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Service Portfolio Management: More Important than Program or Project Portfolio

The path to IT project success is paved by service portfolio management (SPM). As Rob England, the IT Skeptic describes, too many organizations miss out on quality project management due to overlooking this truly holistic view. SPM is about focusing on service production in addition to proposed changes to service, making it a dynamite way to assess resource distribution across the Build and Run phases, not just the Build phase.

A Flood of Projects

Remove a holistic approach, and disaster will strike in the form of a flood of capex expenditure for projects that have no strategy for managing the Run’s ability to absorb them. Don’t drown in projects. Take Rob’s advice when he says that pulling resources out of the Run to staff projects can hollow out the capacity for IT to ultimately deliver services.

The Balance of SPM

Balance, says England, is something that takes place across all activity–across portfolio change, projects, programs, and across both Build and Run phases. Although this advice appears in ITIL, it is seldom heeded. Project portfolio management (PPM) is often sold as the strategic equivalent of SPM, but the two are not really equivalents, since PPM is merely a tactical approach utilized by the enterprise portfolio management office (EPMO).

SPM Manages IT

SPM goes even further. It manages everything happening in IT, making it one of the key mechanisms in the union between the enterprise and IT. Here I leave the final words with England:

SPM is how we in IT articulate our position, our capability, our challenges, our needs, in business terms. SPM is how we solicit decisions and direction from the executive and governors and peers on how to allocate our effort, our resources. It is how we justify more resources. What is the most important challenge facing IT at the moment? Lack of good governance of IT, without a doubt…

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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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