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Using the Portfolio Project Management Process

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Ronda Bowen • updated: 5/20/2013

What is the portfolio project management process? Simply put, it’s a way to manage every company’s projects effectively, under one umbrella of company-wide valuation while still achieving successful outcomes.

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    Defining Portfolio Project Management

    Project portfolio management, often referred to as PPM, has defined objectives to aid a company with many projects see a clear status of each project at any given time within their project portfolio. Financial institutions that monitor many stock portfolios were perhaps the first to use this method; however, its success has found its way into project management.

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    How to Set Up a Portfolio Project Management Process

    Project Management Plan by Perhapstoopink 

    PPM has been utilized in large IT companies for quite some time, but you will find it useful at any company with multiple projects. If this is the project manager hat you are wearing, PPM may be right for you. Here’s how to implement and begin the process:

    • Project Planning – Make sure each project implemented is included in your portfolio. Do this by creating an inventory or list of all of your projects. Your inventory list should include the same essential items for every project such as name, timeline, budgets, and objectives. Database software systems are effective in helping you create your project portfolio.
    • Management Team and Evaluation – Next, assign team leaders to make a case statement about each current project within the company. Department heads should then evaluate each project case statement paying special attention to projects that may not be profitable for the company or appear to need more planning or resources to continue onto the work stage.
    • Prioritize and Cost Projections – Once department heads have visited and evaluated each project, the next process in portfolio management is to prioritize and analyze cost factors for each project. When a project is prioritized, how the project aligns with the company’s goals should be outlined in detail. Those projects that may not fall within a company’s realistic goals or objectives should fall lower on the score scale. Analyzing the cost projections for each project often helps to determine if tasks within more than one project can be combined to achieve success in all projects. Questions like, can teams work on the same element for more than one project, should be considered.
    • The Project Managers – Once projects are evaluated and prioritized, and cost effectiveness issues are decided, project managers lead their teams but report to a facilitator of every project who maintains the database, continuity, success, costs, and timelines of each project. In the portfolio project management process, facilitators are often responsible for identifying changes, risks, and assessments of each project.
    • Maintain and Manage – For the portfolio process to work, the portfolio must be constantly monitored for shortcomings, weak areas, and issues that occur outside the scope of each project and how those items may affect the entire portfolio. Project managers and top management should be updated often to determine portfolio success and implement any changes needed to the portfolio.
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    Running PPM Smoothly

    Portfolio project management, when introduced, often means change in teams, positions, tasks, and processes. With any change comes the possibility of personnel having to overcome the obstacles to change. If PPM will be utilized in your company, consider it a huge change and practice change management skills to help staff embrace the change.

    Project managers who are used to going it alone may find it hard to work as a group in the case statement, evaluation, and facilitator process. They may also find it hard to work with non-familiar teams who are performing certain tasks unilaterally.

    Finally, finding good database portfolio software may be key in helping your PPM flow smoothly. Keep in mind that more than one software may be needed so keep your IT department involved as far as needs, wants, and desired outcomes.

    The portfolio project management process, when practiced correctly, will reveal better-managed projects, in-line costs, effective budgeting skills, and profit revelations. Bringing your projects under one umbrella so to speak is the desired effect behind portfolio management.

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