What is Software Portfolio Management?

What is Software Portfolio Management, or SPM?  They never taught us about this in college.  This is when you are reading your email in the morning from an unhappy customer who wants new feature X when suddenly your phone rings and the VP of Sales wants to know when you will have an install ready for a customer Y whom you never heard of before and then all of the sudden the CEO walks in and announces that your team needs to start on pet project Z.  Sound familiar?  Enter SPM…a solution to stop the madness.

Here’s how it works.  Your Executive Staff meets every two weeks.  You produce a list of all the hours available that your programmers collectively have for the upcoming two weeks (minus vacation, etc).  You produce a second list of ongoing projects, pending projects, and then you offer up the floor to whomever wants to request new feature X, Y, or Z.  They get to justify their request to the whole Executive Staff, preferrably on paper, and then the whole staff decides when to start on the new project, and how to prioritize it.

This way, project requests get presented and evaluated against the opportunity cost of the other projects, and not based on urgency or theatrics.  There’s a little more to it, but this basically describes an effective solution for an age-old problem.

Mike J Berry
www.RedRockResearch.com

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