Use the Portfolio Optimizer to prioritize and manage work

The information entered in the Business Case for each project in your portfolio rolls up to the portfolio and into the heading in the Portfolio Optimization section.

An image of the Portfolio Optimizer area with information from the Business Case

Now it’s time to use this information to analyze which projects should be put on the fast track to production and which ones can sit on the sidelines until the next round. The Portfolio Optimization tool will help tremendously with that.

The Portfolio Optimizer can most fully assist you if:

  • The Business Case has been completed and submitted on all the projects.
  • You click the Submit button in the Business Case so that Workfront will calculate the score for a project.
  • You provide a budget to represent the total financial cap of the selected projects.

Optimization criteria

The Portfolio Optimizer uses a standard set of criteria to compare and prioritize projects.

Those criteria are:

  • Low Cost
  • High Alignment
  • High Value
  • Low Risk to Benefit
  • High ROI

Clicking the Optimize icon opens a set of slider bars, each associated with one of the criteria. You can set which criteria are higher priority by moving the slider to the right or a lower priority by pushing the slider to the left.

An image of the Portfolio Optimizer area with information from the Business Case

Using these criteria, Workfront generates a project score between 1 and 100. Projects with a higher number indicate they align better with the direction you want the portfolio to go.

An image of the Portfolio Optimizer area with information on the project scores

The Portfolio Optimizer will not score the project, even if all sections of the Business Case are filled out, unless the Business Case has been submitted to the portfolio through Workfront. Instead of a score, you see a warning symbol in the Score column of the Portfolio Optimizer. Hover over the warning symbol to see more information about scoring for the project.

An image of a warning symbol in the Score column of the Portfolio Optimizer.

Prioritizing projects

Now that the projects have been scored, you can quickly and easily reorganize the list.

By clicking the Score column header, the projects re-sort and are listed either from highest to lowest score or lowest to highest. You can manually order projects by clicking the bar icon to the left of the number and dropping the projects in the order you want them.

There may be projects on your list that you don’t want to compare. If you don’t want to see those in the list, first unselect them, then hide them by sliding the toggle to the right, so the background of the button is blue. If you want to include these projects, slide the toggle to the left so the gray shows.

An image of an unselected project in the Portfolio Optimizer.

This lets you see just the projects you want to compare against one another. With the projects scored, filtered, and sorted, you can now make an informed decision on whether or not you need to change the criteria by which projects are prioritized.

Remember, Workfront built the portfolios and the optimization tool to smooth out the process of prioritizing projects. However, you don’t have to use the suggested criteria. If all the tool does is provide you with a head start or a foundation to work from, that’s fine.

If, however, the projects are in the order of priority and you are ready to finalize the priority in Workfront, click the Set Priority button up in the top left corner, and the system will number the projects from 1 on up and use that number to set the Portfolio Priority field in each project.

To keep those numbers in place, make sure to click the Save button at the bottom.

An image of using the Set Priority button to prioritize projects in the Portfolio Optimizer.

  • You can display the priority of projects as set through the Portfolio Optimizer in the Resource Planner. Click the Settings icon and turn on the Display Portfolio Priorities option. The screen refreshes and displays the portfolio priorities in the left-hand column. Click the Order option at the top of the column to align the Resource Planner priorities with the portfolio priorities. Be sure to save when you’re done.

    An image of the Portfolio Priorities column in the Resource Planner.

Managing changes

Portfolios are certainly not a cure-all, but they can ease the pain of shifting priorities. What once took days could now take hours or even a couple of minutes.

When new projects are added to a portfolio, they still need to be analyzed and prioritized. By using the Business Case and the optimization score, you can effortlessly compare new projects with requested, planned, and current projects.

An image of the project Status column in the Portfolio Optimizer.

If during the comparison you see that new projects should have a higher priority, you can either re-sort your list based on the optimization score, or drag and drop them higher in the list. When you’re done, simply click the Set Priority button, save, and your job is done.