Too many projects?

When you have too many projects, or too few resources (it’s the same thing), bad things happen. Projects overrun and scope gets cut back or missed. “The Business” gets frustrated and your people are stressed out.

 

This can all be traced back to a problem in project prioritization and, on this page, we’ll show you how we can help you fix it!

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Having the right number of projects means...

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Coming in on budget

Overworked people make mistakes and mistakes cost money. Matching workload to capacity gives people a chance to get it right and avoid waste.
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Meeting deadlines

Small errors escalate when there is no “wiggle room” in the schedule. A balanced portfolio means these can be absorbed without throwing everything off track.
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Hitting business goals

Delivering the right projects at the right time keeps your strategic plan on target and removes the temptation to take shortcuts to hit goals.
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Increased productivity

People are most productive when they are working within their capacity. Pushing harder can actually reduce productivity because of task-switching and re-work.
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On-time completion

When you’re under pressure, it’s hard to close out projects and so they drag on. When you have the capacity to keep on top of it all, things get done on time.
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Higher quality

Skimping on quality to meet a deadline is irresistible if you’re under pressure, but getting it right first time because you’re not over-stressed delivers far better results.
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Better targeted resources

When you know exactly what needs to be done and in what priority order, you can target your resources where they are needed most.
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Staff resilience

Most people can handle a short sprint at high pressure, but to keep them in it for the long-run without burning out, you need to manage their workload.
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Focus and efficiency

Having the right number of projects in your portfolio keeps the focus on doing the right thing and gives your team the chance to do it right, preventing scope-creep and project proliferation.

What might be broken and how we help fix it

Here are some of the most common causes of “too many projects” that we see. They all come down to having a weak project prioritization and selection process, or worse yet, a culture that resists prioritization.

Poor strategic alignment

If you can’t clearly identify which projects add the most value, you don’t know which ones you should NOT do.

 

Online collaboration tools help business leaders define “strategic value” or “business impact”. Our decision-science-based approach helps build alignment between stakeholders.

 

The output is a set of weighted criteria that represent strategic direction and that can be used to score projects, making it easy to identify those projects that add value and those that don’t.

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Pet projects

Pet projects that enjoy strong support from a powerful sponsor don’t add much value. Pet projects can even destroy value by sucking resources from more important projects.

 

With TransparentChoice, project sponsors build the scoring model using decision-science-based methods that encourage buy-in and commitment. This helps remove the emotional aspect of decision-making and allows project sponsors both to identify and kill pet projects.

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Zombie projects

Your environment is dynamic. A project that was important 6 months ago may no longer be top priority, yet in most organizations, these projects stagger on as zombies.

 

TransparentChoice lets you identify zombies as part of your regular project governance meetings. Regularly updating project status and business priorities ensures that your portfolio is dynamic, changing as the needs of the business change.

 

Online data-collection surveys allow rapid updates to projects and clear reporting shows how projects’ priority levels change when the business needs change.

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No visibility

Many PMO leaders struggle with tracking how many projects they have and what resources they are likely to need. This makes it impossible to balance demand and capacity.

 

TransparentChoice lets you move the whole project intake and portfolio management process online. It lets you see the status of projects as they progress through the pipeline.

 

You can track how much resource would be used for different portfolio scenarios and, where you have too many projects, clear prioritization lets you be transparent about which projects should be dropped.

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Not saying "no"

A culture of never saying "no" sounds like a nice, “can do” kind of thing, but actually it’s toxic. This culture leads to an overstretched delivery team.

 

TransparentChoice helps you clearly rank projects based on value-for-money and create an “Efficient Frontier” chart. This chart helps the leadership team determine where the cut-off should be.

 

Saying “no” to projects is no longer a political or counter-cultural act. Rather, it’s a conscious decision by the leadership team to deliver great value-for-money and eliminate waste.

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Weak estimates

People tend to be overoptimistic when estimating the level of effort required to deliver a projects. Hey, we’re only human! Unfortunately, this leads us to believe we can do more projects than we actually can.

 

TransparentChoice helps structure your project scoring and estimation process to make it collaborative. This process of “checks and balances” helps improve the quality and consistency of your data letting you manage your project pipeline more accurately.

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