When looking at a portfolio of projects another useful project tracking tool is shown in the “Funnel Map Technique for Tracking Projects” figure. In this figure projects are placed on Post-It notes in hardcopy, or text boxes in softcopy, according to the Stage the project is in. The vertical dimension is the number of months or quarters the project has been in that stage. The project leaders are responsible for updating the chart monthly. This emphasizes to them the progress they are making relative to others, as serves as a quiet motivator. For management it shows what projects are slowing down in their progress and can use additional support and/or guidance. If the project “tracks” over time are added as yarn strings or graphic lines, they can be used by process improvement personnel to see visually the variability in project advancement through the stages.
In the “Example Funnel Map of Projects” figure a Corporation’s active R&D projects are shown as an example. One can see at a glance the number of projects that are in each stage of the pipeline, as well as a time each project is taking in a particular stage. From the example it can be seen that the number of projects being pruned from the portfolio along the pipeline is very slight. Effective Stage and Gate processes typically have a much higher attrition rate in early stages. One can also see that for this particular organization it’s taking approximately 6 months for each stage. Again for well-managed Stage and Gate processes the early stages should have much lower cycle times than the latter ones unless the organization is good at adding additional resources to later stage projects to keep their cycle times short.