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Are Portfolio Managers the Next Chief Strategy Officers?

The chief strategy officer (CSO) is a newly emerging role – but what is a CSO, and how did this position come about?  Jen Skrabak, writing for Voices on Project Management, has the following to say:

A CSO can be defined as an executive responsible for assisting the CEO with identifying, communicating, executing and sustaining strategic initiatives — basically, what a portfolio manager does. 

Say what? A CSO is a PPM? The crux of Skrabak’s argument is the idea that strategy is the handmaiden of innovation. Meaning that innovation, whether traditional, managerial, organizational, or process-oriented, is expressed in the strategic design of portfolios, themselves replete with innovative projects and programs.

Shared Responsibilities

Translating strategy into execution is the common bond between the portfolio manager and the CSO. Below are a few examples of those shared responsibilities, some directly quoted from Skrabak:

  • Enabling and sustaining large-scale organizational change.
  • Communicating and improving the company’s strategy both internally and externally to help all stakeholders understand the organization’s overarching goals.
  • Driving medium and long-term decision making.
  • Ensuring that measurable outcomes are delivered, identifying opportunities for growth/innovation, and monitoring the competition.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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