There’s one meeting (actually, it’s often a series of meetings) that is absolutely the most important meeting of the year for the PMO: the project prioritization meeting.
Why do I think this is the most important meeting?
- This meeting defines the success or failure of your projects for the next year.
- This meeting sets out how exactly how your organization will meet its strategic goals
- This meeting has a massive impact on your career
“Whoa there! Did you just say something about my career?”
Yep. And that’s why we need to get out there and make this meeting a success!
Project Prioritization and Project Success
The project prioritization meeting is the event that has the biggest impact on project success right across the portfolio. I cover this in a little more detail in this webinar, but here's a summary;
- If you pick the wrong projects, executive sponsorship will drop off and their interests wander elsewhere… and this lack of exec sponsorship is a key contributor to project failure.
- If you pick too many projects, your failure rate will increase. Why? Well, overloading your resources actually reduces their capacity to deliver and increases errors. This blog goes into more detail.
There is a direct link between good quality project prioritization and the successful implementation of projects.
Projects Supporting Strategic Goals
Let’s pretend for a moment that every project is executed flawlessly. In that case, the business value delivered by the project portfolio is entirely determined in the project prioritization meeting.
Tthink about that for a second. This one meeting defines the entire strategic impact of the whole portfolio!
Makes you want to get it right, doesn’t it?
Project Prioritization and Your Career
Think about all the meetings you’re in throughout the year. When do you have all the senior stakeholders in one place? When are you most visible?
Right, when you’re selecting projects.
Those senior-level stakeholders want something from that meeting – they want their projects to be selected and you’re the one they are looking at to deliver.
And these are the people who also sit on HR review committees, resourcing committees and various other groups that have a direct impact on your career. Make a good impression and people will remember you come pay-review time.
Make a poor impression and…. well, yes, people will remember you come pay-review time.
Act Like a Rock Star!
If you want to have a great meeting, one that delivers the business results you want, but that also creates a great impression of you and of the PMO in general, you can learn something from old rockers like The Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd.
They know that they need to deliver the goods (you can't have a 'Stones concert without some Satisfaction!), but they also know there has to be some theatre, some entertainment. That's why Mike Jagger struts around the stage like a consipated chicken!
Well, guess what. A good project prioritization meeting is a performance. You have to deliver the business outcome of the meeting (a well-aligned portfolio of projects that support your strategic goals and which is deliverable), but people will support that outcome much more strongly if they also enjoy the meeting, if they get something personally from it.
To me, this means you have to talk in the exec's language, you have to give them some real insight in a visually appealing way (not endless spreadsheets) and it has to be interactive. This webinar goes into more detail.
Remember, the impression you make in that Big Meeting will last long after the meeting is over.
Protect your portfolio, your business… and your career
And so we get to the whole point of this blog.
If the project prioritization meeting is so important, why are so many of these meetings based on weak methodology (the analysis you do before the meeting) and inappropriate tools (spreadsheets anyone?) The success of the project prioritization meeting is, I would argue, mostly about good preparation and:
weak methodology + weak tools = weak preparation
One answer, I think, is that few people have really thought about what a robust project prioritization process looks like. There are plenty of “fakes” out there (many built into PPM products).
Another is that the sheer hard work of preparing for the Big Meeting puts limits on what can be achieved. With the right tools, this should not be a limiting factor... and spreadsheets are not the right tools!
So, I’ve put together my view of what a good process looks like and presented it during this webinar. It even includes “One Click Preparation” for the prioritization meeting – hmmmm, maybe I should trademark that.