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Problems with Project-by-Project Decision Making – Poor Project Performance (#2 in the series Problems with Project-by-Project Decision Making)
By Miley W. Merkhofer

Failure to manage at the level of the project portfolio creates several closely-related problems: including too many projects, poor project choices, inconsistent and inappropriate priorities, and misallocated resources.

Resource managers feel they are obliged to staff approved projects, so resources are multitasked in the attempt to satisfy all. Too many projects means that resources are spread too thinly. Key resources become overloaded and tasks are delayed. Stress levels go up, morale suffers, and the team concept starts to break down. Quality of execution drops, and project schedules slip. More time is spent reviewing project budgets and cost aspects of projects than on shortening schedule.

Miley W. (Lee) Merkhofer, Ph.D., is an author and practitioner in the field of decision analysis who specializes in assisting organizations in implementing project portfolio management. He has served on advisory panels for several government agencies and has received grants and research awards for work in the area. Lee is an editor of the journal Decision Analysis.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Lee was a Partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he founded that organization’s capital allocation and project prioritization business practice. Lee is a founding partner of Folio Technologies LLC, a provider of web-based, project portfolio management software.

Lee received his Ph.D. in engineering economic systems from Stanford University. He is the author of the book Decision Science and Social Risk Management and co-author of the book Risk Assessment Methods..

Additional papers on project portfolio management can be found on Lee’s website, www.prioritysystem.com. E-mail: lmerkhofer@prioritysystem.com.

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