PPM Power - The Empowering Capability of Project Portfolio Management


It may be a cliché, but the only constant in this world is change, and lots of it. And rather than being immune to it, organizations need to be able to constantly change. Adapt or die really is no understatement. Enterprises are simply not able to survive by only ‘doing what they’ve always done’. Yes, there will always be business as usual, but that by itself is not enough. Organizations need to continuously be thinking about what they can or must change next to meet business demands, and what they are willing to invest in to bring critical changes to life. Of course, coming up with the list of changes is often considered the easy bit. Delivering the right changes the right way is a little more of a challenge…

Cigarette boxes indeed have their uses, but let’s face it, the days of scribbling the organizations priorities on the back of one are long gone. When it comes to optimally operating an organization, enterprises need a way to be able run their business (as usual) and change their business. And when it comes to planning their future and choosing the changes required, organizations need a way to help them make the best investment decisions possible. They need something simple yet powerful enough to make change become a reality! Something like Project Portfolio Management (PPM) …

Many organizations still don’t put two and two together when I start talking about PPM, Investment and Change in the same sentence. “What has a portfolio or portfolio management got to do with how we invest our money?” they say, or “Why do we need project management to deliver change into the business?” But when I ask in turn what the priority initiatives of the organization are, why they were selected, what they are costing, what their implementation status is, what benefits will be realized and what strategic objectives they are helping to achieve… things tend to get a little quiet around town. If your organization is one of the many that can’t answer these questions, then I am in no doubt that PPM will be one of the best changes your enterprise could invest in. Oh, and by the way, truth be told countless organizations CEOs can’t even get a picture of all the projects on the go within their own business, nevermind which are a priority… fact!

Contemporary PPM provides what can most accurately be described as an empowering capability to any organization, enabling enterprises to efficiently, effectively and collectively select and prioritize their investments in change, and plan and deliver these changes across the business.

With limited funds available for investing in changes, organizations are under increasing pressure to select and prioritize the most valuable projects for their business and at the same time ensure alignment with the strategic direction of the enterprise at project and portfolio level. PPM provides the power to do just that with capabilities that include:

  • Scenario planning for investments in projects and portfolios, helping organizations to make informed investment decisions which are best for their business.
  • Change Governance, helping organizations subscribe to organizational policies reflective of internal and external compliance requirements, from the outset.
  • Prioritization of projects and portfolios, helping organizations ensure they get the most urgent and important changes when they need them.

Similarly, it is essential that organizations are able to accurately plan and expertly execute their chosen projects and portfolios to deliver in line with business expectations and to reach the goals set by the enterprise. PPM provides the power to do just that with capabilities that include:

  • Roadmaps and Forecasting, helping organizations create realistic and iteratively predictable delivery plans for projects and portfolios.
  • Impact Analysis, helping organizations truly understand how a planned project, projects or an entire portfolio of projects changes will affect the organization and what the new business as usual will look like.
  • Portfolio risk management, helping organizations ensure that their risk appetites and tolerances are not overstepped by any portfolio, that the probability of benefits realization is sufficiently high and the impact of failure acceptable.
  • Dashboards and Reports, helping organizations to be able to continuously monitor, analyze and take corrective action/rationalization when and where required on a project or within a portfolio, to assure delivery.

I think we can agree, organizations can’t afford to sit idle. Enterprises are in the business of creating value, and need to continue to create value year in year out on a sustainable basis. The only way to create this value is through change. If your organization isn’t changing, I can promise you your rivals more than likely are. The strategic goals and direction of the modern organization are no longer static, there is no immovable ‘set in stone’ strategic plan.

Organizations today need to be more adaptable, flexible and responsive than ever before – to changes, and to change (themselves). What changes to make and how to get changes in place can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Project Portfolio Management can lead any organization in their quest to create value through change, by empowering enterprises faced with challenging project and portfolio investment decisions and delivery needs, and not only providing a capability, but helping them turn capability into competitive advantage for their organization. Now that’s what I call real power for change…