Avoiding the Many Pitfalls of Project Scoring in Project Prioritization
The portfolio review session is coming up, so you craft a list of questions about project value, cost, and risk that can be answered on a scale from 1 to 10. Your R&D project teams score their projects, add up the scores for each project, and voilà, you have a ranked set of projects, ready for your meeting. Yet you can’t shake that nagging feeling: Aren’t scoring models useless? Will the scoring process distract from the real goal of building a more valuable product portfolio?
I am here to testify that this bad reputation isn’t entirely deserved. In fact, there are many cases when a scoring model is an appropriate way to assess each project’s contribution to the portfolio. Scoring models have the potential to spark productive conversations among the project team, and they help differentiate projects across the portfolio.
So what is the source of their bad reputation? One recent engagement began with a client’s dismay that their scoring model failed to differentiate across projects. Their model consisted of 12 questions about value and 8 questions about risk, each scored on a scale from 1-10. The client hoped that a distribution of aggregate project scores would look something like this: