During a recent workshop with project sponsors I got the group to identify what projects underway in the business. They stopped at 40 projects (they could have kept going) as they were rather staggered by the overall size of the portfolio.
Another client identified a staggering number of projects (over 100) and with some judicial cutting soon got the number down to 92 – still too many!
Having a project register
One of the benefit of developing a project register (at its simplest, this is a list of projects that are current in the business) is to identify which projects are current in the business. There are of course others uses such as identifying dependencies between projects or looking at responsibilities e.g. who is the project manager, who makes up the project board.
Does your project link back to company objectives?
One key use of the register is to ensure that all projects underway – no matter how small link back to the overall company objectives. One of our clients was so concerned about this that they included on their project initiation document a box with the objective number. The rule was simple; if you could not identify a link between the projects you were working on and the corporate objectives then approval would not be given. (You can download a copy of the PID here
Who checks on how many projects there are in your company?
During project management courses I get people to talk about some of the projects they are managing and one of the aspects I and my Project Agency colleagues have picked up is that there are simply too many projects in companies! With some of the projects cited on courses it is difficult to establish a link back to the company strategy and if the project manager cannot see it, what about stakeholders?
It is the project sponsors (or Project Board) role to check that the project links back to the overall objectives. For project managers you also need to check that the link exists and if you cannot challenge whether you need to do the project. Difficult yes however you need to raise your head above the parapet. If you do not do it now, when will you do it?