Getting started: Portfolio managers

In Project Web App, portfolio managers are the people who guide project proposals through the process of comparing proposals against business needs, financial constraints, and other deciding factors.

Are you a portfolio manager? If so, welcome to Project Web App! You can use this tool to set up project proposal templates, configure workflow phases and stages, and set up and perform portfolio analyses using business drivers, cost constraints, and resource constraints.

What is Project Web App?

Project Web App is one part of an end-to-end enterprise project management solution. This solution includes a client program, Project Professional, and a server, Project Server. Project Web App is part of Project Server. It is a robust Web application that is used to do everything from analyzing portfolios and managing demands, to entering time in a timesheet and updating task status.

Get oriented

The Project Web App interface is made up of three main areas: the Quick Launch, the Ribbon, and the content display area.

The Quick Launch lists the main views and pages that you are able to access. You can click these links to navigate to different areas of the program. Some pages in Project Web App do not include the Quick Launch. For example, when you fill out a form, you must complete and save the form, or cancel out of it, in order to see the Quick Launch.

The Ribbon is the toolbar that you use to perform actions on what's currently in the content display area. There may be multiple tabs on the Ribbon, to change between different sets of actions. Each tab contains groups of related buttons that you can use to interact with the page content.

The content display area contains information about your portfolios, projects, and tasks. This is the main focus of each page, and is where you will enter and review data.

Where do you start?

The starting point for portfolio managers really depends on how much is already set up in your organization’s implementation of Project Web App.

Step 1: Work with your site administrator

If your organization has just installed Project Web App and is still in the process of configuring it, your role as a portfolio manager is to work with the site administrator to set up the project lifecycle workflow and the layout of the pages used to gather information about project proposals.

  • Project lifecycle    The project lifecycle is represented in Project Web App using a workflow that is set up by your organization’s site administrator. This workflow calls out who needs to approve what at certain points during the lifecycle. Workflows are built using phases and stages.

    For example, your project lifecycle may include Create, Select, Plan, and Manage phases. Within the Create phase, you may have stages for Capture Proposal Details, Proposal Review, and Proposal Rejection. A proposal begins in the Capture Proposal Details stage. When the person proposing the project submits the details, the proposal moves to the Proposal Review stage. During this stage, if the stakeholders review the proposal and determine it’s worth evaluating further, the proposal is moved to the Select phase. If the stakeholders decide to reject the proposal, it moves to the Proposal Rejection stage, during which the reason for the rejection is communicated to the person who proposed the project.

    If your organization is in the initial stages of setting up Project Web App, defining the logic to your project lifecycle is a great starting point. You’ll need to think through what the phases and stages of the project lifecycle are for your organization, and communicate those to your site administrator.

  • Project detail pages    While the site administrator is the person who actually sets up the pages that are used for capturing details about project proposals, the portfolio manager is responsible for determining what information needs to be captured during each phase and stage of the project lifecycle. You need to think through what information is critical for making the decisions associated with the phases and stages in the lifecycle, and then communicate that information to your organization’s site administrator.

Once the site administrator has set up Project Web App to reflect this information, you can move on to the next section, where you, as the portfolio manager, will set up and prioritize your organization’s business drivers.

Step 2: Set up and prioritize business drivers

Project investments should be made based on how well they contribute to achieving the business goals of an organization. Portfolio managers are responsible for capturing these business drivers in Project Web App, and then guiding them through a prioritization process with the appropriate stakeholders.

To enter your organization’s business drivers in Project Web App, on the Quick Launch, under Portfolio Strategy, click Business Driver Library. You can use the tools on the Driver tab of the Ribbon to create new business drivers.

Once you’ve entered all of your organization’s business drivers in the Business Driver Library, the next step is to prioritize those drivers. By prioritizing drivers, you are providing a more realistic representation of your organization’s strategic objectives, which will ultimately yield more accurate project proposal valuations during portfolio analysis. To prioritize business drivers, on the Quick Launch, under Portfolio Strategy, click Driver Prioritizations.

Step 3: Analyze project proposals

As people begin proposing projects, your role as the portfolio manager is to analyze each proposal for inclusion in your organization’s project portfolio. The results of this analysis determine whether the proposal is approved to be a project, or rejected.

To analyze the proposals that are currently submitted in Project Web App, on the Quick Launch, under Portfolio Strategy, click Portfolio Analyses. Use the tools on the Analyses tab of the Ribbon to create a new analysis.

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