What does a vCIO do? IT Project Portfolio Planning Process

We are continuing our series that gives back to the industry answering the question, “What does a vCIO do?” and each article will outline a specific service offering of Outsourced CIO LLC in the day and the life of a vCIO.  Some call this “virtual” Chief Information Officer or “fractional” CIO and for the sake of this series, we will be changing the “v” to mean “VALUED” CIO.  Because the vCIO creates value for growing businesses who might not otherwise be able to afford a Chief Information Officer.  Our topic for today is “IT Project Portfolio Planning Process.”

IT Project Portfolio Planning Process – Annual Service, estimated time to complete:  5 hours.

The deliverable for this service is identical to the IT Operational Plan, except for the number of major projects. During the IT Operational Plan, we highlighted 2 or 3 projects as major and planned them in a little more detail. Now we’ll need to elaborate on the other projects similarly. Essentially, it’s just more of the same work; more description for projects in the plan, with the same format, and getting them all in one place for review and approval.

IT Project Portfolio Planning Process is the continuous process of selecting and managing the optimum set of project-oriented initiatives that deliver the maximum in business value or return on investment. It is a dynamic decision-making process, enabling management to reach a consensus on the best use of resources to focus on projects that are achievable and strategically aligned with their business goals and objectives. Similar to your personal financial portfolio, your IT projects are investments and fall into a portfolio in which you must manage risk and enhance your return and value.*IT Project Portfolio Planning Process

A discovery and planning session is facilitated by the vCIO to formulate a detailed and clear roadmap to bring a company to the next level of a competitive edge in the marketplace.  The vCIO provides a concise overview of the vision for IT and strategy to achieve, present, and detail activities to execute the plan.  When delivered, the IT Portfolio Planning Process will produce the ability to cut through unnecessary work and focus only on essential business strategy work, specifically projects that align with the business strategy.  The vCIO will also be coaching the team through a high level of adaptability in order to accept change and reduce unnecessary confusion and risk.

Once these projects are finalized with timelines, milestones, deliverables, additional documentation, etc, then the vCIO gets the plan confirmed by the President/CEO.  The completed deliverable is an operational project plan based upon priority and budget is executed and scheduled. Thanks for reading and may you have a tech-stress-free day!  Also, check out our vCIO Minute video which also compliments this posting.

* Miller, J. (2002). A proven project portfolio management process. Paper presented at Project Management Institute Annual Seminars & Symposium, San Antonio, TX. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.