Project Portfolio Management

From A-Z: Everything You Need to Know about Project Portfolio Management

A wise professional understands the value of project portfolio management (PPM). But for those of us who are still fuzzy on the topic, Jez Lister writes an intensively comprehensive primer, breaking down the value of PPM as it applies to various areas of business. The journey from PPM novice to expert just got a lot shorter.

PPM for All Seasons

PPM is useful for answering any number of important questions, such as, “What is the ROI for this project and over what period?” and “What is the relative priority of this project against others, whether pipeline or active?” Key duties of a project portfolio manager include, among many other things, being able to assess which requirements of which projects can be best accommodated, and being able to monitor project progress against key objectives.

Beyond outlining basic duties though, Lister gets into nitty-gritty details of project portfolio governance, strategic project portfolio planning, and how portfolio planning relates to resource management. He prefaces his discussion of governance with the following:

Project Portfolio Management is a governance driven process that requires both knowledge of the organisation’s strategic plans, and awareness of its capabilities and limitations. This balance of Demand versus Capability determines the pace or scope of change within the project portfolio. It is often the case that the organisation has more need for change than can be accommodated (capability), even where funding is not at issue. Project Portfolio Management is the means to determine what is achievable or to highlight what must change in order to make it so.

Strategic planning assists in managing demand. Lister finds a typical process of demand management would include project identification, a project proposal, project impact assessment, and finally project approval or rejection. In all cases, projects must ultimately align with key strategic objectives, or else you are investing a lot of energy into bells and whistles that do not actually push anything forward.

Lister delves even further at his full explanation, even touching upon project portfolio benefits management and financial management, but maybe you do not need to drown in those details. Take a glance at his primer yourself, and pick out the details that appeal most to you. You can view it here:

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