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Manage Your Project Portfolio

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Manage Your Project Portfolio

Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects

Pragmatic Bookshelf,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Maintaining a software project portfolio is the bedrock of efficient software design.

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Aiden, a woebegone software developer, sits forlornly at his desk, wondering how to complete three recently assigned, top priority projects. Yesterday morning, the boss told him that the first project was due soon. At noon, the boss popped in to insist that the second one had to be completed immediately. At 5 p.m., the boss announced that Aiden should finish the third piece of work right away. Faced with these mutually exclusive, idiotic demands, Aiden stopped working, updated his résumé, surfed the Internet and played a little solitaire. In the software development world, this sad story is all too typical. The answer, according to software management consultant Johanna Rothman, is project portfolio management. Her book details the numerous benefits of this proven approach to project management. Although Rothman wrote this slightly repetitive guide specifically for the IT world – hence the jargon – anyone who regularly juggles an array of tasks with burning deadlines can pick up some useful fundamentals from her solid report. getAbstract recommends this savvy manual to software development managers, software engineers and related IT professionals, as well as project managers in other fields.


Juggling Projects

Many software development managers make their team members work on various projects simultaneously. This is a mistake. A manager’s job is to prioritize work, starting with avoiding multitasking, which is grossly inefficient and engenders slow progress – or none – on all projects. Having developers work on concurrent assignments is just as inefficient. Your developers should focus on one project, task by task, until they complete it, and then move on to the next one.

Senior managers may pressure your software development group to work on and complete too many projects simultaneously. Stand up to them and ask them to make a list of their priorities. If they won’t, you must. Working on a project-by-project basis enables you and your developers to meet the company’s deadlines in a steady, organized fashion.

The Project Portfolio

Your project portfolio organizes your work units according to “date and value.” It details the tasks your company “commits to or is planning to commit to.” Your project portfolio should come down to a “big visible chart” that shows when to carry out particular operations, from planning to activation; when a development...

About the Author

Johanna Rothman is the president of Rothman Consulting Group, a software management consulting firm. She writes and lectures on project management and high-tech product development.

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