Project Portfolio Management

Managing a portfolio of projects can be difficult. You have to manage budgets, timelines and resources. You have to satisfy multiple stakeholders. You have to stay alert for problems and keep the portfolio aligned with strategic objectives. Doing this with 10 or 20 projects is hard enough, but what about hundreds or thousands of projects?

Heat Map Explorer gives you deep visibility into your project portfolio. By showing your projects in context and helping you focus on what’s important, you gain a deep understanding of key issues and drivers.

Heat Map Explorer helps IT departments, PMOs and executives monitor, analyze and communicate key project and portfolio data:

  • See the distribution of demand, production and capacity across departments, resources and initiatives.
  • Identify issues with individual projects that would be hidden on a bar chart or dashboard.
  • Gain a holistic view of all projects and how they relate to your organization.
  • Show stakeholders how their project fits into the bigger picture.
  • Perform what-if analysis on your project portfolio to determine what to fund.

Use Heat Map Explorer Desktop to analyze data from Excel or SQL databases, or use Heat Map Explorer Enterprise Edition to integrate directly into your project portfolio management software.

  • See the status of all your projects on a single computer screen.
  • Understand how projects are allocated across departments, resources and locations.
  • Focus in on the projects with the largest impact.
  • Identify micro-patterns that may be de-railing your success.

This heat map shows projects grouped by project manager then location. Projects with bigger budgets have bigger boxes. Green boxes are within budget, while yellow and red projects are over budget. Group borders are colored based on the average of all projects within that group.

Notice that Jason has most of his projects over budget. Mary has four projects over budget, but all in Atlanta—a micro-pattern worth investigating. Gary manages just over a quarter of the entire budget for projects.

  • Build custom what-if scenarios to analyze how new projects impact your existing portfolio.
  • Create guided visual analysis workflows for project selection & allocation.
  • Export the results to Excel or integrate heat map analytics into your PPM software.

This heat maps shows a visual project portfolio selection workflow that alerts when the budget for an area is exceeded. It allows users to perform what-if analysis by changing budgets and other assumptions. The final set of projects can be exported to Excel.

  • Focus in on unresolved high priority issues.
  • See where issues are having the most impact within a project and across projects.
  • Hover for full details on any issue.
  • Apply filters to instantly focus in on key areas of concern.

This heat map shows issues grouped by status and issue type. Large boxes indicate high priority issues, while yellow and red boxes indicate issues with no recent progress.

Large red & yellow boxes indicate issues that require immediate attention, while small red & yellow boxes indicate issues that can be ignored for now.

  • Analyze demand by department, initiative or request type.
  • Visualize demand by number of requests, total budget or resources required.
  • Identify potential problems by highlighting high risk projects or overburdened resources.

This heat map shows the number of project requests by department with the color indicating the risk level of each project. An alternate view would be to size each box by the projected budget to see the impact from a budget perspective.

  • Visually see when and where demand for resources exceeds capacity.
  • Apply filters and search to find the root cause of resource problems.
  • Create skill maps to understand how demand for skills maps to existing resources.

This heat map shows the demand for resources by role from January through December. Each row is a role and each column is a month. The red boxes show where demand exceeds capacity.

  • Show executives where demand exists within the organization.
  • Give stakeholders context for their projects and requests.
  • Make investment decisions that tie to organizational priorities.
  • Visualize how budgets, projects and resources are allocated throughout the organization.

This heat map shows the percentage of budget spent for projects by the department in charge of those projects. Org chart heat maps help executives and managers understand project demand from a business context.

Case Study

IT Services Firm Case Study

Read how a major IT services company embedded Heat Map Explorer into a PPM application to win back a major customer.


Introduction to Project Portfolio Management

Part 1 – 9 min
Learn how to monitor project portfolio performance, diagnose problems, and assess the impact on strategic priorities.

Part 2 – 10 min
Learn to use benchmarking and project stage maps to anticipate problems. See a web portal & a project selection workflow.