Portfolio management - helping plot a strategic pathway in a complex world

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Todays world depends on inter-connectivity as were regularly reminded by experts; the ever-advancing progress of technology, alongside population-related pressures on resources and environmental consequences.

This creates a continuous challenge for organisations when planning for the future. Most organisations try and look ahead by developing a robust strategic plan. But what kind of inter-connected thinking should be used in both the design and delivery of such a plan?

Answers may be found in using portfolio management (PfM) as a thinking tool. In the world of change management PfM generally refers to the co-ordination, in one way or another, of projects and programmes to optimise aggregate outcomes and benefits.

Strategy is normally driven by leaders, seeking long-term goals, who have to think through the consequences of their ideas on a range of stakeholders. The disciplines of PfM can play an important role right at the centre of this process. Its more than just a set of processes, and should be viewed as an approach for working through all aspects of change, from the highest and broadest perspectives to the lowest and narrowest.

Executives and leaders across all organisations should consider harnessing PfM to help them think about the direction of change to take, consider the options for reaching their destination(s), get the balance right and optimise a path through our increasingly complex world.

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Posted by Stephen Parrett on 20th Feb 2014

About the Author

I have been involved in change management for more than 20 years, mainly in financial services and central government, including Lloyds bank and the Ministry of Justice. My experience has been gained in a wide range of project, programme, portfolio, and planning roles – largely in process design and implementation within central/strategic organisational functions. A significant part of that work centred on setting up portfolio offices (central/local), portfolio construction & analysis and executive-level reporting. I have also developed a number of operating models to support portfolio management, particularly relating to the application of benefits management and strategic change prioritisation scenarios. Since 2005, I have been an independent consultant specialising in designing, documenting and delivering benefits-focused programme & portfolio change management processes, and associated products (e.g. business cases, benefits reviews, and portfolio reports).

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