Given the dynamics of healthcare legislative shifts in the United States, a mid-western healthcare foundation was launching a new strategic plan. With so many projects already in process, combined with the need to launch initiatives to enable the new strategy for their communities, the foundation wanted to answer:
- Which projects should we invest in first?
- Which staff have capacity to work on current and new projects?
- How do we prevent staff stress, burnout or turnover?
- Which projects can be done in parallel?
- How do we develop a roll-out plan for these many moving parts, strategically, to best enable activation of the new strategy?
Enter Project Portfolio Management
The team at Grantbook offered the approach to consider all foundation projects like a portfolio of stocks. In fact, each project is an investment of people and money. Most people with investment portfolios, manage their investments to maximize profit (or hire someone to manage it for them). Thus, a foundation can do the same with its projects by implementing Portfolio Management, a process by which financial and human resources are optimized to maximize value for positive impact to the foundation (internally and/or externally).
So, the portfolio of projects was looked at holistically and analyzed in terms of meeting the 5 goals of Portfolio Management which are:
- Impact - allocate resources to maximize the impact of the portfolio (impact to community and long-term strategy)
- Balance - achieve a desired balance of projects across impact areas or goals
- Strategy - link project effort to strategy, top down and bottom up
- Number - balance availability of staff and the volume of work to be completed
- Sufficiency - pick the right number and combination of projects to meet goals
Grantbook sliced and diced some of the foundation’s project portfolio data. One of several interesting findings was that the foundation had not allocated an equal level of effort or investment across its three strategic goals.
As shown in this chart, there was over-investment in Governance and Organizational projects and under-investment in Partnerships and Leadership. Seeing this big picture enabled the foundation to bring its project portfolio into balance.
If you and your staff are experiencing the feeling of drowning in projects, consider portfolio management.
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