quickly and easily. Second, we’re
implementing time-tracking tools in areas that
need it. For instance, an in-demand department
like IT gets great value from tracking and managing staff time. Next, we’ll introduce this concept to
other parts of the organization that provide core
business services that could improve operations
through time management.
Time is limited, and finding ways to spend it
Take a closer look at how time affects
more effectively is not only good for business
but also rewarding for our staff. As author and
business coach Brian Tracy says, “There is never
enough time to do everything, but there is always
enough time to do the most important thing.”
Portfolio management requires using a wide
range of skills, knowledge and information to make
sure our organizations spend their time wisely to
achieve success. PM
your projects. It might be costing you.
BY TERESA (TERRI) KNUDSON, PMP, PgMP
not only good