Project Portfolio Management

The world of IT project management is stepping up. Over the past 10 years project management are moving away from single project management monitoring and looking also more broadly at a portfolio of projects in the corporate IT mix. This viewpoint is being motivated by both internal IT and external organizational drivers.
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Internally within IT, relentless cost reductions and pervasive change is now spreading beyond dramatic price commodization of computing power, data storage and data movement as critical niches in IT such as data integration, actionable intelligence, and portfolio project management itself begin to develop and mature rapidly. But also there is a new emphasis on IT organization wide solutions as emphasized in ITIL-IT Infrastructure Library and SOA Governance initiatives. However, IT project portfolios pickup steam from general management drivers.

First, the ideas of financial portfolios stretching back 50 years to investment portfolios and now risk management have influenced the form and direction of IT project management – taking the focus off of tactical, single project management and towards a broader portfolio project management perspective. Second, business management itself has followed the financial mangement lead and is injecting more asset management into organization strategy – this is derived from ROI and Portfolio analysis but wider in scope. So the IT bottom-up orientation to Total Resources Management and IT Project Portfolios Approach is more likely to get a positive reception at the CEO and Board levels. IT Project Management is expanding its scope, but ahead of time the GUI and software support is ready, willing and available.

IT and Project Management

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Since well before the PC revolution of the mid 1980s Project Management with Pert+ Gantt charting plus EVA and other project technologies had flourished, but individual project management blossomed in the IT environ simply because it was pragmatic to do automated tracking of large projects. But the advent of Windowing software on the PC a)brought many of PM concepts to full fruition with cost+time saving delivery through GUI charts and interfaces and b)a broader audience with low cost desktop systems delivering capabilities that 5 years before cost 10-100 times as much with less immediate PM program help and advisory services.
The limits in project management have not been a lack of good tools either from the theoretical framework or the programmatic delivery.

And that is true once again, as project management software has stepped up with solid systems for Project Portfolio Management, Contract+Cost Control plus Resource Allocation. The major difference from earlier project management systems, all of these tools aggregate from many projects to manage resources at the organizational level. Thus the viewpoint stepped from individual and tactical to organizational and strategic. Already in the past decade Project Management tools had expanded to deliver more collaborative project management with client-server systems linked to centralized databases of project data, opening up project data for collaborative review with access on the Web to common views and discussions on project data and milestones.

Now project management vendors are taking the next two step and are bringing cross project portfolio analysis and multi-project
resource management into a portfolio viewpoint. The analysis combines risk estimates, with financial ROI summaries, plus detailed personnel and other critical resource accounting. Call it corporate Application LifeCycle Management or Project Portfolio Analysis. There is a new level of project management software. Check out how “the new and improved” Project Portfolio tools can not only help manage your IT projects but also bring insights to over all organizational performance.