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Programmes, projects and portfolios


Sarah GaudinProfitable portfolios will lead to profitable organisations…

Austerity and restraint have become global trends. Organisations are recognising that delivering projects traditionally ‘on time and to budget’ is no longer enough

What value or positive business outcome was delivered? Is the business even able to identify this? Numbers talk.

Disciplines such as portfolio management, benefits management, and value tracking will be in demand.

So what’s the difference between Projects, Programmes and Portfolios? 

Project:  “A project is a unique process consisting of a set of co-ordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements including the constraints of time, cost and resources.” ISO definition

Programme: “A group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually.” PMI definition

Portfolio: “The effective, centralised management (including identifying, prioritising, authorising and controlling) of a collection of projects or programmes and other work that are grouped together to meet strategic business objectives. The projects or programmes of the portfolio may not necessarily be interdependent or directly related”. PMI Definition

Portfolio management fits today’s organisations better – as it takes into account non-related projects and other work – all of which should contribute to strategy. This will come to the forefront in 2013 by providing:

  • Resource management across the business – ensuring projects can be done in allotted timeframes – importantly – projects without resources WILL be cancelled.
  • ROI – identifying projects with the highest return on investment whilst maximising resources – importantly – projects with lower ROI WILL be cut.
  • Information gathering – done well this will take some of the pain out of making serious strategic decisions – importantly – projects with insufficient information WILL be discounted.