The SMART Way Prioritize Projects in Project Portfolio Management

Project prioritization is a critical step in project portfolio management for selecting which projects to start, continue, or stop. A value-maximizing and clearly understandable project ranking system is an essential part of a Project Portfolio Management system. It should be based in sound, quantitative, and modern decision-science.

The SMART (Simple Multi-Attribute Ranking Technique) project prioritization system built into Optsee® meets all these criteria, and provides a solid defensible foundation for project selection and portfolio optimization. The SMART project prioritization system was developed by researchers from MIT, Harvard, and the University of Southern California.

As the "SMART" acronym states, it is a simple but powerful methodology that requires 3 step:

  • Determine the criteria or attributes you want to use to prioritize your projects, such as NPV, risk, strategic value, costs, etc.
  • Weight or rank those attributes in order of importance.
  • Enter the project data for each attribute. The SMART score for each project is then calculated automatically.

After you're done the SMART prioritization, you can view the results in a variety of charts that allow you to clearly see and analyze the results. You can use 2-D and 3-D bubble charts, project ranking charts, and bar charts and tornado charts to see the relationships between individual projects.

Bubble Chart Picture Collage

Figure 1: Optsee® project portfolio bubble and project ranking chart examples

You can also use efficient frontier charts and portfolio views to view different portfolio concepts and ideas, so you can see compare different portfolio ideas in multiple attribute dimensions.

project portfolio efficient frontier chart

Figure 2: Optsee® project portfolio efficient frontier chart examples

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