Project Portfolio Management (PPM)
If you’ve got more than one project happening in your business, you’ve probably already thought of how you can consolidate reporting and manage the work more efficiently. Congratulations, you’re already thinking like a portfolio manager.
Portfolio management in the world of projects is all about making the most efficient use of your resources. Done correctly, it’s a game changer for businesses serving multiple clients or delivering many initiatives across multiple sites.
In this article we’ll look at what project portfolio management is, why you should care about it, what a portfolio manager does and what PPM software tools are out there to help you scale your PMO to provide a true portfolio management service to your executive level decision makers.
But first, let’s make sure we are all talking about the same thing.
Project Portfolio Management: A definition
Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the process of managing and analyzing multiple projects and programs together. There is power in that overarching view and the greater visibility it provides. It truly is a case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts.
Portfolio management provides a consolidated view of team progress across multiple change initiatives. It balances the organization’s time, budget and resources to find ways to best meet the strategic objectives for the business while delivering an appropriate return.
The objectives of PPM
The objective of managing your organization’s work in a portfolio is for the business to be able to take informed risks and make better decisions. When you can see the whole picture and understand all the changes going through the business at any one time via the individual projects, you can make informed choices about what work to do and what to stop.
This allows you to manage the pipeline of work coming into your teams. As you can forecast out and choose what projects will be starting in the months to come, you can use capacity planning and resource forecasting to make sure you’ve got people available to take on those projects. In turn, that helps with skills development and career planning so that your teams have the knowledge they need to deliver projects.
When your change programs are managed holistically through the portfolio management process, you can see where there might be benefits from running work in parallel or together, or changing the order. For example, enabling projects may provide the foundations for later work. That sequence can be more efficiently structured if you can manage it proactively instead of waiting for colleagues to talk to each other and connect the dots themselves.
Overall, taking a portfolio management approach helps your business get the best return for its investment of time, money and resource.
It all comes down to having the right information to make the smart decisions about what you want for the future of your business.
The role of the Portfolio Manager
The portfolio manager is someone who oversees and manages the portfolio as a whole. They make recommendations about what projects should be started at what time. They may have a team with responsibility for producing reports and system admin for your enterprise tools.
The key responsibility for a portfolio manager is to align the potential work to the company’s strategy. As the person who sees the big picture and available resources, they can check that each element of strategy is adequately supported by projects to deliver it. Without project work, the strategy remains a beautiful – if useless – slide deck.
The portfolio manager’s job is a balancing act, trying to prioritize the right work while responding to the needs of executive stakeholders, effectively managing and allocating project resources, juggling risk management across multiple projects and keeping the whole show on budget. It sounds complicated but it’s a fantastically interesting job made a lot easier by having the right PPM software.
What is Project Portfolio Management Software?
PPM software is the tool you use to manage your portfolio plan. Enterprise grade tool suites from Primavera, Deltek and Microsoft are common because they work and offer centralized management of project data and resource allocation.
Project portfolio management tools give you an overview of the team’s workload so you can see which projects are being progressed. You can dive in and drill down to see the status of any particular project. This level of oversight helps avoid wasted time and underutilized resources.
Today’s software tools are so powerful. They surface management insights through dashboards and automated reporting to free up the PMO team to do more value-added work.
PPM is a systematic method to deliver your strategic plan, mitigate risk and increase the business value of your projects. With a portfolio management process and system set up, you can see the entire portfolio performance in once place, giving you a clear understanding of what’s going on in the business.
Trust us, it’s one of the most effective ways for you to achieve project success!