Portfolio Management: Bringing support activity into the portfolio

Tom Mochal, [email protected]’s editor, discusses how to add enhancement work to the managed portfolio that is not directly related to a specific project. This will ensure that dollars are not being spent on projects.
Tom’s views are my agreement. One point I would like to make is that value judgment is subjective. Incentives for portfolio managers are different from those for developers or departments. Although the “enhancement” may require a lot of effort from a few people, is it being cost-benefit analyzed before being implemented? It may not be being managed with the rest.
A developer might have an idea to migrate an internal support application from one platform onto another. It will be quicker and easier, and it will look better while he’s doing it.
What if the company works perfectly as it is? What if the changes cause dissatisfaction among the company’s users? What if there is already a bottleneck in the business process that causes slowdowns in the application?
These are questions portfolio managers may want to answer. Managers and department heads may be more concerned with keeping their budget intact than doing ROI analysis for all these support activities. It’s all about incentives. It’s all about incentives. The department head might be able to claim that we “doubled the application speeds”, which looks great in a quarterly report.
It would be a great idea to bring some of these decisions into a portfolio that has defined projects. This will ensure that the business’s incentives are more aligned with the decision-maker’s.