Project and portfolio management for corporations, similar to individuals, aims for achieving the maximum return from their investments with the lowest risk possible. Well, how can we realize this? Let’s start with what project and portfolio management means for corporations and organizations engaged in the area of information technologies.
According to PMI, project management is the application of information, skills, tools and techniques to satisfy the project requirements. Project management process which is comprised of 5 fundamental steps encompasses the Initiation, Planning, Application, Monitoring & Control and the Closure activities.
Whereas, in addition to managing and monitoring multiple projects concurrently, Project and Portfolio Management can be defined as a vehicle to ensure that the projects achieve the right strategic goals; at the right time, with the proper budget and quality work
The importance of doing the right thing under difficult circumstances presented by increased competition has proven to be indisputable for companies. Due to these daily difficulties faced, it is not easy for executive managers to know on which projects and operational activities to work on, their remaining budget, the utilization rate of their resources and how they would reconcile the activities with business requests. At this point, the importance of project and portfolio management can be stated as “ Managing a single project the right way means doing the job right, however managing all the present projects the right way means doing the right job”.
By utilizing an accurately applied project and management approach, making better decisions, minimizing risk, utilizing resources in the most effective way and provision of repeatable success can be specified as the most important ones among the many benefits derived.
In order to apply project and portfolio management the right and the most productive way, there is no doubt that first project and portfolio management lifecycle needs to be understood accurately.
This lifecycle can be thought of as, in short and basically; the first step for the definition of projects in compliance with the strategic goals and creating budget plan. Resource planning which provides the utilization of the right skilled resources at the right capacity can be labelled as the next cornerstone. These activities are followed by the measurement of performance and derived benefits and checking the compliance of projects and programs with the portfolio strategies. Later on, activities follow that are related to the completion and application of corrective activities for the elimination of these non-compliances. Effective communication techniques and accurate reporting methods used in the project and portfolio management lifecycle as the last components enable effective decision making by utilizing concrete outputs regarding the projects, programs and the whole portfolio. All these steps need to be converted to business processes in order to provide continuous improvement on the portfolio. In order to talk about an comprehensive project and portfolio management approach; fundamental business processes such as project selection, project prioritization, portfolio monitoring, evaluation of portfolio, management of corrective activities and project completion need to be applied soundly and be manageable.
In order to provide for the right project and portfolio management and derive the mentioned benefits, in addition to working with people who are experts in their respective fields, the business processes need to be transferred to a single software environment to be managed from a single point so that they could be applied, monitored and improved upon continuously.