Portfolio Management Cycles

Managing a portfolio is broadly divided in to two – defining the portfolio and delivering the portfolio. Unlike projects and programmes, there is no start or an end point for portfolios. Instead, the two parts - definition and delivery are cyclic and continual.

There are two cycles of portfolio management. They are:

Portfolio management cycles diagram

The definition and delivery cycles are linked together by the organization’s energy.

Organizational energy diagram

The definition cycle contains five practices that are sequential in nature, but they may sometimes overlap. The delivery cycle is made of seven practices. The seven practices in the delivery cycle largely take place in parallel. In this cycle, projects are not assessed individually in detail. For example, it is not the portfolio management’s responsibility to adjust how resources are managed within one project. We always look at the whole portfolio to understand whether we are managing resources effectively. Processes within the definition cycle are mostly sequential. The delivery cycle processes largely take place in parallel.

The next question is how these two cycles are interlinked to each other. When new projects get added to the portfolio, existing projects may get deprioritized. When strategies change dynamically, projects may also change. Therefore, staff involvement is critical for linking the two cycles together. In this highly dynamic environment, the ability and willingness for the staff to get involved and take bold decisions, is extremely important. This is accentuated through organizational energy.

Written by Inham Hassen

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