The release of Microsoft Project Server 2010 allows users to merge top down portfolio management with bottom up project management thanks to the comprehensive portfolio analysis tool now available in Project Server 2010. Microsoft has combined two tools — Project Server and Portfolio Server — into one. Project Server now provides an integrated portfolio, project, and work management solution allowing organizations to define and prioritize their strategic objectives using an “in-built,” pair-wise comparison process. This new functionality can help remove the subjectivity out of project selection. In an ideal world only projects that provide a high level of alignment proceed, and Project Server now provides the objective analysis to support this.
Portfolio management in Project Server 2010 requires that a list of projects/ideas/capital investments is first captured and aligned to business strategy. Once the corporate objectives are in the system, the toolset presents new projects with a questionnaire to enable the degree of alignment to each objective to be determined. It also allows users to enter key metrics such as the project cost, timescales, and resource demands.
Based on budget and resources and the alignment of each of the projects, the optimization module can then, on a simple level, work out which projects will deliver the most benefit based on the budgets available. This sounds simple, but behind the scenes is a sophisticated algorithm that takes into account a range of factors, including dependencies among projects. Various factors can be used to support constraints analysis, such as budgets, return on investment, and risk.