IT Best PracticesProject Portfolio Management

Product Portfolio Management: Getting Products to Market Faster

Launching new products in small timeframes is the name of the game when it comes to beating the competition in business. Accomplishing this task has become increasingly complex, and according to Jim Brown writing for Enterprise Apps Today, the solution now lies in product portfolio management (PPM) software. Strong management discipline combined with the right portfolio might be just the game changer you need.

Brown first discusses the merits and shortcomings of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM). ERP helps integrate and streamline operations with software that allows companies to automate their process and information flow across functions. PLM helps organizations design and develop products by integrating product development activities and coordinating product information across departments and the supply chain. However, Brown argues that neither fully steps up to the plate of addressing strategic processes surrounding product portfolios.

That is where product portfolio management comes into play. One particular reason why PPM works is because it provides visibility, in that it provides a consolidated view of the products in the portfolio, which in turn produces transparency. Being able to visualize risk and profit makes it possible to bring strategy into portfolio building. Brown elaborates:

With the right portfolio in place, companies need to ensure that products can be successfully developed. One of the largest success factors in product development is managing resource constraints. Product development programs must be planned and analyzed for capacity requirements. Executives must then take an objective look at the feasibility of delivering the portfolio within given budget and personnel constraints. PPM offers planning capabilities to help companies with this critical stage in portfolio management, allowing planners to evaluate and optimize resource plans and scenarios to deliver the portfolio.

PPM thwarts spreadsheets by virtue of being more open to contribution by multiple people, as well as being less prone to errors. Even so, Brown warns that PPM is not magic, and unlike ERM and PLM, the value of PPM comes in making intelligent use of the data it provides you. In other words, it is up to you win the game. Product portfolio management is just a good coach.

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