Category Archives: Project Portfolio

The 4 P’s of Management

The four P’s that are often confused or interchanged in conversation are: Program, Project, Portfolio, and Product Management, so I thought it would helpful to clarify these terms below.


  • Collection of projects or programs that are grouped together to meet strategic business objectives
  • Focuses on ensuring that projects and programs are reviewed to prioritize resource allocation and that the management of the portfolio is consistent with and aligned with the organizational strategic goals and objectives
  • A project portfolio could be all of the projects for the entire organization or projects by division or business in a large corporation


  • A group of projects that are related, as this coordination of projects may decrease risk, economies of scale, obtain benefits, and improve management that could not be achieve if the projects were not managed as part of a program
  • They are on-going and may have no end in sight
  • Programs may include elements of work that is related outside of the scope of the discrete projects in the program
  • Include ongoing operations, such as a program manager for a software development company, whom is responsible for product releases, multiple releases overtime, and ongoing sales
  • Provides leadership and direction for the project manager’s heading the projects within the program
  • A program will always have projects, but not all projects may be included as part of a program


  • Is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result (PMBOK)
  • Defined start and end date that has a specific objective, that when attained with signify completion
  • Responsible for developing the project plans, keeping the project on track, monitoring & controlling the project, and communicating the project status and performance
  • More internal/inward facing and focused on the release management, product duration, and resource allocations


  • A product is part of a project, as a project is a unique product, service or result
  • Wants their product to be as long-lived as possible and as profitable as possible
  • When the demand for the product diminishes, the product manager will always look for spin-offs to keep a product alive
  • Good product managers drive customer-relevant decisions or choices despite uncertainty and contradictory goals
  • More external/outward facing on market visible decisions and focused on the product strategy & lifecycle
Can you think of additional attributes to add to the list above?  Please comment below, as I would like to hear about them!  Thank you!

Project Portfolio Management

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is more than running several projects under one umbrella, as each portfolio needs to be assessed in terms of business value and strategy of the organization.

Video: Develop an Effective PPM Strategy, Featuring: Barry Cousins, Info Tech RG

What is Project Portfolio Management (PPM):

Organizing and managing projects and programs as a portfolio of investments that contributes to the entire organization’s success.  Portfolio management focuses on meeting strategic goals, while project management emphasizes on tactical goals.

Success from Project Portfolio Management:

  • Better project planning
  • Varies projects in the organization (project size/goals)
  • Balance risks
  • Helps to align resources with business requirements
  • Less failed projects
  • Align projects with your organization’s goals
  • Helps to marry up the cost and resource effort with the project schedule
  • Decreased chance of missing out on business opportunities (Delays in time-to-market for new products, applications, services or IT initiatives)
  • Better investment decisions by helping to select & analyze projects from a strategic perspective

Steps to Develop a PPM Strategy:

  1. Clarify Goals
  2. Align Processes with Goals
  3. Select tools based on organization’s processes
  4. PPM Strategy Development Tool

Skills for PPM Organizer:

  • Strong financial and analytical skills
  • Experienced project management skills
  • Good business background
  • Ability to understand how projects and programs can contribute to meting an organization’s strategic goals

PPM Features To Consider in Your PPM Software Selection:

  • Project Evaluation Process
  • Cost/Benefit Measurement & Tracking
  • Schedule/Progress Reporting (Real-time enterprise reporting and support for ad-hoc queries)
  • Dashboards Used for Communication to enhance visibility & maintain compliance (Top-down portfolio planning that interfaces with bottom-up project plans)
  • Resource & Capacity Planning

PPM Example Software Solution:

What PPM Software or Tools do you use to increase your Project Portfolio success in your organization?

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