Lite Project Portfolio Management

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website

In the project portfolio management domain, companies can choose to implement a variety of solutions ranging from home-grown spreadsheets to large scale ERP like CA’s Clarity, Oracle’s Primavera or Planview. In small organizations, project portfolio management can be supported using spreadsheets and a PowerPoint Gantt chart. As organizations grow and take on large-scale initiatives that rely on collaboration across teams, multiple portfolios, department level project management offices and project managers, more robust tools are needed.

The challenge with more robust tools is the timeline to implement, the organizational change management required and the cost to implement additional complexity and functionality. ERP tools like Clarity can be expensive endeavors that require a significant investment as project managers integrate project schedules, team members collaborate and portfolio managers generate bubble charts. Microsoft Project Server is another great tool but it also requires an investment in both technology and the business process of synchronizing schedules with a Sharepoint repository. Don’t get me wrong--I’m a huge fan of Clarity and Microsoft Project Server, but portfolio managers don’t always need a full-feature package with all the bells and whistles. I’ve succeeded with spreadsheets and desktop databases, but they have…

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