Tag Archives: MoP_practices_in_practice

MoP Practice: Prioritize 3. How to build a prioritization model?

Dia1The purpose of the prioritize practice is to support senior management, portfolio board or portfolio governance body to answer the following questions:

  • Which initiatives are the right projects to invest in?
  • What are the most important initiatives?
  • What initiatives must be resourced above all other initiatives?

The official MoP manual stated that answering these questions is only possible when all initiatives have been prioritized. This prioritization can be done for the portfolio as a whole or when the portfolio has been divided into several categories or segments, for each category or segment.

In this article I will emphasis on the how. I will look at the approach and will go a step further than the manual to give you more in depth details what you have to do. E.g. the manual stated “Agree the importance of each criterion by assigning a weighting or percentage of relative importance – and ensure that the total percentages of all criteria add up to 100”. Sounds easy, but how can you decide and calculate which weighting or percentage of relative importance you have to use for each criterion?

Dia15This article is divided into the following paragraphs:

  • Different types of metrics or selection criteria
  • Single criterion analysis
  • Multi-criteria analysis (MCA)
  • Keys to successful prioritization

To download: MoP (practice prioritize, 140908) v0.1

This post will be used in a new book MoP practices in practice, for portfolio managers who want to embed the MoP theory in their organization. In the coming months several blog posts and articles will be published waiting for your feedback. To see all, select the tag MoP_practices_in_practice.

MoP Practice: Management control. To OTOBOS or not?

Dia1For many years already, the Standish Group describes in their Chaos report about the number of successful and less successful projects. How many projects are delivered On Time, On Budget and On Scope?

Many organizations are using these cpi’s as early warning indicators using RAG (Red, Amber, Green) to express if, e.g. the planning is at risk. Green when everything is running smoothly, Amber when the governance body, the project board, needs to know that problems are encountered but the project manager has options to solve, and Red when the project is off track and the project board has to make a decision. Because it’s an early warning indicator the indicator will switch from amber or red to green when the issue has been solved or a decision has been taken.

On a periodic basis many organizations look at their portfolio and calculate how many projects are at risk and use this information in their performance management systems to show how well they are performing.


Figure 1: Portfolio progress

If you look at figure 1, I could imagine a manager to say “we are doing pretty well with our projects, of course we do have our problems but on average between 10 and 20% of our projects have issues.” Does this sound familiar? In this example there are only two projects that report Amber in the last month, but what does this say? Are we really in control on all the projects? Let’s have a closer look. For initiative a we had some problems in July and as a consequence the end date was postponed. Initiative b is really a project at risk with several problems and the end date was moved more than once. Only initiative c will deliver at the original end date and I has been delivered at the original end date. Thus the manager had to say: “we really have problems with the delivery of our projects, only around 20% of our projects will be delivered On Time.” So if you report on your project portfolio progress it’s good to use the OTOBOS indicators but use the information from the original project portfolio plan as your baseline, and use e.g. changed end dates, to calculate how many of the projects in the portfolio are successful or not.

This post will be used in a new book MoP practices in practice, for portfolio managers who want to embed the MoP theory in their organization. In the coming months several blog posts and articles will be published waiting for your feedback. To see all, select the tag MoP_practices_in_practice.

MoP; The strategic and organizational context at a glance

Dia1MoP can be divided into four integrated elements: The strategic and organizational context, Principles, Portfolio Definition Cycle, and Portfolio Delivery Cycle.

Before you go into the details of the portfolio definition and portfolio delivery cycles you must understand how portfolio management links to the following six key functionalities or activities: strategic/business planning, business as usual, budgeting and resource allocation, project and program management, performance management and corporate governance.

The official MoP book addresses the relationship between portfolio management and each key functionality or activity individually.

To help my students in MoP training classes to understand these relationships, I brought these six together. As a result it’s easier to understand why these relationships exists.

Dia1If you look at the figure, you start at the top. Strategic/business planning drives on one hand business as usual (Run the business) and sets the basis for the scope of the portfolio (change the business). To make sure everybody will do what is needed to achieve the objectives you need to have performance management in place. KPI’s to support business as usual as well as KPI’s to support the change initiatives. Missing KPI’s will definitely result in failure or problems. Programme and project management are mechanisms to deliver the changes. Portfolio management will deliver the standards, processes, and staff development (Centre of Excellence) and the management of dependencies and overall risk management for the programme and project management function. Budgeting and resource allocation (money, people, equipment, facilities, etc.) will help you to control and to build a portfolio that is manageable and realistic to deliver and to keep the shop open. The results from programme and project management will lead to an adjusted business as usual organization and running the adjusted business organization will result in the realization of forecasted benefits. Behind all these functions you will find corporate governance. The ongoing activity of internal control and portfolio management supports this control by linking the strategy with the portfolio, providing a framework to deliver the portfolio, and creating clarity on roles and responsibilities and progress against plan.

Besides these six key functionalities or activities portfolio management can/will/need to collaborate with other functionalities e.g. communications, IT, finance, procurement, HR, etc.

To download the figure: MoP (Org context, 140711) v1.0

MoP Management products model

Dia1Dia1In some of my previous blogs I gave you some material, like a QRC and index tabs for the manual and a reference to the BCG’s dice, to help you passing the MoP exam. In this blog I give you a picture to emphasize on the products used to implement MoP and the ones created during the Portfolio definition cycle and created and maintained during the Portfolio delivery cycle. Feel free to comment and suggest improvements. To  download: MoP (Product model, 130427) v1.0

Who am I to question the dice?

images-1Dia1Several year ago I read the book The Dice Man, by Luke Rhinehart; “If that dice has a ‘one’ face up, I thought, I’m going downstairs to rape Arlene. If it’s a one, … …the other numbers mean bed, the dice is cast.  Who am I to question the dice?’

Now reading the official MoP manual I came across an example about assessing the likelihood of change initiative success and failure. The Boston Consulting Group identified that success or failure ultimately comes down to a combination of the following elements, which the BCG refers to as DICE:

  • The Duration (D) of the project or the time between major review milestones
  • The performance Integrity (I) of the project team
  • The organizational Commitment to change, specifically that of senior managers (C1) and local-area staff (C2)
  • The additional organizational Effort (E) required for implementation above and beyond usual work requirements

So who am I to question the dice?

If you go tot heir website (http://dice.bcg.com) you get access tot their model, videos explaining the model and you could download the article Transformation: How to Load the Dice in Your Favor.

imagesA simple model, which will helps you to identify problem initiatives in your portfolio. Using the model via the webpage, will give you an explanation of the score in the range win, worry, woe, and options (including videos) to improve the scores of the individual element.




The model is build around the following formula D+2I+2C1+2C2+E

  • D score 1-4: <2 months (1) – >8 months (4)
  • I score 1-4, with steps of 0.5: Very good (1) – Poor (4)
  • C1 score 1-4, with steps of 0.5: Clearly, strongly communicate need (1) – Reluctant (4)
  • C2 score 1-4, with steps of 0.5: Eager (1) – Strongly reluctant (4)
  • E score 1-4: <10% additional (1) – >40% additional (4)