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A recent study conducted in 2017 stated that out of all the organizations surveyed, 89% of those who performed exceptionally well used the project portfolio management process for their daily operations. Portfolio management has been on the rise in the recent past due to the operational efficiency it provides for day-to-day operations and for meeting overall business objectives.

This article discusses the objectives of portfolio management, the steps involved in managing a portfolio, and some tips to achieve portfolio management success for companies.

What is Portfolio Management?

Portfolio management helps organizations create a more consolidated view of their company’s assets, projects, and programs. It helps companies improve their overall business strategies so that they can focus on meeting their business goals and continue delivering their projects of high quality and in a successful manner.

Portfolio management helps companies maintain the necessary balance required to successfully manage their projects and investments that go into the projects. This means balancing new initiatives with existing processes to achieve optimal outcomes for the organization.

What are the Objectives of Portfolio Management?

Portfolio management provides an overview of all the existing projects, programs, processes, and organization resources. This means that it oversees the company’s general operations and makes sure that all the resources are prioritized and appropriately allocated in the enterprise. Portfolio management also makes sure that the company remains compliant to all governmental rules and regulations and their projects.

Some of the objectives of portfolio management for organizations are as follows:

  • Help keep the stakeholders informed of the progress in each project and implement the feedback received
  • Help improve the overall communication in the organization
  • Improve decision making for project strategies and overall business strategies, especially when it comes to taking informed risks
  • Properly allocate all the resources to each project
  • Help align the goals of individual projects to meet the overall business goals of the company
  • Accurately measure the bandwidth of each employee in the teams that are working on the projects in the company and align it with the amount of work that needs to be done for each project
  • Help improve the return on investment for each project by predicting the value that will be generated from it
  • Improve the overall prioritization process for all the projects in the company
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The Portfolio Management Process/ Phases

The project portfolio management needs to be a regular process. This way, organizations can quickly determine any flaws in their processes or programs and fix them to ensure optimal delivery of all projects and their organizational operations. There are a lot of program management software that makes managing a portfolio much easier. This portfolio management process has four main steps involved, which are:

  • The inventory phase
  • The analysis phase
  • The alignment phase
  • The management phase

The Inventory Phase

The inventory phase is where all projects are successfully categorized and listed in a consolidated place. Teams can use Excel sheets to perform this task. Here, all ongoing projects are listed out and categorized. This step does not need to have all projects listed. The minor ones can be excluded to make the job easier. 

The inventory should include the following:

  • Project name and other characteristics for identification
  • All the expenses involved in the project
  • The business value provided by the project
  • Organizational data for individual projects
  • How it aligns with the business goals of the company
  • All the resources utilized in the project
  • The current status of the project

The Analysis Phase

The analysis phase is involved with understanding all the parts of the projects in the portfolio that are a part of the inventory. This includes understanding what processes and programs are doing well in a project and which ones are not performing well enough. It also includes analyzing any future risks that projects might face and possible strategies to mitigate them. Another aspect included in the analysis phase is how well the projects are aligned with the company’s current business goals and how all the resources are performing with their projects.

The Alignment Phase

The alignment phase acts as a prioritization phase for the portfolio. Once all the projects have been categorized and analyzed, they need to be prioritized in order of importance. This is usually done by considering which ones have the highest impact on the organization. Based on this prioritization, resources can be further allocated to ensure they meet all their requirements and function in an optimized manner. This helps in preventing future pitfalls and avoiding risks.

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The Management Phase

The previous steps were preparatory steps that would help with the actual portfolio management plan, which takes place in the final stage. This is when the actual management of the portfolio takes place. This step has multiple aspects, which include the following:

  • Alignment of projects with the business and strategic goals of the company
  • Reprioritization, addition, and elimination of certain projects and processes
  • Redistribution of resources
  • Building a steady architecture for all the projects within the organization

Tips to Achieve Portfolio Management Success

There are many ways in which organizations can ensure that their portfolio management strategy is a success. Some of the tips that portfolio managers and organizations can use to achieve portfolio management success are listed below:

  • Project portfolio managers need to have strategic knowledge of all the technological investments of their existing projects
  • Organizations should be able to use their processes and resources in a way that the results have the best possible impact on their projects
  • The portfolio management strategy for all the projects needs to be aligned with the business strategy and goals for the company
  • There should be a strategy in place to enable mobile and remote workers to be able to work whenever they need to
  • All organization members and relevant teams need to have access to their tasks and progress on their projects. All stakeholders need to be able to view the progress on each project easily as well
  • Risk management needs to be a priority to make sure all projects are delivered on time
  • Stakeholders need to have real-time visibility when it comes to the progress of each project in the company
  • All data needs to be accurate and of high quality
  • Time management and task management aspects of portfolio project management need to be simplified enough for all team members to be able to use
  • Organizations can make better-informed decisions for their projects and strategies if they can accelerate and simplify the task entry system and the time entry system. Kanban tools are greatly recommended for this aspect, and they are generally available with a lot of portfolio management tools for use in the company 
  • Regularly check for compliance of all rules and regulations in the company to avoid unnecessary delay and loss of resources

Final Thoughts

Portfolio management works hand-in-hand with project management to help organizations achieve their goals and deliver high-value projects. It drives a higher return on investments and creates an accurate and consolidated view of the enterprise’s assets and projects. Training project managers or hiring certified project portfolio managers to develop project portfolios and manage them will keep any business’s assets safe and increase the ROI.

There are many courses and certifications in portfolio management and project management available for individuals, working professionals, and project managers to help them gain more knowledge of the subject.

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Lucy Brown has many years of experience in the project management domain and has helped many organizations across the Asia Pacific region. Her excellent coordinating capabilities, both inside and outside the organization, ensures that all projects are completed on time, adhering to clients' requirements. She possesses extensive expertise in developing project scope, objectives, and coordinating efforts with other teams in completing a project. As a project management practitioner, she also possesses domain proficiency in Project Management best practices in PMP and Change Management. Lucy is involved in creating a robust project plan and keep tabs on the project throughout its lifecycle. She provides unmatched value and customized services to clients and has helped them to achieve tremendous ROI.

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