Best Practices: Project Portfolio Management

Mar 03, 2010


IT Project Portfolio Management

No two organizations have implemented project portfolio management in the same way. There isn’t even agreement on what PPM is. For our purposes, it’s the set of practices and processes IT organizations use to prioritize their projects; and it defines methodologies for tracking and managing resources, including people and capital investments, throughout those projects’ lifecycles.

There are multiple PPM approaches. Vendors’ PPM software tools let you track and compare things like budget expenditures, how you’re using staff time and what business problem is being solved. You can write a tool or manage your whole portfolio of projects through Google Docs spreadsheets. You can tap a consultant to walk your organization through a sensible process. You might even consider adopting one of the gigantic taxonomies of various governance and PPM practices.

But even though PPM has come a long way in recent years, it isn’t mature. For one thing, there isn’t much consistency between the various PPM frameworks and what software vendors are saying about the practice. And organizational acceptance of PPM is still patchy. Even when PPM comes into its own, it will boil down to a set of organizational behaviors and processes rather than a technical discipline, so there’s no one right way to do it. To maximize your effort, we delve into nine best practices.

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