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Mature Portfolio Management Practices: As Easy as Raising a Kid

All you need is time. “Maturity” is a word that is frequently brought up when discussing project, program, and portfolio management. People are too often reluctant to change though, which generates hesitation to the organizational alteration brought on by the new strategy of a good portfolio. Wanda Curlee outlines what a typical portfolio management developmental process looks like.

The Toddler

The same as raising a child, early years come with a certain level of immaturity and are normally classified as portfolio management practices that are less than three years old. Progressing forward requires trust between the C-Suite and the portfolio manager, a mutual respect that the C-Suite will provide authority and support to accomplish the goals. And since it requires successful projects to make a successful portfolio, portfolio managers will want to work with project managers—and hopefully not step on their toes too much—to achieve their shared goals.

The Teenager

Just like teenagers are inclined to rebel, during the second phase (between three and five years), the greatest adversity is the threat of rebellion. The simple way to avoid this is to ensure that project and program managers understand their worth. Their greatest asset is that they can see into the external environment and understand the risks and opportunities better than the portfolio manager. Over time, the modifications to the process, procedures, governance, and metrics will be worked out and the portfolio can finally mature into its final stage.

The Adult

At this final stage, it is easy to allow the portfolio to stagnate. However, it is vital that the portfolio remain agile and reactive to the changing strategy. All of the external factors cause the strategy to constantly adapt, and therefore, the mature portfolio too needs to react. At this point, the portfolio manager fully understands the fluctuating industry and can reflect that in the portfolio.

At full maturity, the portfolio manager needs to consider portfolio rebalancing:

“The presenter suggested reviewing the portfolio mix at least quarterly to ensure strategic alignment. The larger point is that, as portfolio management matures, project and program managers should become more comfortable in re-estimating on a quarterly basis. By doing so, those projects and programs that are under-running may give back dollars to the portfolio.”

This is essential because it reallocates the money utilized from one project to another one that truly needs it, or allows investment into new projects.

You can read the original post here: http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog/Voices-on-Project-Management/14844/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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