Book Review: Strategic Project Portfolio Management

Actions to take and avoid for successful project management.

by / February 11, 2011

Whether it’s doing more with less or deciphering how to deliver online versus in line, project portfolio management is critical to government agencies aiming to strategically plan and implement changes that affect the enterprise. If you’re an IT executive searching for a book that pairs theory and technology, Strategic Project Portfolio Management: Enabling a Productive Organization is worth perusing.

The book contains information on generating ideas, the importance of planning, improving cost performance and identifying organizational bottle-necks, among other topics. Author Simon Moore also identifies 10 things to do and 10 things to avoid to achieve a successful strategic project portfolio management process. Some of Moore’s suggestions include:

Things to Do

Know what you have — understand what resources and skills are available within your organization by conducting a capabilities audit, which can later serve as a benchmark to assess portfolio process.

Build momentum —
demonstrate that portfolio management is beneficial to all stakeholders by showing early successes. Transparency is helpful in this process and creates a culture of collaboration.

Capture ideas — the more, the merrier. Obtain ideas from a broad range of sources to increase creativity.

Prioritize —
get buy-in and reduce duplication of effort by having a robust and clear prioritization process. Also ensure that prioritization is linked to strategic business goals.

Use efficient decision-making — build an effective reporting system that answers specific questions tied to specific processes.

Conduct post-mortems — assessing projects can help determine areas for improvement.

Things to Avoid

Moving too fast — don’t be frustrated by slowness since this is sometimes due to the organization adapting to change. Instead, try a phased approach to gradually introduce change.

Relying on the big bang — systems are not built overnight and having an overambitious rollout is a sure-fire way to derail a project.

Not killing projects — making the case for projects to continue when not warranted detracts from the organization’s health.

Missing scope changes — not measuring the course of a project to ensure milestones are being reached.

Compartmentalizing information — preventing information sharing is not conducive to project success and greatly hinders productivity.

Providing inadequate resources — rationing resources leads to slow failure and underperformance.

If you’re an IT executive aspiring for project management success, Strategic Project Portfolio Management might be helpful or it might rehash what you already know. You be the judge.


Karen Stewartson Managing Editor