42 PM NETWORK OC TOBER 2015 WWW.PMI.ORG
portfolio’s success depends on a series of smart
decisions. Poor choices, on the other hand, can
knock projects and programs out of alignment with
strategy—and put the portfolio at risk. ;at’s a
scary prospect for program and portfolio managers
who make countless decisions each day—some that
make ripples and others that make waves.
But with the right best practices in place, project leaders can feel con;dent when making tough
calls. According to PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession®: Capturing the Value of Project Management
;rough Decision Making, the most successful organizations drive smart decision making by keeping leaders informed about organizational strategy,
providing access to important information and
implementing adequate risk management practices.
By analyzing data and uncovering con;ict, program and portfolio managers can prepare themselves to make informed decisions on everything
from timelines to team structures—and in the
process ensure that projects and priorities are strategically aligned, says Colleen Louw, PMP, senior IT
project manager at telecom ;rm TELUS, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
“I think it’s key to distinguish between doing
things right—which hopefully projects are—and
doing the right things, which program and portfolio
[managers] need to be vigilant about,” she says.
Here are three ways project leaders can better
assess the big picture—and make decisions that will
deliver the desired result.
When decision makers lack the right information,
only 49 percent of projects meet original goals,
37 percent are completed within budget and 36
percent completed on schedule, according to the
Pulse report. In other words, even the most skilled
decision maker will be stymied by bad information.
Getting only half the story—or getting the wrong
half of the story—can send a program or portfolio
manager into the weeds, diverting attention and
energy away from keeping projects on the right
strategic track. Yet 81 percent of organizations
report that their decision makers lack the information they need, according to the Pulse report.
Gathering information at the program and portfolio level is “part art and part science,” says Ms.
Louw. She pays attention to project forecasts and
schedules, but also regularly talks to project teams
and stakeholders to identify potential problems.
Her approach is a common one. PwC’s Global
Data & Analytics Survey 2014 found that respondents relied almost equally on data and analytics,
relevant experience of others, and their own expe-
“I think it’s key to distinguish
hopefully projects are—and
and portfolio [managers] need
—Colleen Louw, PMP, TELUS, Vancouver, British Columbia,