Selling portfolio management
This new SIG has many challenges, no, lets call them opportunities why not? One of these is the promotion, or rather selling (the value of) portfolio management.
I take the view that this really needs to be done at senior levels in an organisation. Why? Well promoting portfolio management I think is different from the promotion of project or even programme management. Those capabilities have often grown in organisations from local centres of excellence and their value gradually recognised. Portfolio management only truly adds value when it operates at some corporate level, and hence needs to be driven at the same senior level (which could be departmental/divisional i.e. does not have to be for the whole organisation).
This means that the primary audience for selling portfolio management is the executive level. And the key sell messages? These fall into three categories, firstly, those which highlight the value of portfolio management to their organisation, e.g. control of investment in projects. Secondly, scare stories, e.g. do you really know how much you are spending on projects that go nowhere? Finally, and for some executive stakeholders perhaps most importantly.what is in it for me?
Sitting alongside this more positive sell is overcoming resistance, because there will be a great deal of this. Remember that high value portfolio management is a new and potentially powerful corporate governance mechanism. Therefore, bad practise will be exposed (and those responsible), pet projects will be exposed, annoying powerful people and autonomy may be reduced which will also annoy some.
So, if you want to sell portfolio management in your organisation, do your stakeholder analysis and develop your sales (stakeholder management) strategy and pick your allies very carefully.
I look forward to lots of disagreement, refinement and outright outrage at some if not all of the above, so much the better, energy will help us develop good practise more quickly.
Adrian Pyne (Portfolio SIG committee member, Chair of ProgM - Programme Management SIG)