The Value of Portfolio Prioritization

A portfolio prioritization can be a rank ordering of all projects in the portfolio, a clustering of projects in priority buckets, e.g. high, medium, low, or both (clustering and ordering within clusters).  Portfolio Prioritization is immensely helpful in making decisions about budget implementation or strategy implementation.  On a day-to-day basis portfolio prioritizations can help the line departments determine what gets worked on first if resource conflicts arise.  For these reasons the prioritization can be highly contentious.  It is essential that senior management provides unambiguous guidelines for interpreting the prioritization.  For example, a low ranking could imply a death sentence for such a project and a high ranking could imply such a project gets any resource it wants – these may be undesirable consequences in the absence of guidelines.

Since a change in portfolio prioritization can have important consequences down to the bench level scientists, it is important that priorities change infrequently, e.g. biannually.  More frequent changes in priorities will lead to confusion at the bench level and could result in lack of compliance at the bench level.