Project portfolio management

Organizations have business goals to achieve. These business goals are achieved through execution of carefully selected projects, programs and other work which are in true alignment to the organizations strategy to achieve their business goals. There are three stages to project portfolio management;

  • Selection of the right projects, programs and other work, which has the best fitment to the organizations strategy for growth.
  • Execution of these projects and maintaining their alignment to the organizational strategy throughout execution.
  • Measurement of the actual benefits derived from these and comparing them with the forecasts made while choosing these.

All these steps collectively is known as project portfolio management. Portfolios are managed by portfolio managers. The managers of the programs, projects and other work of the portfolio report to the portfolio manager.

Portfolio can exist at the organization level, division level and unit level. Portfolio management is always associated with the achievement of strategic business goals.

Programs and program management

  • Collection of inter related projects
  • When done together gives more value than doing them one after the other
  • Managed by program managers
  • The individual projects that constitute the program are managed by project managers. These project managers report to the program manager

Improving the traffic sysyems within the city to eliminate traffic congestions can be a program, supported by projects like;

  • Enhancing the existing roads
  • Implementing car pooling
  • Establishing metro rail
  • Implementing traffic monitoring system
  • Implementing boat services
  • Implementing cycling tracks
  • Conducting traffic awareness programs

Each of these individual projects will be managed by project managers and they report to the program manager. The cumulative effect of doing these projects together as a program is much better than performing them one after another.

Do not become what you do not like. A weekend reflection.

I have come across many project managers (with PMP credential) and scrum masters (with CSM) with absolutely no passion for their work, hence ending up like glorified secretaries who ends up doing just what other stakeholders ask them to do. All they have is the basic knowledge of

the jargons and practice tests. Most probably, they have not taken any initiative to further their knowledge post certification. Like many, they also thought that certification is the end goal. In the process they suffer, their project suffers, project team suffers and the customer suffers, because the project manager, scrum master roles are leadership roles.

The general characteristics of this category of project managers are;

  • Their main focus is on firefighting than proactive problem prevention.
  • They are in the business of pleasing their bosses alone.
  • They always put the blame on to others.
  • They are not passionate about the area of their certification, hence not confident.
  • They negotiate only with those report to them, they are scared to negotiate with other stakeholders.
  • They always follow , never lead.
  • They do not evangelize professionalism.
  • They consider most of the good practices as theory and not practical.
  • They use the words ‘but’ and ‘they’ frequently.
  • They actively seek empathy from others.

One can improve to some extent and at the same time it is very difficult to achieve excellence without a career path correction , if you are in the wrong career.

I must also appreciate the fact that a good percentage of the project managers and scrum masters are passionate and knowledgeable about their work irrespective of the certifications they hold or do not hold. That is just passion about their work. That is the hope.

This post partially answers the question ‘After certification what is next?’

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