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28 April 2011

What would Tom De Marco know?

Tom DeMarco’s recent assertion (PDF) that a 5% return on investment suggest a project that shouldn’t be run. This omits the portfolio management approach of setting return targets within a weighted super-set of benefits. In this instance we aren't just comparing 5% with huge benefits, we are comparing a number of competing initiatives, and some of them may have only slightly different prospects.

In this instance where do you invest?

While I raise this strawman, I don’t personally buy into it.

I am yet to see a corporate environment that runs too few, or even an appropriate number of projects for their capacity. Most have too much going on at once, and as a result are churning and wasting energy where they don’t need to.

Why not adopt WIP principle at the portfolio level? Get more done and occasionally pick the wrong order or priorities, but still... get more done?

Naturally, he knows this as well.

Go read the article.