A portfolio consists not only of projects and programs, but also of the personnel that manage
them. The percent resource utilization metric tells portfolio managers where human resources
are deployed, which helps the organization decide whether it can execute new projects when
“It shows you how you are spending your resources to reach your objectives,” Mr. Vargas says.
“For example, say you have five people but you need 10, or you have five people and you’re using
just one. It shows if you are overusing or underutilizing your resources.”
In her current position, Ms. Baker collects time reports from project staff each week and reviews
her portfolio’s percent resource utilization each month based on a four-week running average.
“When new projects come in, it allows you to know what resources you have available and, if
necessary, what adjustments you need to make,” she says.
While this metric offers valuable insights, Mr. Dochtermann believes that percent resource utilization can be more tactical than strategic. That’s why he also closely examines work demand and
resource capacity—portfolio metrics that express how much work the organization is asking from
its project teams and how much work those teams can adequately take on, respectively.
“The portfolio is all about balancing demand with capability,” he says. “You should perform
detailed planning only for projects that you have the resources for completing.”
PERCENT RESOURCE UTILIZATION
BUSINESS VALUE REALIZED
At the project level, business value realized communicates how much
value a project adds back into the business in terms of cost savings, additional revenue or increased customer satisfaction. Taken in aggregate
at the portfolio level, it acts as a weather vane, telling the organization
whether it’s making the right investments at the right times.
“One dollar can be nothing and it can be everything,” Mr. Vargas
says. “With this one dollar you can generate two dollars. But if you use
it to generate nothing, you are just throwing money out. This is a criti-
cal measurement of the success of your portfolio.”
Calculating business value realized requires establishing clear
and measurable expectations prior to the start of every project, then
determining the degree to which those objectives were met after the
project is complete.
“The results can be used by executive stakeholders and project
sponsors in future project decisions and prioritization of projects,”
says Ms. Schoeman, who stresses the importance of long-term
post-implementation benefits tracking. “The implementation of
this metric is only effective if the actual calculation of the benefit
“One dollar can be nothing
and it can be everything.
With this one dollar
you can generate two
dollars. But if you use it
to generate nothing, you
are just throwing money
out. This is a critical
measurement of the
success of your portfolio.”
—Ricardo Viana Vargas, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMP,
chair, 2009 PMI Board of Directors, United Nations
Office for Project Services, Copenhagen, Denmark