Practical Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

minature toolkit on a keyboard

Strategy and Execution… indeed the true age old adversaries… But for organizations looking to build a bridge between these, at times seemingly nemesistic dimensions, today’s contemporary PPM may arguably be just the tonic. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise to learn that this conclusion is fast becoming a common one that more and more enterprises are coming to, as they seek ways to strike a balance between running and changing the business. Creating optimal value for any organization is not something that happens by chance, and having the means to select the right strategically aligned changes, and to execute them the right way, is one giant step in the right direction. Such a means is PPM, and making the decision to adopt PPM in the organization is without doubt a smart one, but that’s only the beginning…

PPM Maturity Assessment

I haven’t yet found a situational context or state in any enterprise from which PPM can’t be implemented, but knowing where to start from, is just as important as knowing what the end game is. And a PPM maturity assessment can tell you just that. The Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) delivers a host of benefits, and is a recommended tool for:

  • Determining a PPM capability baseline or current state of PPM in the organization
  • Highlighting elements of PPM which would yield the best ROI for the organization
  • Qualifying and quantifying strengths and weaknesses in existing PPM practices
  • Validating, Justifying and Motivating investment in PPM
  • Guiding organizations in setting desired PPM maturity levels to meet strategic objectives

P3M3 comprises three independent models, Portfolio Management (PfM3), Programme Management (PgM3) and Project Management (PjM3) which can be used independently, or collectively to provide a comprehensive and holistic view of PPM maturity in the organization. Or put another way, to indicate how well the enterprise is currently managing its projects, programmes and portfolio/s on a scale of 1-5. And so the starting point is defined…

PPM Implementation

Fundamental to effective PPM in any organization is a blueprint of what the PPM implementation will look like when operational, and within that the institutionalized methodologies, processes and practices for managing projects, programmes and portfolios. Fortunately the wheel doesn’t need to be (re) invented from scratch in your Enterprise, with leading global methods, best practices and guidance’s available to assist your organization in designing its PPM solution -

  • PRINCE2® method for project management
  • Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) best practice for programme management
  • Management of Portfolios (MoP®) guidance for portfolio management
  • Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P30) guidance aligned to PRINCE2®, MSP®, and MoP® with a set of principles, processes and techniques to facilitate effective portfolio, programme and project management through enablement, challenge and support structures.

PPM Software Solutions

Having completed a P3M3 assessment and the ‘enterprise architecture’ for PPM, Enterprises would be well advised to consider what technology systems are feasible for most efficiently and effectively delivering and enabling their PPM solution in the organization. One could wax lyrical when it comes to systems ‘experiences’ but my virtue has always been to keep it simple from the outset, and try and keep it that way. Where possible I always recommend systems, like iServer for PPM from Orbus Software, that:

  • Include Governance of Change ‘built in’
  • Offer Best Practice Management Support, like PRINCE2® for project management
  • Provide significant analytical capabilities such as Impact, Cost and Value Stream Analysis
  • Come with standardized Reporting and Communication for all stakeholder communities
  • Allow for comprehensive investment scenario planning and decision making
  • Have Pre-Configured structures and repositories for PPM
  • Facilitate easy creation of Roadmaps and Forecasting
  • Cover key elements of PPM eg. Risk Management
  • Let organizations define their measures of Success and KPIs
  • Ultimately enable Enterprises to Select and Prioritize, Plan and Execute their Projects, Programmes and Portfolios… isn’t that what PPM is all about?


PPM integrates the running and changing of organizations, combining business as usual activities with portfolio, programme and project management and execution to realize business benefits, achieve strategic goals and create value for the Enterprise. We all know that there is more than one way to skin a cat, but when it comes to practical PPM some things shouldn’t be left to chance. If I were handing over a ‘toolkit’ for implementing and managing your organizations PPM, it would simply state:

  1. Conduct a PPM maturity assessment using a model like P3M3
  2. Design a custom PPM Blueprint from global best practices, methods and guidelines like PRINCE2®, MSP®, MoP® and P3O®
  3. Choose a capable system for the PPM solution like iServer

It may be simple, and even simplified, but the sooner your organization can reap the rewards of PPM, the better. Take it from me, get practical, get PPM, and get one step closer to your vision! After all, who said Strategy and Execution can’t work together…