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Project Management and Portfolio Management: The Balance of Your Business

It is difficult to decipher whether project management or project portfolio management is more important to your business.  However, Ian Needs of PM Hut believes finding that perfect balance between the two could be crucial to your bottom line.  Good project management, according to Needs, requires certain steps towards success:

  • Start only those projects that are viable, achievable and profitable
  • Analyze anticipated project benefits and potential risks
  • Optimize project cost, time and quality in combination
  • Define project scope and planning activities
  • Decide how to measure and reward success

A step you need to take in finding your perfect balance is to really define what project management and project portfolio management mean to you:

But a project is a temporary endeavor with a fixed start and end point, its goal to create a specific product or service.  So project management leaves out the wider, long-term view of how your projects and their requirements interact with one another.  Project portfolio management fills that gap.  Project portfolio management is all about selecting the right projects at the right time, to fit the priorities of individual projects neatly inside the big-picture objectives and constraints of your business development and resources.

There are obvious drawbacks to not being able to find your balance.  Needs notes that putting too much focus on project management will lead to poor resource management, bad timing, and neglect of other important projects.  On the other hand, focusing too much on project portfolio management will result in poor attention to detail and a lower project success rate.

How then do you find your perfect balance?  Needs recommends finding the point where “efficiency in both project management and PPM are as high as your organization’s constraints will allow.”  Clearly, this will mean different things for different organizations.  However, taking the time to at least think about your organization’s needs and priorities will lead to a greater overall balance.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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