Sometimes you have to consider the whole forest before you chop down one tree. It’s the same way with project portfolio management. No, there aren’t any lumberjacks or axes involved in IT (usually), but someone has to consider the grand scheme of all the projects before executing just one. That’s the analogy that Systems Evolution, Inc. (SEI) makes in an article for the Project Management Institute. While project management may be going strong in many organizations, portfolio management is still often neglected. Sometimes, the organization just isn’t ready for it yet, but SEI argues that the time to start portfolio management is now.
Portfolio management is a key part of pacing yourself, both between and during projects. In an alarming statistic from the 2009 Standish Report, only 32% of projects were considered successful and 44% were late, over budget, or suffered other significant problems. Project portfolio management allows an organization to see their projects holistically and learn from past mistakes. In addition, the standardization of tools and templates across projects and the pulling together of resources increases the chance of success in the future.