Project portfolio review: the keys to facilitating your governance activities

The project portfolio review is one of the highlights of project mode governance. The project portfolio review is a key decision-making body that validates the launch of new projects, and decides on the allocation of resources and common resources for the various projects.

Project portfolio review is an essential process for assessing the overall performance, coherence and strategic alignment of projects within an organization. It involves systematically reviewing all the projects in a portfolio, assessing their status, results, risks and opportunities, and making informed decisions to optimize portfolio management. The portfolio review provides an overview of project performance, identifies strengths and weaknesses, prioritizes resources, readjusts plans, and ensures that projects contribute to the organization's strategic objectives. With Portfolio Review, organizations can improve project management, enhance agility and maximize the overall value of their project portfolio.

Find out more in this article:

What is a portfolio review?

The portfolio review is a process of systematic evaluation and analysis of all an organization's projects and initiatives.

It aims to assess the overall performance of the project portfolio, make strategic decisions and optimize resource allocation.

During the portfolio review, projects are evaluated according to predefined criteria such as :

This review enables us to identify high-potential projects, pinpoint potential problems and adjust priorities to maximize the value and success of the entire project portfolio.

What's the difference between a project review and a project portfolio review?

Project review

  • Scope: A project review focuses on the evaluation of a specific project, examining its performance, progress, conformity with objectives and compliance with constraints (budget, deadlines, etc.).
  • Objective: The main objective of a project review is to obtain a detailed and specific view of the progress and management of an individual project, identifying emerging problems and taking corrective action where necessary.
  • Participants : Participants in a project review are usually the project team, relevant stakeholders and the project's direct line managers.

Project portfolio review

  • Scope: A project portfolio review assesses an organization's entire project portfolio. It examines overall portfolio performance, consistency between projects, strategic alignment, priorities, risks and opportunities.
  • Objective: The main objective of a project portfolio review is to make informed decisions about the management of the project portfolio, including the selection, prioritization, resource allocation and reallocation of projects in line with the organization's strategic objectives.
  • Participants : Participants in a project portfolio review may include executive managers, department heads, project managers, project management experts and other strategic stakeholders.

Make the right decisions for your project portfolio

It is essential for your project portfolio reviews to :

How to carry out a portfolio review

The portfolio review is an important process for assessing the overall performance of your project portfolio. Here are the key steps to an effective portfolio review:

We recommend regular portfolio reviews, with a frequency adapted to your needs and the complexity of your project portfolio. This enables you to monitor project progress, adjust strategies in line with new information, and maximize the success of your portfolio.

Here's an example of a portfolio review dashboard covering key performance indicators (budgets, resources, progress).

project portfolio performance dashboard example

What are the steps involved in a more detailed project portfolio review?

The project portfolio review is first and foremost an analysis of the key performance indicators (KPIs) within the portfolio. It is crucial for assessing overall performance and making informed decisions.

KPIs provide quantitative and qualitative measures of project progress, such as on-time delivery, on-budget delivery, quality of deliverables, stakeholder satisfaction, etc.

By analyzing these indicators, it is possible to identify problem projects, spot trends, compare performance between projects and highlight areas requiring particular attention.

By analyzing portfolio performance indicators, you can adjust priorities, allocate resources optimally and ensure that projects contribute to the organization's strategic objectives.

Some topics may be the subject of dedicated forums. Here is a general structure that can be used to conduct a more comprehensive project portfolio review as required:

Select projects for inclusion

Review the list of current and potential projects for the portfolio and select those to be evaluated.

To arbitrate on new project requests within a portfolio, it is essential to establish a clear prioritization process based on pre-established criteria. This process can include assessment of the request's strategic alignment with organizational objectives, analysis of the project's potential added value, assessment of risks and constraints, the organization's ability to carry out the project, and comparison with existing projects in the portfolio. Using these objective criteria, project requests can be compared fairly, enabling informed decisions to be made on which to accept, delay or reject, based on their overall contribution to the organization's strategy and objectives.

