KPIs to Manage your Portfolio

Portfolio Performance.pngHow do you know you’ve made the right investments in your portfolio?  How often do you talk with your financial advisor about balance, mix and the overall performance of your investments?  Are you a day trader or a buy and hold investor?

Regardless of how you approach managing your 401k and other investments, one thing is almost certain.  You have indicators that tell you how your portfolio is performing—both compared to your expectations and the market as a whole.  So, why would it be any different for your strategic investment portfolio at work?   Wouldn’t you want to have insight into the key indicators that tell you that you are making the right investments in money and time for the organization to achieve its strategic objectives?  

Of course you do.  And of course, you already have a way to gather all the information that you need to make strategic choices about your portfolio. What good IT leader doesn’t?  In many places, here’s how it works: The CIO asks for an update.  Then, the PMO polls the project managers to collect data, who in turn asks their team leads for updates.   Then, the finance team does their spreadsheet magic. Finally, a PowerPoint guru creates slides that depict the current status of how the portfolio is performing.  The effort takes at least days, typically weeks, and provides vital insight about how the portfolio was doing last month.  (And, for most of the people involved in this exercise, it’s far from a high point in their day)

There must be a better way.


Consider all of the distinct data that exists within the systems that you use to manage your portfolio – project management tools, time tracking, testing, defect management even service delivery and service management.  For many organizations, the data is just sitting there, waiting to be accessed Yet, without a way to bring the information into a consolidated view, you have to rely on a slow, expensive and error prone manual process to gather insight about how your portfolio is performing. (And it’s not current)

Leaders who are responsible for portfolio performance need the right information when it’s fresh, not 15 or 30 days later.   No, it’s not the same as flying a plane, where a pilot must make split second decisions.   But if it takes you two or three weeks to realize that your portfolio needs attention to salvage a troubled investment, it can be a very costly delay.

What do you need?  You need something that can pull the data from the different islands in the organization and then display the information so that you can quickly have insight into how the organization is performing.   You need to see:

Pipeline/ Future Demand: investments that are on the horizon (by stakeholder, objective, etc)

  • Do you have the right skills, technology, resources to meet this future work?

Execution:  how healthy are the in-flight projects for different business units and stakeholders

  • Are you effectively meeting your commitments – especially for your most critical customers?

Balance/Alignment:  insight about the mix of investments (current and future)

  • Are you confident that you are maximizing your impact on the achieving business goals?

External Factors:  information about the status of external forces that impact your portfolio.

  • This could be things you can influence – i.e supplier performance and things you can’t influence, such as business health which all can impact your portfolio.

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One of your most valuable resources is your time.  You need to be able to determine where to invest your time and where it will have the best impact on the outcome of the organization.  

Through timely information in a dashboard like the CIO edition of the IT Performance Suite, you have the opportunity to have actionable information about how the portfolio is performing.  While IT Performance Suite extends well beyond the investment portfolio, being able to quickly evaluate how the portfolio’s performance KPIs is key. 

Whether you leverage technology to assemble the data into a portfolio dashboard, or a small army who herd the data manually, it’s obvious that having insight into your portfolio’s KPIs is essential.

If you’re interested in HP PPM, you can follow us on the HP PPM Blog  or even follow us @HPPPM on Twitter.

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Article source: HP PPM Blog

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