A good and healthy portfolio is an excellent vehicle to manage the proper projects, the right way. It provides a series of best practices to standardized a sound form to recognize, select, order, manage, track, monitor, oversight and communicate portfolio components (projects and programs) appropriately alignment with organizational objectives (PMI, 2013).

A poor portfolio planning alignment and arrangement are indeed root cause for a healthy and success operation. Since we are talking about portfolio management, readers might limit constraint this aligned to organizational or business objectives, perhaps we could expand this scope and also includes customer satisfaction, ROI or even sales targets (Sanchez, Benoit, Bourgault, & Pellerin, 2009). The framework for a portfolio prioritization strategy set the tone for a culture of programs, portfolio and project management success due to an entire review process that involve these three domains ad evolves from a careful charter, roadmap, planning, execution, tracking, control, oversight and a discipline management.

The previous statements might sound intangible to many readers, perhaps is not; a simple way to start brainstorming this mapping might start with the identification of several data elements to perform this matching. Some of these elements might be:

• Primary strategic objective supported
• Primary asset supported
• Current project or program status
• Resource utilization rate to date
• Resource manager
• Resource pool name

The following table is an example of how we can leverage some of these elements to have a simple portfolio map, that helps us to sort, discriminate and perform a first cut of our potential portfolio components.

 

 

 

 

 

Strategic alienation values

3- The project is totally aligned with this strategic objective
2- The project is partially aligned with this strategic objective
0- The project is not aligned with this strategic objective

Project Status

N – Not started/not defined
S- Started

It is important to realize that portfolios are dynamic, and might include multiply interdependencies among the portfolio components, so that means that project and programs are constantly changing as well (Jonas, 2010). Portfolio stakeholders, especially the Portfolio Manager, needs to take this into consideration to proactively monitor, track and oversight a portfolio.

Effective monitoring and control of the Portfolio is essential to keep the portfolio aligned (PMI, 2013) as well as effective overall communication. Communication radiators, dashboards, MIS, are all very good and effective tools for communication the portfolio, but after a careful analysis the tool or tools that are most aligned with the organizational culture, that should be the one that must be part of the Portfolio communication plan. The plan should present all the process, procedures, tools and techniques that works best to effectively, timely and cost valuable communicates portfolio performance, deviations, risks and issues about portfolio key components to portfolio key stakeholders.

References
PMI. (2013). The Standard for Portfolio Management — Third Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: Project Management Institute.
Daniel Jonas, Empowering project portfolio managers: How management
involvement impacts project portfolio management performance, International Journal of Project Management, Volume 28, Issue 8, December 2010, Pages 818-831

Sanchez, H., Benoit, R., Bourgault, M., & Pellerin, R. (2009). Project management; Risk management; Chaos theory; Strategic planning; Studies. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.


Dr. Carlos Colón Riollano, PhD, PMP, ACP, PBA, OPM3

Professor of the Strategic Planning and Organizational Analysis course in the Master in Project Management Program at the University for International Cooperation.