The Role of the Portfolio Manager

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.

I’ve said in the past that agile is one of those things that everyone thinks they have at least some understanding of. It’s become such a popular concept in recent years that virtually everyone has an opinion of its good and bad elements even if they don’t have any direct experience. I’m starting to feel as though portfolio management is headed in the same direction. It has become a much more important discipline in the last few years, and now many organizations in many industries are performing at least some form of portfolio management.

The problem I am seeing is that their idea of portfolio management isn’t always appropriate—just as some people’s ideas of what agile is are somewhat removed from reality. I’m not so arrogant that I think my own perspective of portfolio management is the only one that can be considered appropriate, but I do think there are a few basic concepts organizations need to adhere to. In this article, I want to address those by focusing on the role a portfolio manager should play in an organization beyond the project delivery cycle.

Early engagement
Let’s start with something fundamental: It’s a role that needs to operate way beyond the scope of what is generally considered as project management. I would go as far as to suggest that the success or otherwise of the portfolio’s …

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