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Project Portfolio Management Isn't Easy

PPM 101: The why and the how of it

Every single organization relies on portfolios, programs, and projects to keep moving. Whether it’s an ongoing project or a new one, every change is measured as such … and managed as such. But portfolios, programs, and projects aren’t what provide value to an organization—value lies in how the initiatives are executed.

Portfolio, program, and project management are about delivering against initiatives in an efficient way that reduces risk to an organization—it’s about saving as much time and money as possible.

In 1952, Harry Markowitz put forth his model on portfolios (thus dubbed the Harry Markowitz Model), outlining how to assess the security and risk associated with a given portfolio (and programs and projects). His model has provided a way to determine the best portfolio to achieve the highest-returning outcome.

Henry Gantt (Gantt charts as a project management tool) and Henri Fayol (creator of the five management function that are the basis for project management) are considered the two forefathers of the micro-tier, project management.

It’s because of these three men that we have a project management system in place today, 60 years after their work was recognized and 50 since it was institutionalized.

But, why is this relevant? Because it’s important to know why and how this industry came to be. And why, more specifically, organizations today are relying on project portfolio management (PPM) solutions to execute against portfolio, programs, and projects to deliver greater value to the organization.

It’s about keeping everything moving... and then some

Today’s PPM landscape, enabled by technology and software evolution, has matured project management (and the other two P’s)—making it possible for organizations to keep the business running and growing at a faster rate than ever. It’s also provided the necessary insight to help business not just “keep the lights on,” but also transform.

With real-time updates, centralized information, and mobile technologies, project management offices (PMOs) can now access relevant data and insight that shows them where projects can be accelerated, decelerated, and where there’s room to innovate.

Much of that insight also comes down to resource utilization and capacity planning. Having a clear view of where the PMO and resources stand enables forecasting like never before—on platforms that liberate content from static spreadsheets and departmental silos.

It’s been more than 50 years since Markowitz, Gantt, and Fayol, but the principle of project management remains the same: Define the initiative and outline the shortest time to market that yields the highest ROI. No problem, right? At the very least, today we have the technology (literally) at our fingertips to get the work done. That same technology helps keep us informed about what can get done and when.

Interested in knowing more?

Project management will continue to mature. Whether it’s through new technology or methodologies (a whole different topic for another day), as the industry matures, so too, do the level of projects.

Figuring out what kind of PPM solution is right for your organization is one of the most important pieces of information you can have, because it’s one of the most important investments you’ll make. In our featured topic, PPM 101, get a 30,000-foot view of the PPM landscape and gain access to a multitude of resources that will make learning and knowing about PPM a whole lot easier.

It’s a complicated topic, but project management is intrinsically important to the success of an organization because like I said, it’s what keeps the business moving. For more information, check out: PPM 101 by Changepoint

About the author: Alan Shefveland, Director, Product Management – Strategy & Innovation, Changepoint

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