Claire Schwartz recalls her first PMI meeting in the early 1980s, how she was confused when the other attendees (the meeting was to discuss a large oil refinery in the Middle-East) said that project management had nothing to do with data processing. She also received her first copy of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and saw just how much project management was influenced by engineering and construction.
The Birth of Project Portfolio Management
Soon after, consulting firms and books came out to spread the idea of project management to all sectors, and how that eventually expanded from thinking of project management as managing individual projects into managing all projects together—what we now call project portfolio management, or PPM:
Organizations have also changed to recognize the role of project and portfolio management. Project Management Offices (PMO’s) began springing up as an internal mechanism for introducing best-practices and processes into enterprises, providing oversight of the processes, and maintaining and providing specialized practitioners (project managers) who understood and could effectively apply these processes and principles. And while PMO’s have tended to focused on one segment or discipline within the enterprise (most notably IT), enterprise PMO’s (ePMO’s) are becoming more common as enterprises realize the value of providing oversight and managing the portfolio of projects from the enterprise level.
Why PPM is Growing
The reasons for the expansion of PPM are numerous. As Schwartz explains, it comes down to a need for transparency, a common language, oversight, strategic alignment and overcoming of common challenges. PPM takes a wide enough view that all of these needs or challenges are readily overcome with intelligent and mindful PPM processes.
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