So, a blog on Project Portfolio Management – PPM to save me from having to spell long words too often. I guess that we had better start by defining what exactly PPM is. Wikipedia tells us that it is “the centralized management of processes, methods, and technologies used by project managers and project management offices (PMOs) to analyze and collectively manage a group of current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics.” It goes on to explain that “the objectives of PPM are to determine the optimal resource mix for delivery and to schedule activities to best achieve an organization’s operational and financial goals – while honouring constraints imposed by customers, strategic objectives, or external real world factors.”
Well, that sounds like riveting material for a blog doesn’t it! Let’s try and make things a little bit simpler for the purposes of this discussion. PPM is a way to look at all of an organization’s initiatives in a cohesive way that allows us to manage the portfolio as a whole rather than the individual projects. We can add in as many layers of complexity to that as we choose, but fundamentally that’s what it is – managing projects strategically.
Hopefully that sounds both a little more entertaining, and a little more relevant to you than all that long and wordy definition stuff, and that’s the theme that I want to follow in this blog – I want to look at how organizations can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of project execution through a more strategic perspective. To start, let’s look at why that matters.
An organization, whether government, not-for-profit or commercial will establish a series of goals and objectives that it wants to achieve within a defined timeframe. Hopefully those goals and objectives will be part of a longer term strategic plan, but regardless, the intent is to move the organization forward within the defined period that is being planned for. The nature of those objectives can vary widely – improved efficiency, increased revenue, expanded products and services, etc, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they involve the implementation of multiple changes
A project is a vehicle for the implementation of a change – it takes the current state of one or more organizational elements and moves them to the defined new state. Collectively, the individual projects come together as the portfolio to deliver all of the changes that make up the work to achieve the goals and objectives.
It therefore follows that the purpose of the portfolio is to deliver the goals and objectives of the organization for that particular period – and that’s why it matters!