The Project Manager’s Portfolio View

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently had an interesting discussion with a program manager about the amount of program-level information that they provided their project managers. Their perspective was that PMs needed to focus their efforts on the initiative that they were responsible for, and that anything beyond that was just noise that would take their attention away from their areas of focus.

My perspective was a little different, and I argued that an awareness of the way that the individual project fits within the larger program was important in order to ensure that the PM and their team understood the reasoning behind the project, how it fit into the bigger picture, etc. It was an interesting discussion, and while I don’t think that any minds were changed it did provide me with fodder for this article.

I want to look a little beyond the simple question of what the PM should know about a larger program (although we’ll cover that, too), and also consider whether the PMO should mandate a consistent level of understanding for PMs whose initiatives fall into larger programs.

It’s not always as simple as it sounds
When I first started the conversation with the program manager, I was amazed that he could feel the way that he did--to me it was a n- brainer that the project manager needed the background information on the program in order to have as complete a picture as …

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