Portfolio management – what does it really mean to your senior management? Is it seen as just project or programme management on a bigger scale? Do you struggle with explaining its value to the business?
Portfolio management – in essence – is about prioritising investment and focussing on those projects that deliver the greatest strategic value for an organisation. Stripping it back to basics, portfolio management is about ensuring we have the right programmes and projects to deliver to strategic needs.
5 keys factors to the value-add of portfolio management. Portfolio management should involve:
- Decision enabling. Portfolio management provides recommendations on the right mix of initiatives to achieve organisational goals. It is not about actually managing the day-to-day of projects or programmes, but ensuring that both objectives and timely information are available to executives and stakeholders to prompt key strategic decisions.
- More than a list of projects. An understanding of what projects are in flight and are being proposed is a great starting point, but it is not the full picture of portfolio management. The value comes in prioritisation, understanding dependencies, costs, benefits and resource allocation across the organisation.
- Highlighting which projects are adding strategic value. As such, portfolio management by including regular stage/phase reviews and overall portfolio-level reviews, ensures that the focus is on initiatives that materially contribute to objectives. If the project is not really a means to the end, then why are we doing it?
- Delivering more with less. The reality for organisations, large and small, private or public sector, is that expenditure and results are continually under scrutiny. What is the best allocation of scarce resources given strategic priorities? What is the most effective and efficient way to allocate resources?
- Thinking strategically rather than operationally. Portfolio management is not about replicating project or programme management, nor is it about everyday operations or business as usual. There is a need to see the big picture for the organisation, not just looking at it at a silo approach. What might be right for an individual project might not be right when the full integrated view is put into perspective. Portfolio management is about thinking from a strategic (not an individual) view, and thinking longer term strategy as opposed to just tactical.
“Portfolio management does not try to replace strategic and business planning – rather, it seeks to ensure that the organisation’s change initiatives represent the optimum allocation of limited resources…”
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Management of Portfolios (MoP®), AXELOS
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