The Project Portfolio Matrix


Are you juggling several projects simultaneously? Then you are a ‘Slasher’ (/). The term was coined by the New York author Marci Alboher and describes a growing number of people who cannot give a single answer to the question ‘And what do you do for a living?’

Suppose you are a teacher/ musician/ web designer. The variety may be appealing, but how can you balance all these projects? And how to you ensure a regular income?

To get an overview, you can classify your current projects both work-related and private, with the help of the project portfolio matrix according to cost and time. Thing of costs not only in terms of money but also in terms of resources such as friends involved, energy and psychological stress.

Cost and time are just two examples, You can use whatever parameters are relevant to your situation: for example, the x-axis could be ‘How much project is helping me achieve my overriding objective’, and the y-axis ‘How much I am learning from the project’. Now position your projects in the matrix in relation to the two axes ‘Objectives achieved’ and ‘amount learned’.


  • Reject projects if there is nothing you can learn from them and if they do not correspond to your overriding vision.
  • Projects that you can learn from but do not correspond to your vision are interesting but will not help you achieve your objective. Try to change the project so that it serves your vision.
  • If a project corresponds to your vision, but you are learning nothing new, look for somebody else to do it for you.
  • If you are learning something and achieving your vision, you have hit the jackpot!

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. — Michelangelo