Do a spring clean of your project portfolio

Elisabeth Varpe WallemObservations

Now, with spring almost at an end, it’s time for a proper spring clean out. This goes for the project portfolio as well!

Growing up, two times a year, there was a major cleaning project at home; Christmas and Spring.

At Christmas the whole house was cleaned from top to bottom, including ceiling, inside cupboards and everywhere else it was at all possible to tidy or clean. I remember this cleaning process as very demotivating and a horrible chore. In addition, it could not have come at a worse time, with school exams, work deliveries and preparations for Christmas.

The Christmas cleaning feels to me a bit like what has been happening in the oil industry lately. But now it is time to look ahead.

With the current financial climate, the projects within an organisation are more important than ever. Doing the right projects, with a good use of resources and based on the best ideas, might well be what turns the future of the business around. It is my prediction that the companies with a strong focus on projects are the ones that will get through the bad times and grow (yes, I know that this is an easy and safe prediction to make).

So what do I mean with spring cleaning the project portfolio? We do the spring cleaning of the house to let more light in, tidy away heavy winter clothing, update our style, in general a positive activity, one that makes me look forward to the summer.

We can do the same positive excercise on our project portfolio!

First we need to get a complete overview of what we have, what projects and new ideas. When we have this overview, the first step is to remove the big, heavy projects that don’t fit with a new an forward leaning strategy. Next, we look at the projects we want to keep, and see if any of them are “broken”, and if they are, if they are worth fixing. This can be projects where some of the project team needs replacing, technology must be replaced or maybe the project just need more funding.

With this, we have cleaned, tidied away and fixed what we already have.

Coming up next is the exciting task of reinventing ourselves. What do we want our house to look like, what design to choose? This can be compared to choosing the new company strategy. How are we going to change it so it becomes up to date and can utilise the coming possibilities. With a lighter, more focused and visionary project portfolio, we will have an edge in the market, compared to others that are still stuck in their old ways.

I wish you good luck with your spring cleaning, and hope you are brave enough to raise the stakes! Summer is coming.