KeyLogic Blog

Learn more about the advances and expertise our KeyLogic team brings to their respective fields.

Identifying the Key Considerations for Successful Project Portfolio Analysis

Apr 14, 2016

How do you know if a project was successful?

The analysis of a project at the end of its life-cycle is what determines whether or not the project was successful. And if it was successful, what factors influenced the positive outcome.

A portfolio of projects is typically executed by a program, office, or division within a government agency to help promote the organization’s goals and objectives. Portfolio-level evaluations still look at the outcomes of each project within a portfolio, but the assessments focus on projects as a unit and determine whether the projects successfully supported the program’s goals and outcomes. These evaluations are invaluable, as they assist decision makers and stakeholders to identify lessons learned and provide recommendations for similar projects in the future.

Determining whether a program’s goals have been met can be difficult when each project produces different types of outcomes. This is because it  doesn’t allow an “apples-to-apples” comparison. For example, projects can vary in size, scope, and period of performance. Additionally, milestones and metrics are often subjectively measured and collected; as a result, they differ from project to project. Interdependencies between projects within a portfolio can also impede the analysis process.

The first step to overcoming these difficulties is to understand what issues you might encounter when completing your analysis.

While each portfolio will present its own distinct needs, consider the following recommendations when designing the framework for your portfolio analysis:

●      Clearly outline the goals and intended outcomes for the program responsible for executing the projects to understand which project metrics you should address.

●      Establish a set of consistent and fair criteria to evaluate each project once the project metrics are determined.

●      Consider new ways to quantify project outcomes – calculate a project’s return on investment; conduct a cost-benefit analysis; or compare the percentage of a project’s planned work against the amount of completed work.

Accurately examining a portfolio at the end of its life-cycle can be as critical as effectively managing projects during their period of performance.

The recommendations and lessons learned significantly impacts the selection and implementation of future projects. Understanding the need to evaluate projects as part of a portfolio and considering the design recommendations above will help produce a fruitful outcome for your portfolio evaluation.

Written by: Megan Yachini