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Predictive Project Portfolio Analysis
By Tushar Patel

It seems that the speed of business is ever-increasing, spurred on by agile development models and strategies to shorten go-to-market times for new products and internal initiatives.

For project managers, this means the challenge of accurately forecasting, planning for, budgeting and staffing projects is becoming more complex in return. To stay competitive, organizations need the ability to predict which group of projects will generate the most value when the inevitable market or environmental changes occur. This isn’t easy, as this requires forecasting or foreshadowing resource needs and project timelines with high accuracy.

So what’s the solution? Predictive portfolio solutions automate the planning and re-planning process, enabling organizations to quickly adapt to changes –and save time and money. Predictive technologies also enable key insights for future resource bottlenecks and provide a recommended schedule for helping you decide what to work on and when. Here are some important points to consider when making the shift towards becoming a predictive organization.

Understand the business case and benefits for predictive over reactive.

There’s no doubt that changing your project portfolio and resource management approach will require some investment of time and change management. But the good news is, the business case for doing so is strong and simple.

Research shows that enterprises that invest in predictive technologies and metrics today will increase their profitability by an average of 20% by 2017, according to CIO Insight. 

Becoming more predictive with project portfolios, resources, and planning processes will also enable organizations to stay competitive and relevant in this rapidly changing world, as well as, increase credibility of the CIO and PMO by having more accurate work plans and forecasts.
So while making the change can seem out of reach for your organization, it’s a key step toward keeping your PMO relevant, aligning with the business and adding value to your organization into the future.

Leverage predictive solutions to create a higher-value project portfolios.

One of the most important tasks of any project management office (PMO) or CIO is making sure that teams are focused on the right projects and activities at the right time. Yet prioritizing projects can be challenging. Aside from quantitative metrics, like score or net present value (NPV), organizations also need to account for political factors, special projects and other critical operational activities. This complex planning process can take weeks or months, which leads organizations to have inaccurate plans based on stale data.

By leveraging predictive portfolio solutions and methodology, organizations can now take an objective look at the pipeline of initiatives and automate the planning process. These solutions help PMOs identify the highest value projects, and schedule them at the right time for successful execution. The result is greater business contribution to the organization.

Ensure top-priority projects are adequately staffed and budgeted.

Once predictive analytics have maximized the project portfolio by identifying the highest-value projects and activities, the next step is to adequately staff and schedule resources for those projects, and here is another area where predictive analytics truly shine.

Old-school manual calculations of budget and resource availability can be replaced by high powered algorithms that do the work, saving time and frustration of figuring out if you have the right people for a project and when.

And if circumstances, timelines or budgets change—as they often do—the algorithms can help make course corrections faster and easier than starting again at square one.

Use predictive analytics to find—and solve—resource bottlenecks.

In every project, there’s bound to be one: A resource bottleneck that holds up progress for the entire team. And forecasting required resources for new types of projects can feel like taking a shot in the dark. Evaluating whether an organization has the right staff for future projects is important to its success. It’s important to evaluate a range of considerations: What role or team member type is creating a bottleneck? What is the one additional skill or resource type that would make the most impact to the organization?

With predictive analytics, planners can more easily see where bottlenecks are, even stack-ranking them to help build out a hiring and staffing plan. The numbers help provide the needed business case for additional hires, if needed. This significantly takes the guesswork out of forecasting resource needs, since portfolio managers will now know what kind of talent they need, how many people will be required, and most importantly when they’ll be needed.

The payoffs of making the change to a predictive portfolio management model are clear. PMOs and CIOs will quickly see benefits that include: saving time and money; better alignment with business goals; the ability to maximize resources and budgets; and the power to generate the highest-possible value portfolios.

By looking further ahead and leveraging the algorithms and tools that predictive portfolio analysis solutions offer, companies will enjoy a smoother planning and portfolio management process—and be more responsive to the market and their customers. That’s a win-win for all.

Tushar Patel is Vice President of Marketing at Innotas. Innotas is a leader in Leader in cloud solutions for Project Portfolio Management and Application Portfolio Management.

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