Successful software development prioritisation for your business

by Don Lowe

November 29, 2018
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Every CEO and senior manager is and should be concerned with ensuring overall business success, vitality and viability. Portfolio management can be used to effectively prioritise the software development projects and continuous enhancement work streams for your business. 

Why block the flow of business value?

A sure way to block the flow of business value that is delivered by your software development team is to not have software portfolio management processes. Development will be done on an ad-hoc basis normally with those that shout the loudest getting priority.

​There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

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Peter Drucker

Each department has important targets to meet and guess what, they all need their digital systems to meet those targets. Let’s face it, if I am being measured on how well my department does I am going to fight for my software to be developed first. This scenario is very common and it creates frustration and anger. The software development team tries to keep everyone happy so they start multiple jobs to show they are taking care of everyone’s needs. With excessive work in progress the system blocks up and nothing gets delivered.

Achieve great results, take the unnecessary struggle out of each day

As a business you need to identify and prioritise those software development jobs and projects that will make you money. I think you will agree that when the business is going well the hard work seems more like fun than a struggle. Working in an environment and culture where your department managers are working together for the good of the whole team is more fun than one where everyone has their knives out.

Forbytes portfolio management article manager choose your tasks list illustration

​Choose the most important tasks - tasks that provide value to the project.

​Portfolio management for simplicity and success

The Be All and End All of software portfolio management is aligning your software projects and continuous enhancement work streams with your company’s strategic goals. These work streams must be prioritised based on defined evaluation criteria. This ensures a balanced delivery of new capability to each and every department in your business as needed.

Senior management and decision makers need to have access to the right information at the right time in order to make informed decisions. Portfolio management helps with exactly that. You can use portfolio management to make sure what you are doing is aligned with your company’s strategic objectives, you have the people to do the work and it is cost efficient. 

​How to implement portfolio management with your current team

  • 1
    ​Make an inventory of all your current projects/continuous enhancement jobs and map them to your current strategic objectives.
  • 2
    ​Identify the value of each project/continuous enhancement job on your to-do list. Ask yourself: “What do we want to achieve?” Each project/continuous enhancement in your portfolio should contribute to either your strategic goal(s) or a departmental need. If they do not do any of these then you can drop them from the to-do list. 
  • 3
    ​Asses which people and resources are available to do the work. Then decide when to do the work. 
  • 4
    ​Based on the people and resources that are available, identify what mix of projects and resources will deliver the changes that you need to get the best value. 
  • 5
    ​Refine step 4 and prioritise the combination of projects/continuous enhancements that optimise business value together.

Having completed the above steps, you will now be in a position to make informed decisions, get your team to work smart and deliver great results. 

Forbytes portfolio management article manager programmer filling work funnel too much illustration

All tasks have to go through the work process funnel, which is constrained by people, cost and time. ​
Forbytes portfolio management article manager programmer funnel too full no progress illustration

​But if ​you try to do too many things at once, you ​won't have any results at the end of the day.

Forbytes portfolio management article manager programmer filling work funnel well one at a time success illustration

​By prioritising your tasks you can ​work on the most important ​ones first and see results.

The benefits of portfolio management for you are

  • ​More efficient use of your peoples' time and resources.
  • ​The ability to deliver software tools that enable your core business to be of a higher quality, more efficient and deliver greater output.
  • ​Better financial control in managing costs and generating more revenue.
  • stop
    ​Increasing your organisational capability to meet changes and remain relevant to your customer base through innovation and new service development. 

​Portfolio management helps with ensuring overall business success, vitality and viability

Here are some more resources to help you on your software management journey: