The Real Role of PPM

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's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Project portfolio management has become an extremely hot topic in the last few years, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s a natural evolution from effective project management, and with the advent of powerful PPM tools that are relatively easy to leverage it’s something that is easier for organizations to embrace. However, in many situations I see PPM implementations that have not been very well thought through--there isn’t a clear understanding of what the function is supposed to deliver to the organization. There is confusion around how the portfolio manager adds value, and there is considerable overlap with the PMO.

We can’t address all of that in one article, but I do want to look at the most fundamental question of PPM--what is it supposed to deliver? The answer for many organizations is that it is a consolidated function that aims to provide a high-level management function of the initiatives that are underway or upcoming. I understand that perspective, but from my perspective PPM is not about managing projects, or even programs--we have project and program managers for that. Here’s my perspective.

Business-focused goals and objectives
On a regular basis, generally annually as part of a planning cycle, an organization will set goals and objectives for what it wants to achieve. Generally these annual goals are aimed at …

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