Project Portfolio Management: Back to Basics

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Over the past few years, many have written a lot about Project Portfolio Management, myself included. During the past 10 years there have been many theories, philosophies and software tools developed to “help” organizations better manage their evolving basket of projects. What I find the body of knowledge and tools available have in common is their complexity. It is no wonder to me why so many organizations find the process of managing their portfolio of projects so painful. But does it have to be like that? Perhaps a return to basics is needed. Could it be that the intellectualization of the PPM process has muddied the waters a bit?

Consider the results of ESI’s Global Project Portfolio Management Survey:

Funding and Approval

  • “Globally, 70.5 percent of survey respondents agree that the gap between available funds and project deliverables is increasing.”
  • “60 percent of global survey respondents report that the funding approval process has become more complicated and time consuming.”
  • “70 percent of commercial survey respondents say that resourcing projects is increasingly difficult and less predictable.”

PPM Process Gaps

  • “71 percent of respondents report redundancies and conflicts in project priorities.
  • “Fewer than half of respondents agree that a consistent …

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"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

- Mark Twain