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Understanding the Roles of the Project Portfolio Manager

Understanding the Roles of the Project Portfolio Manager

Management is very important within any organization. Without it, the business will fall into ruin and it would be complicated for teams to prioritize projects and monitor the health and amount of the existing resources. These days, organizations are being pressured by the growth and changes in the market to employ individuals with not just a degree in a certain field but experience, skills, and even certification as well.

The management is also responsible for planning, executing, and finalizing projects. It is at the very top of the governance hierarchy; each process involved in a project consists of management. It’s a stronghold for companies to help them pull the weight around and finish the tasks at hand.

With varying management comes its own respective managers. You have your project managers who oversee the projects and team, a program manager who governs the existing projects and receives progress reports from the project manager, and the project portfolio manager who compiles accurate data and organizes projects into a single portfolio.


In Focus: Project Portfolio and Project Portfolio Manager

Portfolios contain projects that are classified based on value, timeframe or size. It makes assessment easier and value identification more organized. One of the responsibilities of a project portfolio manager is to ensure that these projects generate return value and create balance in the churn. They need to maintain, evaluate, and monitor these projects constantly. Simply put, their main duty is to prevent projects within the portfolio from competing for resources and budget and prioritizing these projects that have potential to generate value and investment.

Additionally, a project portfolio manager takes care of the projects’ health by analyzing possible risks and improve the former’s performance. There is also the need to align projects with the company’s business objectives which the project portfolio manager should fulfill at the end of the day.



The Roles of the Project Portfolio Manager

Granted, the following roles and responsibilities are already mentioned above, but a project portfolio manager doesn’t just sit around all day after the work has been done. They are always on the move, either looking for ways to improve the portfolio more or coordinating with the team working on the projects.

Project portfolio managers must always be on the lookout for the changes in the projects within a portfolio and find effective methods to pluck risks out from the projects. They also need to be careful not to overspend the resources and save time properly.

The following list below consists of other roles of a project portfolio manager:

  • Looking up for ways to determine various project mix that can meet the target business objective of the organization.
  • Making sure that the following project groups are in balance with the following crucial factors such as short term against long term or risk against reward.
  • Constant tracking of projects and their progress as well as their implementation.
  • Assessing portfolio performance and looking for methods for improvement.
  • Evaluating existing opportunities against the portfolio
  • Analyzing, evaluating, and comparing the organization’s capacity in terms of implementation
  • Aiding in the decision making to the people in charge in different levels of management


Room for Improvement

Organizations are making it a point to keep improving not only on the part of the project portfolio manager area but with project portfolio management as well. This is for the purpose of making the portfolio more efficient when it comes to keeping up with the constant changes in the market, as well as business trends that crop up in the industry.

Furthermore, the organizations include project portfolio manager roles’ improvement and growth as one of their main priorities towards competitive advantage. Project portfolio should be always a subject of constant assessment; improving is one of them. Sometimes an efficient discipline can falter and be the main cause of a project’s ruin.

Here are various ways on how to further improve project portfolio:

  • Acquiring and reporting portfolio information
  • Building portfolio objectives or goals
  • Bridging project objectives, portfolio assets, and resources
  • Performing first evaluation
  • Identifying the multi-project strategies of the company
  • Prioritizing portfolio based on various criteria and given data
  • Evaluating the balance of portfolio
  • Developing elements for improved and developed ROIs
  • Overseeing governance processes and meetings
  • Communicate and coordinate data that are relevant to different organizational divisions


Superman Skills?

Turns out, you don’t need to have a superpower to be able to pull off the roles of a project portfolio manager. Just like other types of managers, a project portfolio manager must have the following basic skills:

  • Quick decision-making
  • Knows how to balance projects in a portfolio
  • Fully aware and knowledgeable of the projects in a portfolio he or she is overseeing
  • Knows how to properly assess the projects within the portfolio
  • Aware of each project’s information, value, size, and available resources

Project portfolio managers are no different than project and program managers, but they have separate roles and responsibilities that need to fulfill at the end of the day. The debate of which job is easier is out of the question; projects are meant to be tricky and can be a lot of work to deal with. That is why organizations employ skilled and talented individuals who can take over this type of job. Some even require certification for this position.


Project Portfolio Managers After Sun Down

Sometimes project portfolio managers are still working to the bone after everyone leaves the office. They won’t stop until they find a solution to a certain issue in a portfolio such as projects that are not balanced enough for them. This type of drive and determination make project portfolio more efficient. They take care their responsibilities as if it’s their child, ensuring no harm can come near it.

If you are up in becoming a project portfolio manager, you need to be ready to face the following responsibilities attached to it. It’s not an easy job and sometimes you lose sleep in fulfilling the expected results. But when you are passionate about something, your days are always fulfilled. And portfolio managers who love what they do are not exempted from that feeling.


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About The Author

Management Square

Management Square is a service provider company specializing in Strategy Execution, Business Transformation, and Portfolio, Program and Project Management. Our mission is to create high quality trainings through professional excellence, and to provide a consultancy of choice through extensive learning experiences.


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