Portfolio Management in Government

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.

Corporate projects have been subjected to much more change in the last few years than would have been thought possible even a decade ago. The speed of technological change and the ever-increasing demands of customers have combined to demand projects deliver in a state of almost constant refinement and elaboration—regardless of whether the “headline” approach is agile or waterfall.

This pace is what has driven the growth of portfolio management in the private sector to the point where most organizations now have at least some form of rudimentary portfolio management—and many have very advanced and integrated approaches.

In government, the speed of change tends to be slower. There is less demand from “customers” for the rapid evolution of solutions (although that may in part be due to low expectations around the ability to change). Government organizations also tend to stay away from solutions that use leading edge technologies, reducing the need to constantly evolve the technology used for projects. As a result, there has been less external pressure to develop portfolio management disciplines—and in my experience, portfolio management is both less mature and less widespread among government organizations.

I think that’s unfortunate, because I believe government initiatives can benefit from many portfolio management …

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