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Upgrading from Project Manager to Portfolio Manager

As a project manager, you might be confronted by the paradox of having a successful project canceled. To understand this sometimes necessary phenomenon, you would have to understand how the decision was made at the level of project portfolio management (PPM). In a post for the Voices on Project Management blog, Wanda Curlee offers a basic and straightforward account of the project portfolio management world.

Portfolio management has been gaining popularity within the organization and within the training repertoire of the Project Management Institute (PMI). And although you are almost certainly familiar with what portfolio management is, it helps to have a definition in place to ground the conversation:

The portfolio manager structures the portfolio to meet the strategic needs of an organization. She views projects and programs from a strategic perspective. Whereas the project manager is worried about doing things right, the portfolio manager is worried about doing the right things.

Kicking it Up a Notch

Maybe you’re so annoyed by the fact that you can’t control the choice of project and whether or not that project survives, that you’d like to become a project portfolio manager instead of a plain old PM. Well, according to Curlee, that requires a major career pivot. You might try working for companies that are in the process of dramatic changes, or you might attempt a few really challenging projects to put yourself on the map. In any event, she strongly asks you to consider going for PMI’s Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) certification that began being offered in August 2014.

No matter what route to PPM-hood you take, remember that a PPM is someone who understands the business and can make good governance decisions. To paraphrase Curlee, there will always be more PMs in the world than PPMs, but the opportunities to prosper as the latter are increasing all the time.

Read the original post at:

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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