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Project Template for a Project Portfolio Database
By Miley W. Merkhofer

The information entered into a portfolio database should include, at minimum, the project name, type, and a brief description; internal and external requirements; number and skills of people required; estimated time to completion; and estimated cost. Importantly, the recorded information must also include some level of business justification and value assessment. What, exactly, is the need that is being addressed? What benefits are expected from doing the project? When will these benefits begin to accrue? Also, risks associated with successfully completing the project or securing the benefits should be identified. Finally, in situations where change is rapid, the time urgency of the project should be indicated. If the project is delayed, what will the consequences be?

If project information is standardized, a template can be provided for submitting project proposals. The template may be a paper form or an electronic form. Using a standardized project information template encourages complete proposals and more consistent proposal evaluations.

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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