Thursday, May 1, 2014

Is Balanced Scorecard the only Way to do Project Prioritization

A balanced scored board needs to provide the balanced view of business progress; perhaps it also has the "unbalanced" nature to do project prioritization. 

Statistically, there is a lack of strategic focus in the process of project prioritization. Ongoing projects and ideas are assessed with a lot of parameters and finally represented in a kind of chart or grid. So to what extent can the Balanced Scorecard be used to ensure strategic alignment of the project portfolio?

Facilitating decision making: Balanced scorecards for many organizations are the only way to represent the numerous and often conflicting project demands. They rarely however lead to the production of a perfect prioritization answer, but are very useful for facilitating discussions and ensuring decision makers understand the various trade-offs. You also need to consider, among other things: the overall strategic balance, dependencies and constraints between components, individual and overall risk exposure.

“Soft” variables: The key variable in actively using a Balanced Scorecard is always the attitude and culture of the organizations, the leadership traits of executives and decision makers. Even tacit agreement to the output of a Balanced Scorecard can be at odds with the subtleties of political behaviors. The resource availability is also needed, so that projects can be racked and stacked based on the scoring mechanism, resources being available to do the actual work; even if it's external resources, there will be availability issues to some extent.

Three sets of analysis: Balanced score cards have their place, but you need to combine with traditional estimation on cost / benefit and to add the third dimension which connects the projects to the strategies they contribute to and use pair wise comparison to give you a view on how they contribute.  And you have to validate on all three sets of analysis - did you achieve the cost / benefits, were your scorecards accurate and did you achieve the expected contribution to strategy? 

Unbalanced” nature: A balanced scorecard by definition must be "unbalanced" if it is to provide a sense of priorities to the organization. As project prioritization can be misleading since it implies that you can make a clear decision or choice about which project is more important. The factors missing from most scorecard systems are resource availability and project to project dependencies. What you really need to develop is a set of portfolio alternatives that support strategic direction. You shouldn't be picking projects. You should be picking portfolios. As a project that seems less than exciting when evaluated on its own may actually be a great choice for the organization because it provides a more support for lots of objectives. 

How to do project prioritization may also depend on the maturity of business. There are about 50% of companies want to take on benefits measurement and usually they are mature in their business area. In the other 50% of organizations, it's probably OK to focus initially on the strategic alignment and scorecards up front; they usually lack the size or maturity to do the benefits management although logic suggests they should. Either way, balanced scorecard should not be the only way to do project prioritization, but it's an important tool in PPM and business performance management.


Tag: PM201A52. Let me share all of you about #5 Tips for Project Management Success,, I hope you enjoy it

1. Plan your day using time management techniques

As a project manager, time management skills are essential because you are dealing with a wide range of tasks that demand a quick turnaround time. Planning your day will go a long way in keeping you organized and increasing your productivity. Assist your task planning by using project management software which helps you track the work of you and your team.

If you are not very tech savvy, a simple to-do list can also be a great organizational tool. Prioritize your most important tasks by putting them at the top of the list and less important ones at the bottom. Having a visual plan of your daily tasks helps to keep you on track and aware of time.

Related post: Free ebook 104 secrets to become a great project manager

2. Include stakeholders in important project conversations

While you will have plenty of responsibilities regarding the project, don’t neglect your clients.

Good communication is essential is keeping both parties informed of project progression, curtailing scope creep, and apprised of changing requirements. Some clients may have different expectations when it comes to communication, so make sure to establish the frequency and type of communication (like emails, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations) at the beginning of your project.

Establishing communication expectations early helps alleviate stakeholder uncertainty about communication frequency and delivery.

3. Regularly communicate with your team

Daily team communication helps keep misunderstandings and unclear requirements under control. Keeping your team informed in every step of the project is essential to project management success.

For example, a study published by Procedia Technology found that good communication skills were the cornerstone of project management. The study examined over 300 “construction project managers, architects, construction managers, engineers and quantity surveyors” and their successes and failures on various construction projects.

4. Anticipate project setbacks

Even the best-laid plans often go awry.

Remember that even with a high amount of planning and attention to detail, your project may still encounter some challenges. Pay attention to complaints from stakeholders or colleagues, and other warning signs, like a missed deadline or cost overrun, that there may be a problem.

Preventing a crisis will keep your project running smoothly, save you a lot of time, and keep you, your team, and your stakeholders confident in progressing with the project.

Unfortunately not every complication can be avoided. Crisis management skills are essential for dealing with the unexpected. Project managers need to be flexible and pragmatic. Improvise and make sharp decisions when needed.

Related post: 92 free project management templates

5. Stay focused on the details

A common problem project managers encounter is having the project aims not aligned with the organization’s objectives. A great project manager will strategize a plan for the project to lead back to the overall success of the business.

Know your project’s scope by heart and avoid wandering outside of the project’s requirements. It’s too easy to get lost in minor details and forget what your focus is, so a well-planned project scope is essential for success.

And final, you should use KPI to measure effectiveness of the project, here are full list: 76 project management KPIs

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