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Project Portfolio Management – Understanding Where Your Program is Today

There are three commonsense categories of past, present, and future when dealing with the basics of project portfolio management: (a) assessing where your program has been, (b) understanding where your program is today, and (c) driving where your program is going.

Understanding Where Your Program is Today

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Portfolio Management, Program Management.

Project Portfolio Management – Assessing Where Your Program Has Been

There are three commonsense categories of past, present, and future when dealing with the basics of project portfolio management: (a) assessing where your program has been, (b) understanding where your program is today, and (c) driving where your program is going.

Assessing Where Your Program Has Been

Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, many organizations do not look back at the preceding year with enough thoroughness. The leader should look back at the preceding year and document the following:

  1. What were the business’s goals and targets for the year?
  2. What was the variance of actual results compared with those goals?
  3. What was the root cause of each variance?

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Portfolio Management, Program Management.

Portfolio Management Tools

As the project management profession matures, the number of automated portfolio management tools that claim to control and maximize the value of the organization’s portfolio of projects increases dramatically. While there is nothing wrong with these tools, my observations and experience lead me to believe that…

Many organizations are not ready for sophisticated portfolio management tools.

Why? It is because a lot of organizations haven’t yet mastered the basics of portfolio management. Before portfolio management tools are purchased and rolled out, the basics must be in place.  Basics like putting all the projects in priority order does not require a fancy tool.

Let’s quickly define a portfolio. A portfolio can include multiple programs, and/or the projects within a single program can be a portfolio. A portfolio is just a logical grouping of projects under a common leadership structure.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Portfolio Management, Program Management.

Portfolio Management: The Chicken and Egg Question

Portfolio Management: The Chicken and Egg Question

The chicken and egg question in portfolio management is: “Does the amount of capital investment available dictate strategy, or does your strategy dictate the amount of capital investment?

From a developmental perspective, purists would say that when identifying a portfolio management strategy or strategic alternatives you should not restrict or inhibit your thinking.

The sky’s the limit! No boundaries!

This process of developing strategies with no boundaries is valid, but the resulting boundaryless strategies will have to be matched with the budget. The strategy may be so good that you’ll want to seek out alternative funding; however, in the absence of alternative funding, someone has to take the Blue Sky to the meat and potatoes the organization can implement within existing constraints.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Portfolio Management.