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How to Improve the Visibility of Your Project Plans

Published by Emma Hanes

June 3rd, 2021

in Project Portfolio Management

Visibility is so important in an organization. Imagine if every department or project team worked in the dark regarding what other work was being done. Like two ships passing in the night, you could have two teams working on projects that achieve the same outcome or you could have one project team blowing your budget out of the water without oversight. It’s easy to imagine what disasters could befall an organization with very little visibility into project plans and you may even have experienced them firsthand. Building project plan visibility can seem difficult, especially in large organizations, but we’ve got a few recommendations to help improve the visibility of your project plans.

Improving Visibility

If building visibility in an organization was easy, every organization would have it. But the reality is that so much information gets lost in transmission, never gets communicated or somehow just disappears into the dark abyss. To help get project information communicated clearly, start by building out these three fundamental principles.

Clear Processes and Expectations are a Must

We’ve written numerous times about the benefits of having clear processes and it’s because they’re incredibly important. By investing a little effort into defining processes, you can not only prevent information from falling through the cracks but also build confidence and trust with project teams that information is flowing and people are listening. Clear processes and expectations mean outlining how someone in your organization would submit and develop a new project idea, update project status and escalate any issues, just to name a few. You should also outline how management evaluates new ideas and projects, resolves project issues and determines the corporate goals that guide your organization’s work. When you set these processes and expectations, everyone knows how information is collected and how it’s used to make decisions. This elevates important information and helps it get disseminated across your organization for better visibility.

Set Deadlines and Meetings and Stick to Them

When you clearly define deadlines, turnaround times and meetings, you create a rhythm to your business that not only keeps work moving forward but also reserves time for information sharing. Deadlines to set can include dates for submitting new project ideas or project status updates. Sticking to deadlines can make sure you’re ready for decision-making meetings where upper management considers new project ideas, resolves project conflicts currently affecting your project portfolio, and provides the opportunity to make changes to projects to better support your organization’s goals. Set these dates on the calendar and let everyone in your organization know when they are to create a space for information sharing and problem-solving.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communicate for Increased Visibility

This one sounds obvious, but I want you to think about communication as more than emailing colleagues or holding meetings. To achieve visibility for your project plans, you’ll need to promote meaningful communication in your organization. The key to creating meaningful communication is to identify who you should communicate to. For most people in your organization, communication likely occurs between project team members or a few key colleagues. But everyone can benefit from expanding their circle of communication. For example, if a project team is putting together a new project initiative for review, encourage them to seek the input of other teams and experts in your organization. Or if a project team finishes a crucial project, encourage them to communicate their success to other interested teams and departments. When your project teams and departments communicate with each other, the information flow creates visibility.

Actions You Can Take Today to Improve Project Plan Visibility

Building better project visibility isn’t an overnight task but getting started is easy. While you work on developing the foundation of good visibility, you can take a few steps today to start improving project plan visibility:

  1. Share the current state of the project portfolio including current and upcoming projects
  2. Circulate a calendar with dates of regular meetings (quarterly meetings, decision-making meetings, strategy meetings)
  3. Create a place for documentation regarding processes and meetings that everyone has access to
  4. Make an open call for feedback on how your organization can improve visibility

Create Visibility with Meisterplan

Meisterplan is a powerful project portfolio management software that creates visibility and transparency in your organization. With views for both upper management and project teams, everyone can stay informed about what work is being done. To see how Meisterplan can create visibility in your organization, take our self-guided product tour.

There are a lot of things that go into a project plan besides the timing and resources. We need a lot of context and it shouldn't be a surprise when a project needs attention. Our projects need to tie back to our mission and what we want to achieve. With Meisterplan, we can make informed decisions and move the organization forward.

Jay Nutter

IT PMO and New Services Manager | CaroMont Health

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