Insights > Project and Portfolio management

What is the Blue Line?

The ‘Blue Line’ is a tool that helps you visualise how well your organisation is positioned to run projects successfully.

It’s a plot of a generalised level of your project management (PM) capabilities, against your company size, and/or the number of projects (‘portfolio size) that you are running right now.

At it’s most straightforward, where these points intersect, are you on the line?

An organisation on this line is in perfect balance – where the capabilities have developed to best facilitate delivery of any project or a portfolio of projectsThese capabilities need to change as the size of the organisation changes as well as with evolving context.  

However, we’ve seen many companies that don’t have this balance right. Small organisations may struggle if they don’t evolve to stay on the line. Equally, others may set over-ambitious goals for sophistication, when ‘good’ is perfectly adequate. 



What do we mean by project management capabilities?

If you have experience working in a large company’s project management office (PMO), you may well be able to develop a rounded view of the PM capability level of your current organisation (having said that, we know some large and well resource Pharma companies that really don’t get it right!) But a great many don’t have access to this type of expertise, and you may not be able to judge it accurately.

It may seem obvious to evaluate capability of project management by checking the sophistication of the definitions of processes and the development of technology to encode them. But we would look beyond this to critical people aspects: the way that people are using systems; how effectively they collaborate in teams and across expert functions. Also how sponsorship of the project system is embedded in senior management vision and strategy; decision-making authority at different levels – whether the culture is project centric.

These factors are part of our ‘High Performance Organisation’ model.


How do we differentiate company size and portfolio?


A simple answer – the more projects you have operating at any one time – the greater the size we plot on the graphic plot! But in fact it can be seen as a step-wise progress. There comes a time when, for example, a company moves beyond identifying senior scientists to take on some part-time PM work, to appointing someone to manage one or more projects, as a full time project manager.


How do we get onto the blue line? 

We can help you to assess your current position and if required, build a roadmap to get you thereIn conversation with you and your colleagues, we can quickly diagnose where you sit with respect to the optimum level of process and systematic operations that is right for your current situation and best for future growth. 

We can help you develop a road map to get to the most effective spot. You will be able to develop the best balance – quickly and easily. 

We’d be pleased to talk to you – a Free exploratory Conversation with no prior commitment – Contact us to arrange.

Keep in touch also with updates and helpful information by joining our Community.