What is project portfolio management?

by | Jul 27, 2020 | Project Management

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There is a lot to consider when it comes to reviewing a requested project—scope, timeline, budget, etc. And if the request is approved, you need to manage that project, and that bring a lot of other considerations into the mix—project methodology, resources, schedules, and so on. But, that’s just one project. What happens when you have a few—or several—running at the same time. And what if some depend on others?

What is a Portfolio?

As you can see, things can quickly snowball and to the point that simple “project management” isn’t enough. Enter Project Portfolio Management (PPM). Managing a portfolio of projects is not just a fancy term for managing multiple projects either. A portfolio is a higher-level view of all of the projects within an organization. But it’s more than that—it’s also ensuring that those projects are aligned with and meetingthat organization’s strategic goals.

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at teachers as an example. Every day, teachers follow a lesson plan to instruct their students on a given topic. Individually, those lessons are like projects—each is defined in scope, duration, and had a specific objective for what students will have learned by the end. However, those lessons are also part of a larger, more strategic plan—a curriculum—which organizes lessons in way that covers the requisite amount of coursework during the school year that is aligned to a specific set of state and national standards. So, based on this example, lessons are similar to projects, while the curriculum is similar to a portfolio.

Managing a Portfolio

When managing a portfolio, there are things you need to consider and have access to beyond what’s required for managing projects in isolation. These including reporting the status of all active projects to stakeholders on a regular cadence and balancing project resources between multiple concurrent projects while also taking their day-to-day operational work into account—just to name a few.

Project Portfolio Management Software

Therefore, it stands to reason that managing a project portfolio requires a software solution that’s built for the job. PPM software is designed with scalability and flexibility in mind. This enables you adapt your approach to the projects you’re working on (and project teams you’re working with), and it also provides you with the ability to look across all of these projects to ensure that everything is tracking as it should in alignment with organizational goals.

Have you been treating your portfolio like it’s just a bunch of projects? Learn more

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