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What is Project Portfolio Management : The Basics

What is Project Portfolio Management : The Basics

What is Portfolio Management?

It’s one of those questions that can be really complicated when someone is not really that familiar with project or portfolio management. To understand something is always the first step. And what is project portfolio management being one of the questions that needs further understanding.

Projects are the motherboard of an organization. They create an identity, they build the organization’s reputation, and they aid with investments and return value. These projects either operate separately or at the same time—and that is a big challenge for people working in it. Portfolios are thus born to organize and prioritize projects and govern the resources and team within each of them. This is the outer layer of what is project portfolio management.



Project portfolio management (PPM) is the discipline or process that aids organizations and projects to acquire information and efficient methods to improve and develop tasks, as well as resource allocation and coordination among teams.

The inner layer of what is project portfolio management conveys its ability to create balance in the number of projects being churned out daily. Additionally, it also creates improved communication within the team in terms of task management and performance. Project portfolio management also secures leverage in organizations when it comes to implementing and selecting priority projects.

There is more to project portfolio management; besides the ability to aid improved project performance, it also plays a role in increasing value with delivered projects. A company that embeds PPM in their infrastructure has a higher chance to see that development.


What is Project Portfolio Management #1: The Common Goals of Project Portfolio Management

What is project portfolio management in terms of goals or objectives? People make goals for themselves: building a family or a career, travel to an exotic country, try skydiving and things exist with a purpose: light bulbs meant to provide light for people, airplane for travel, mobile phones for communication. This is more of a function than a goal, but if objects or abstract things could talk, they will probably affirm that this is their goal; the goal to provide convenience on those who need it.

For project portfolio management, its functions equate to its objectives. Why is it created in the first place? What is project portfolio management’s end journey? Let us run down the specifics.

  1. The purpose of establishing data that contains accurate information, as well as reliable content that includes forecasted or estimated cost, project name, timeframe, and expected returned value.
  2. All the existing projects must be assessed and reviewed daily that they meet the requirements and target.
  3. Selecting teams to lead the project and bring it to an expected result.


What is Project Portfolio Management #2: The Benefits to Take Note

With purpose comes with a benefit. What is project portfolio management point number two is bringing the following benefits of PPM to light? These advantages apply to any type of organization, provided that they are utilized properly. PPM also makes organizations more versatile with their system and manner of implementation. Here are more advantages to keep in mind.

  1. Increase acclimation to changes
  2. Continuous review and tracking generate added value and return
  3. The management’s insights in considering project portfolio management as an innovative method towards the higher return of initiatives mean that PPM is indeed a helpful process on projects.
  4. Interdependencies are easier to identify and determined. 
  5. Competitive advantages
  6. Aids in focusing on strategies and targets, not just on projects alone.


What is Project Portfolio Management #3:  Tools of the Trade

Next point to bring up is the tools that are used for PPM. These are the common aspects of project portfolio management to help maximize the use of these tools.

  • A methodical system containing project assessment
  • Planned resources
  • Monitored costs and benefits
  • Overseeing analysis of cost benefits
  • Daily/Weekly/Quarterly progress reports
  • Required information and accessibility
  • Communication and information dissemination


What is Project Portfolio Management #4: PPM Techniques, Metrics, and Models

Metrics are fundamental tools that ever exist in project portfolio management. They help estimate, monitor, and analyze performance, tasks, and even schedules for the purpose of convenience, cost estimation, and time conservation. Scoring models, mapping models, and heuristic models or techniques are one of the most widely commonly used metrics or models to measure projects within the portfolio.


What is Project Portfolio Management #5: Project Managers and PPM

One of the fears of projects managers is a plan that may backfire in an instant. Even with all that careful planning, the result is an unsavory mixture of failure and stress. This is why project managers are turning their attention to PPM since the latter has the capability to lessen this dilemma; in fact, it aids project managers to create a plan that won’t fall into ruin.

The next point is the prioritization of projects. Managers are able to identify which of the projects create or disrupt balance or which project does not generate value anymore. These are all made possible with project portfolio management. It creates balance in the project flow and priorities.


What is Project Portfolio Management #6:  Questions Within a Question

The question what is project portfolio management is ingrained with more questions that are begging to be answered by project managers. Called The Five Question Model, this series of inquiries will help project managers navigate around projects assigned to them from planning to execution to completion. All of these questions are pointed to one factor which is the successful project portfolio management.

The five questions are:

  1. Am I investing the right items?
  2. How well is the project being executed by my team?
  3. Is my team’s capacity utilized?
  4. Do my team and I realize the existing benefits?
  5. Are we able to absorb the following changes occurring in the project?

The answers that project managers must provide should be as concrete and specific as possible.


In Sum…

Project portfolio management helps lessen the potential of issues such as data discrepancies and an unbalanced number of projects. Furthermore, project portfolio management helps align projects to the company’s business objectives towards a successful result. All project managers should be fully aware of the dynamics of PPM and understand its technicalities.



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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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