Projects have become the main vehicle for pursuing corporate change. Each day, dozens, even hundreds, of internal change projects are running at any large or medium-sized company or public organization. In a tight economy management teams are facing a problem. On one hand they have to be parsimonious in the short term, on the other hand they have to invest in the future. The key question is: which development projects or programs will take the organization in the right direction?
Thinking Portfolio® is the tool for making the right decisions. It is a practical tool for strategic management. The portfolio management model supports business-driven planning and decision-making based on a firm overall grasp.
The management principle
The management principle
At it simplest, portfolio management is a question of managing and balancing earnings, investments, and risks. Earnings can be, for example, cost savings, a growth in productivity, the acquisition of new custom, or increased net sales. Investments also include the use of time and money; these include project work, training, start-up and maintenance.
Main types of management portfolios
Three main types of management portfolios
1. The Development Portfolio contains descriptions of the development proposals, ideas, and scenarios (for exampledevelopment programs) aiming at the organization’s future.
2. The Project Portfolio contains projects and their sub-projects that are planned, underway, or completed.
3. The Asset or Resource Portfolio contains, for example, applications, skills or processes that the organization has obtained for its use through development projects and investments.
Why Thinking Portfolio?
1.1. Spreadsheets are one-user solutions
Many organizations rely on spreadsheets for managing their project portfolio. A spreadsheet is a flexible solution, but it has some shortcomings. First of all, it is typically a one-user solution. Sharing and simultaneously updating a spreadsheet can be difficult and prone to errors. Furthermore, a spreadsheet offers limited possibilities to build a good user interface. Finally, there is the question of support and development of a spreadsheet application. It is often a result of the work of one person and others find it difficult to make alterations without breaking the application.
1.2. Project management software lack strategic views
There are alternatives to spreadsheets for project portfolio management. Leading project management systems offer a portfolio view. The problem is that they are more administratively than strategically oriented. They build the portfolio from the operational level up and are designed for project professionals, which makes them too complicated for business users. Implementing these solutions takes time and money and success is not self-evident.
1.3. Thinking Portfolio is a strategic management tool
We offer an alternative to spreadsheets and complicated project management systems. Thinking Portfolio is a strategic project management tool that is made for business people. It is an online service which runs on all modern browsers, including Safari for iPad. It is simple enough to learn without extensive courses or thick manuals and is cost-effective to run. Thinking Portfolio is a strategic management tool. It allows the management of the whole project portfolio from project inception to follow-up.
1.4. Ease of use
Thinking Portfolio offers a simple interface to view, manage and report the entirety of an organization’s projects. It allows different units and departments use the same database. In this way, everyone gets their own portfolio but, at the same time, the information is reportable at the enterprise level. Individuals can even have a portfolio of the projects that they are personally involved in.
1.5. Support for programs and projects
Thinking Portfolio allows the use of programs and projects. Programs can consist of several projects. Program and project information is managed on project pages and can be presented in the form of tables and reports.
1.6. Simple user management
The user management of the application is simple. Administrative users can add users and give them access rights based on their organization and role. We are able to integrate Thinking Portfolio with Active Directory through our Think Link service. This makes the use of Thinking Portfolio more comfortable, as users don’t have to enter a username and password while logging into the application.
1.8. Multilanguage support
Our customers have reported the following benefits of using Thinking Portfolio:
- Projects become aligned with the company’s strategy
- Project benefits and risks are considered in every proposal
- Program management becomes transparent
- Decision-makers can focus on the important issues
- Management groups are able to follow up active projects and their results
- The portfolio fosters systematic innovation and decision-making processes and a professional project culture
Project Portfolio Features
Thinking Portfolio S3 project portfolio offers an easy-to-use solution for recording working hours on a project. The user fills in completed hours in a weekly timesheet. The mobile timesheet Web app lets users record their project working hours with a smartphone.
2.1. Portfolio views
These are spreadsheet-like tables that allow the user to get a view of the whole portfolio. The user can customize the view by filtering out projects based on their key information. Typical filters include status, project owner, project manager, project type, and so on.
There are also portfolio views for the timeline and information quality – completeness and timeliness of the information.
By clicking on the project or program name the user opens the individual project’s information.
2.2. Project pages
Every program or project in the portfolio is presented on one to five pages. The pages consist of so-called ‘widgets’. A widget can consist of text fields or interactive graphs. Our goal has been to minimize manual typing while creating a project description.
We parameterize page layouts and widget contents according to the client’s needs. We have an extensive library of widgets to choose from.
A typical selection of widgets contains the following information:
- Basic program/project facts
- Strategic focus
- Risk analysis
- Measurable benefits and concrete results
- Degree of development
- Organizations/processes targeted
- Strategic goals
- Project budget
- Cash flow projections (business case)
- Project schedule
- Project health report
- Project organization
- Project diary and documents
Thinking Portfolio offers a large selection of graphic and textual reports. The information presented in these reports comes from the projects that the user has selected or filtered out in the portfolio view.
2.4. Link to project management
Thinking Portfolio creates a link between project and portfolio management. Project managers are able to give status reports (Project Health Check) using the application. Part of the information can be retrieved from external systems, like SAP.
Since Thinking Portfolio is software as a service (SaaS), it requires no investments from the customer. We have made the deployment of the application as straightforward as possible. The application runs on any modern web browser, including iPad Safari.
Implementation and Use
3.1. User interface
3.2. User management
The specifcation of Thinking Portfolio’s access control is role-based. With the Project Portfolio, the roles can be, for example, a member of the board of directors, a member of a steering group, project manager, and so forth. The role nomenclature is determined customer-specifcally.
3.3. Our Service Model
Thinking Portfolio provides a convinient hosting-solution in cooperation with Cygate Oy. Our cloud services all data is located in Finland. In that case customer does not have to install any application as a part of their IT environment, and the most up-to-date version of the application is always available. Usage and maintenance are managed over secure connections. Limiting the use to certain IP addresses is also possible. The service model includes telephone and e-mail support for the customer’s administrative user.
3.4. Proof of Concept
We recommend the implementation of our fast Proof of Concept project (PoC) with the customer. After a few meetings, we will customer-specifcally implement an application that be accessed from our server for a trial period of one month.