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What Is Project Portfolio Management

Working On The Suitable Projects

A company usually works on more than one project at the same time. Budget, project members, and resources need to be coordinated. The number and variety of projects can quickly become confusing – the solution: Project Portfolio Management (PPM).

Even if projects are viewed individually in project management, they are primarily dependent on one another and are ultimately not managed on their own. Organizations face various questions: Which projects should be prioritized and are therefore more important than others? How do I distribute my existing resources to complete a project as quickly and efficiently as possible? How can all projects be brought under one roof?

Who Will Benefit From PPM?

In huge companies with complex projects, project portfolio management is already part of everyday work. Portfolio managers monitor the processing of the suitable projects at the right time to create a high level of transparency in project management. They ensure that only projects with a maximum benefit for the organization are implemented. But even smaller companies can discover PPM to sharpen their perspective and thus make more effective decisions.

We show the goals of PPM and how you can implement project portfolio management in your company. True to the motto: Don’t just work on the projects correctly, but work on the suitable projects.

What Is Project Portfolio Management?

The increasing number of projects in companies also increases the complexity. Project portfolio management is the central management of all projects in an organization. In the portfolio, resources are coordinated, a holistic time plan is created, and projects are prioritized according to their relevance.

“The subject of project portfolio management is the selection, planning, control and monitoring of the entire project landscape of a company or a unit.” 

To ensure the successful implementation of the projects, possible risks and opportunities are identified in the portfolio management. In addition, it must be clarified whether the respective project fits the corporate strategy and the overarching goals. A “big picture” of all past, current, and future projects help here, giving everyone involved an overview.

Project Portfolio Management Vs. Project Management

Pure project management primarily relates to a single project with the associated project phases. It mainly revolves around the activity in the project itself. The focus is on tasks for implementation through to successful project completion.

Why Is Project Portfolio Management Useful

Different projects require the same (!) Resources and should still be processed in parallel – a contradiction? Project portfolio management is precisely about this coordination of the existing capacities.

Since many projects are often (indirectly) dependent on one another or are fundamentally mutually exclusive, a precise and meaningful overview of the prevailing project constellation is essential. It is critical to focus and strategically align yourself here: Therefore, only projects that fit the corporate strategy or offer high potential should be considered.

In addition, those involved in the project should not be “overwhelmed” by too many simultaneous tasks. A permanent “back and forth” significantly affects the identification with the project and the quality. The client and the management should ultimately be satisfied with the project result.

Business relevance also counts: New projects are only processed once they have been prioritized. Without a PPM, a project is often chosen not based on importance but rather at will. In the worst case, this can lead to the failure of the project.

The Six Goals Of Project Portfolio Management

  1. Achieve feasibility: Are there financial and technical possibilities? Does the project fit the company?
  2. Maximize benefits: The relationship between costs and benefits for the organization should be correct.
  3. Simplify project selection: The favorite project is no longer chosen but with the most significant potential.
  4. Overview of resource distribution: those involved in the project, budget, and resources must be sensibly distributed across all projects. Capacities are planned.
  5. Minimize risks: An overview of the opportunities and threats is created in advance.
  6. Achieve higher output: A more extensive work can be generated with efficient resource utilization and planning of the individual projects in the overall context.
  7. What is the role of the project portfolio manager?

The tasks of the PPM are in the hands of the project portfolio manager. The selection of the upcoming projects, the coordination, and prioritization all run through his desk. The portfolio manager asks himself fundamental questions that have to be clarified before the project is planned.

  • How high is the risk of not achieving the project goal?
  • Are there any dependencies between individual projects? Are the established priorities correct?
  • Are there positive or negative opportunities to influence the planned project?
  • How can cooperation outside the project team be improved?
  • Are there conflicting goals, different interests, and perspectives?

Tasks In Project Portfolio Management

Prioritize, evaluate, approve
Defined criteria are checked for new projects. After a comprehensive analysis of the risks, e.g., projects are approved or rejected through a project environment analysis.
Identify dependenciesIt is analyzed whether ongoing projects may be mutually exclusive or competing with one another for the same resources so that they cannot be carried out simultaneously.
Project controllingOngoing project progress is kept at a glance, for example, with the help of the Gantt chart. Risks and resource allocations are updated regularly.
Complete projectsRemove finished projects from the plan. After the project documentation, they can be archived.
Start new projectsAs soon as a project is completed. A new one can be initiated. The project portfolio manager determines the order of new projects.
Transparent communicationEqual communication must also be promoted outside of one’s team. Portfolio managers and project managers are in constant communication to keep an eye on project execution.
Tasks InPPM

The Right Software Makes PPM Easier

Some project management experts think that, especially in multi-project management, processing several complex projects without suitable software is almost impossible. Why? Because multi-project management software can make many steps much more accessible and thus offers optimal support in project portfolio management.

All Projects In One Digital File

A cloud-based software solution provides an overview of all to-dos and tasks in the individual projects and, at the same time, gives an overview of all projects in an organization. One of this PM software is factro . This means that portfolio managers and project managers always have access to the latest project data and everyone involved in a team.

All projects are collected on the dashboard. Those responsible get an overview of the priority of a project and a comprehensive schedule, including a target / actual comparison.

Plan Capacities

The “right” capacity planning is one of the main tasks in PPM. A suitable division of the available resources facilitates the smooth running of a project. It is clarified: Where is which work material is needed? Which members of a team are free?

Through the entire planning in one place, overlaps are visible, and double occupancy is avoided. The era of loose pieces of paper or confusing Excel tables is over.

An overview of all areas is created with digital tools such as the Gantt chart or the work breakdown structure. In the event of a short-term change – for example, due to an employee’s absence – everyone involved is always up to date and can react flexibly to it.

A Sense Of Togetherness With The Help Of Communication Tools

In general, however, the following applies: The best tool does not bring an organization any advantages as long as responsibilities, transparent communication, and public project organization is not sufficiently clarified. That is why communication tools such as Slack should not be dispensed with.

Especially in the home office and remote work, the exchange is becoming more and more critical so that all project participants form a unit. Ultimately, the right team building can improve collaboration.

Conclusion: Experiences Are Recorded In The Project Portfolio

Large companies in particular, with many similar projects, benefit from a project portfolio. But even smaller organizations that strive for successful project implementation should not neglect PPM. A long-term establishment brings real benefits if it is continuously updated based on empirical values (so-called lessons learned ).

Plus, having the right tool can facilitate many steps that weren’t possible before in such a short amount of time. Projects are being implemented faster and more successfully, mainly due to ongoing digitization. Project management software has become an indispensable part of everyday business life to secure your market position and successfully achieve project goals.

Also Read: Project Management Tools If Trello Isn’t For You: 7 Alternatives In Comparison

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