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I am super excited, as we have reached the Alpha milestone with Portfoleon, so I am going to make a short post about why did I start making Portfoleon in the first place.
There are quite some great project management tools on the market already, such as Jira (my favorite!) or Asana or Wrike or TFS – and many more; the list goes on and on! It goes without question that you should have a tool to manage your projects :)
And yet with all this diversity I could not find any tool that could help me with my portfolio management needs, which happen to be quite different from what I need for project management. When I was looking for a tool, I took time to summarize my needs, and here is the first list I came up with.
I would like to continuously communicate my portfolio roadmap and priorities to the rest of the organization. I communicate differently to different stakeholders, so I need to be able to present the same information in the form of slides, documents, or email updates.
It is important that all the stakeholders can refer to a single source of truth about the current state of the portfolio, to minimize any misunderstandings of what is happening when and why.
From this single source of truth, different stakeholders can be interested in different slices of the portfolio. For example, resource managers will be interested in the workload for their teams, while the marketing department will need to know if we are going to make the release before the next AAOS event (I am working on medical software products and AAOS events are super-important to us).
The reality is changing fast, new opportunities appear, some things get postponed, and the other things get rushed, which is why it is very important that I can quickly and easily change the portfolio plans, without having to deal with a lot of constraints imposed by the system each time I need to shift a project for a week. Ideally, it should be easy as ‘drag-drop-publish’ :)
While I am working on changes to the plans, my stakeholders should still consult the latest approved version of the portfolio plan. When the new portfolio plans are ready, I will need to roll out the changes as a batch, so that the whole picture remains consistent.
Other managers should be able to work on other changes at the same time – without us having to take turns in checking-out / checking-in the whole portfolio plan.
When I am working on yearly and half-yearly budgets, I need to plan my resources and while doing so explore different what-if scenarios to see what options I can have in terms of budget vs. delivery.
I need to be able to monitor the portfolio health by checking portfolio metrics and KPIs, so that I could take action when needed.
In the next post, I will show how we are addressing all the needs above.