Baby Steps

Craig is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and has worked with ProjectManagement.com for the last six years developing the various HEADWAY processes (Project, Change and Portfolio). He has hosted a series of webinars and is a business intelligence subject matter expert.

Project portfolio management seems to have taken the project management community by storm the last few years. How can you tell? Every software vendor is now selling software--or a module on an existing software tool--that claims to “effectively track and manage your portfolios by effectively managing your projects, increasing your business success and solving global conflict and world hunger!”

While the vendors may use overly optimistic language in their marketing, their products are being sold to more and more companies who see salvation in those projects. Unfortunately, the results often leave these companies with a large bill, a frustrated staff and a poorly implemented project portfolio management process. While part of the root cause of this problem lies with the vendor overselling the product, the bulk of the problem is with our collective failure to educate ourselves on PPM and understand how we should adopt it in our organizations. Specifically, we fail to define our terms, senior management fails to identify a PPM process and project managers fail to understand the important role they play in the project portfolio management cycle.

The first challenge we encounter is our failure to educate ourselves on the definition, details and dynamics of portfolio management. There is simply no common understanding of the concept. If I walked into a room of …

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