The Future Is Now in Portfolio Planning

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 recently had an interesting conversation with a portfolio manager at a medium-sized software development company. She is accountable for all strategic initiatives and delivers those projects through a series of project and program managers. She had noticed an increasing trend in the past few years — she was spending a lot less time focusing on the projects that were underway and a lot more time on the projects that were scheduled to start in the next three-to-six months. She was initially concerned that this was a problem — that she was losing sight of the work underway because of the increasing demands on her time for upcoming planned work. Having talked it through with me she now feels more confident that things are as they should be. In this article I want to share some of the items covered in that conversation and explain why I think her focus is correct — although it is likely to evolve further.

Let’s start by looking at the role this portfolio manager is performing in the organization. She has a direct link to the leadership team, the single person they hold accountable for implementing strategy. This company is accustomed to rapid change, operating in a highly competitive industry which adds to the amount of change they must be able to absorb.

A couple of years ago the company shifted the way they execute the portfolio to only provide …

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