First, clean your closet – the key to portfolio management
By David Matheson 2 min watch
As an analogy, consider your closet. Or mine, which is a mess. I’ve got too much stuff jammed in there. So I think that I should get a closet organizer. I go to the store and examine lots of fancy organizers. I have fun shopping around and fantasizing about how everything will be neat once I’ve got the right organizer.
This fantasy is a distraction. What I need to do is clean my closet.
Once I’ve cleaned my closet, I may well need an organizer. But it is going to be a completely different organizer than the elaborate fantasy.
Most portfolios simply need cleaning. This comes before organizing.
I have asked this sort of question a lot, and many companies say 25% – 50% of their projects simply shouldn’t be done because they are simply not valuable enough.
Part of the problem is that decisions about projects are often made in isolation: “Oh, this looks like a good one, let’s add it,” as if you should simply add every shiny new thing to the closet. I know I have this problem with my closet.
This habit is poor portfolio decision-making. Each project decision should be made in the context of the existing portfolio.
How do you know which 25-50% should be canceled? Answering this question is, I think, the essence of strategic portfolio management.
So before you consider a complex resource management system or PPM or flavor of the month, consider whether or not you need to clean your closet first.