Project Portfolio Management


As more and more organizations start to get a handle on how to manage individual projects effectively, they are realizing that their improvement efforts are limited by poor project selection decisions, inadequate assessment of risk across the organization, and other challenges related to project portfolio management (PPM).

PPM ensures that all of the organization’s strategic goals receive an adequate level of support. It deals with finding a good mix of projects and programs based on available funding and resources. Effective PPM requires:

  • Understanding the organization’s strategic direction
  • Dealing with multiple projects simultaneously
  • Efficient use of shared resources
  • Balancing both short- and long-term perspectives

Participants will learn to develop a useful business case, to manage different categories of stakeholders, to develop a detailed roadmap (including governance plans), and to define key deliverables and outputs needed for realizing program benefits.

Approximately 30% of class time is devoted to casework and experiential learning. During hands-on exercises, you will work as part of a team to develop a project definition document, a work breakdown structure, range estimates, a network logic diagram, and a risk response plan. In group sessions we develop real solutions and procedures for Portfolio Management.

Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned practitioner, this course offers a hands-on approach that will provide value to anyone involved with project portfolio management.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for:

  • Project Portfolio Managers looking to enhance their skills
  • Project Managers looking to prepare themselves for promotion
  • Functional Managers who may be asked to manage portfolios
  • Anyone in a PMO or similar unit

Key Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be better able to:

  • Distinguish between projects, programs, and portfolios; and between project management, program management, and portfolio management.
  • Use structured strategy statements to understand your organization’s real strategy.
  • Identify and balance resource needs across a portfolio.
  • Describe the four major steps in project portfolio management.
  • Build a backlog of current and future initiatives.
  • Describe the strengths and weakness of different approaches to project selection.
  • Implement a portfolio management process.

Detailed Topical Outline

Similarities and differences among projects, programs, and portfolios
Four fundamental management approaches
Three different types of portfolios

Strategic Alignment
Why you need to be aligned with organizational strategy
Creating structured strategy statements
What to do when strategy is hidden: inferring strategy from action

Resource Management
Determining resource needs — at the right level
Forecasting future needs
Negotiating for resources with relevant stakeholders

Getting Started on Project Portfolio Management
Four major steps in the process of portfolio management
Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins of PPM

Understanding the Current Situation
Selecting portfolio categories (“business value buckets”)
Finding unauthorized work in progress
Understanding the importance of pipeline projects

Defining the Options
Three techniques for prioritization and ranking
Why you need to present multiple options

Updating the Portfolio
Adjusting and rebalancing the portfolio to meet the needs of the organization
Adding new components to the project portfolio
Why you will need to cancel a few projects (and creative ways to do so)

Other Considerations
Presenting to Senior Management
Software tool selection and process implementation