Analyze project risks

Project risk assessment is an essential step in project management. Project risk analysis consists of identifying, analyzing and evaluating potential risks that could affect the success of the project. This involves identifying sources of risk, estimating their probability of occurrence, assessing their impact on project objectives, and determining appropriate mitigation measures. By proactively assessing risks, the project team can anticipate potential obstacles, take preventive measures and develop contingency plans to minimize negative effects. Rigorous risk assessment improves decision-making, strengthens project resilience and promotes overall success.

Evaluate project progress

Assessing the progress of projects within a portfolio is essential for effective management. This involves regularly monitoring ongoing projects, examining their progress against targets, milestones achieved, tasks in progress and expenses incurred. By assessing progress, potential delays, deviations from forecasts and emerging problems can be identified. It also provides the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments, reallocate resources where necessary, and take corrective action to ensure successful project completion. By regularly assessing the progress of projects within the portfolio, it is possible to maintain an overall view of their performance, make informed decisions and maximize the overall value of the project portfolio.

Identify any resource imbalances or overloads

By ensuring a balanced distribution of resources, the organization can optimize the use of available resources, minimize resource conflicts and maximize the chances of success for the entire project portfolio. Managing the capacity of project resources within a project portfolio is essential to ensure efficient allocation of available resources. This involves assessing the resource demand for each project, identifying the skills and capabilities required, and planning their allocation in a balanced way. By managing resource capacity, it is possible to avoid overload or under-utilization, optimize project team productivity and minimize resource conflicts. Effective resource capacity management ensures that projects have the skills and resources they need to achieve their objectives, while maximizing the overall efficiency of the project portfolio.

What tools should you use to review your project portfolio?

There are several tools that can be used to carry out a project portfolio review. Here are a few commonly used examples:

You can centralize these tools in project portfolio management (PPM) software such as Project Monitor. PPM software offers functionalities specifically designed for project portfolio management. They enable you to centralize project information, analyze performance, manage resources, prioritize projects and facilitate decision-making.

With Project Monitor :

🔎 To sum up,

An effective project portfolio review can be achieved through the use of project portfolio management software.

This type of software offers advanced features for centralized information, real-time visibility and in-depth analysis of portfolio progress.

It facilitates the collection of up-to-date data, the evaluation of key performance indicators, the detection of discrepancies and potential risks, and informed decision-making.

With project portfolio management software, portfolio reviews become more efficient thanks to data visualization, automated report generation, facilitated collaboration between stakeholders and proactive project management. This optimizes the use of resources, minimizes risks and maximizes results to ensure the overall success of the project portfolio.

Facilitate governance with Project Monitor

Simplify the management of your project portfolio with the project and portfolio review facilitation features of Project Monitor.

illustration project portfolio review

Other useful articles for Project Portfolio Review

Other frequently asked questions about project portfolio management :

What is a strategic portfolio review?

A strategic portfolio review is an in-depth assessment of all an organization's projects and initiatives, focusing on their alignment with the company's strategic objectives. The purpose of the review is to assess the relevance of projects to the organization's overall vision, to identify key projects contributing to the achievement of strategic objectives, and to adjust priorities where necessary. It enables informed decisions to be made on resource allocation, project selection and risk management, to ensure optimal strategic alignment of the portfolio.

What is the purpose of portfolio management?

Portfolio management offers many advantages for organizations. It enables all projects and initiatives to be grouped, evaluated and managed under a single, coherent umbrella. Effective project portfolio management maximizes value, controls risk and optimizes the use of resources, leading to positive results for the organization.

How do you manage a project portfolio?

To effectively manage a project portfolio, it is essential to implement a structured approach that includes project selection and prioritization, allocation of appropriate resources, regular progress monitoring, risk and issue management, and transparent communication with stakeholders. Periodic assessment of portfolio performance and adjustments based on results achieved are also necessary to ensure strategic alignment and overall success.

How do you build up a project portfolio?

Building a project portfolio involves several key steps. Identify potential projects in line with your organization's strategic objectives. Assess their relevance, feasibility and alignment with the overall vision. In this article, you'll find tips for building your project portfolio.

What are the project portfolio performance indicators?

These indicators may vary according to the organization's specific objectives and priorities, but some commonly used ones include return on investment (ROI), on-time delivery, budget compliance, stakeholder satisfaction, quality of deliverables, resource productivity and risk reduction. See this article for examples ofproject portfolio performance indicators.