Project Portfolios

A project portfolio covers all change initiatives (projects and programmes) in an organization. Projects in the portfolio may or may not be grouped together into programmes. In larger organizations, it is common to see programmes that combine to form a project portfolio.

Portfolio management is the process of ensuring all change initiatives are delivered in line with the organisational strategy.

Definition of a Portfolio

A portfolio is defined as the totality of an organization’s investment (or segment thereof) in the changes required to achieve strategic objectives. The main aim of creating a portfolio is to achieve the organization’s strategic aims and goals.

Hierarchy of portfolios, programs, and projects

An organization can have more than one portfolio. This is common in very large organizations. Unlike projects and programmes, portfolios are not time-limited. The portfolio office will continue to exist until the senior management decides otherwise.

Hierarchy of master portfolio, sub portfolios, programs, and projects

If an organization has created sub-portfolios, then the sub-portfolios should be implemented and managed consistently with the organizational portfolio.

Investment and Strategic Objectives

This definition mentions two terms – investment and strategic objectives. Projects are used to contribute to an organization’s goals some way. On the other hand, portfolio management is about the strategic view. The definition also includes the term “totality of investment”, which means that a portfolio should include all the business change initiatives, except those which do not significantly contribute to the organizational strategy – for example, operational enhancements.

We should create a portfolio with the following aims:

Projects within a Portfolio Context

Projects generate benefits that are helpful to achieve one or more objectives at a time. Projects (and indeed, programmes) are the means of achieving change and they form a very important part in portfolio management. Some of the important things that portfolio management does to project management are:

Written by Inham Hassen

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