PPM: Where Project Meets Strategy

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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.

There is a lot of mystery about an organization’s strategic planning process. For some it seems to be a euphemism for the senior executives’ annual golf retreat, but the fact remains that the key annual meetings to validate and update the strategy are the cornerstone of the way that the organization will move forward.

There are many outputs from these sessions, but one of the most significant deliverables is the list of project candidates for the 12 months ahead. These candidates will then get scoped and sized at a high level--and ultimately the decisions will be taken as to which initiatives will be funded. The PPM function of your organization needs to be in the center of this process, and in this article I’d like to explore some of the functions that it needs to perform. All of these functions are centered on the planning process or the follow-on exercises of reviewing project candidates, conducting high-level sizing and scoping and producing the final approved project list for the period.

The planning realist
I like to think of the portfolio manager (or whatever title you use for the person or group responsible for PPM) as the equivalent of a general in the army. They need to determine how best to deploy their resources in order to achieve all of the objectives assigned to the project team. That requires an understanding of not just how many …

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"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions."

- Leonardo Da Vinci