What's missing from management of portfolios?

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The Management of Portfolios (MoP) guidance has been in the public domain for quite a while now, and before that, it was available in draft form. However, I am not going to pick holes in it as its a great piece of work that provides an excellent framework with which to organise a change agenda, and a definitive source of terms and role definitions -  fantastic!

There are some bits not quite in line with P3O®, but I’m not going to pick holes in that either!

However , based on my experience across the board, the three areas which I would suggest for extension in the next version are:

1.  resource management (RM) – I don’t think we can separate a portfolio, programme and project management ecology from a wider resource management approach. We need an sensible ecosystem which delivers planning of work in progress and the work pipeline – and manages the changing current and possible future allocation process.

2.  portfolio managing ‘business as usual’ (BAU) work items – so that portfolio management is the work of the business, not just the change of the business. Can we prioritise BAU line items in the same construct as change projects?

I think if you do have the chance to go for a resource management change programme it would be mad not to include RM, and vice versa! However - does this thinking therefore make it just a bit tooooo hard, and is that why the guide does not address RM and portfolio management (PfM) together?

3. promotion of PfM to C-circle executives (eg. CFOs, CIOs, CEOs, etc.)  Surely relying on continuous improvement is not enough to get this off the ground? How many sixes do we have to throw trying to reach the right executive with available attention span?  Is there a typical ‘lifecycle’ for change programmes, and is there correlation between who has the idea for it, who makes the case, who buys into it and funds and how well it penetrates and sticks? Like some people include a DVD in books, maybe a magic wand could be provided in the next MoP manual.

Perhaps I should ask a bigger question - Should we lobby to have MoP™, P3O® and MoV® merged, and made compulsory Institute of Directors joining material?

Should the Portfolio Management SIG look into this? Who would be willing to help?

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Posted by David Dunning on 22nd Aug 2012

About the Author
David Dunning is a member of the Portfolio Management SIG and has provided presentations around the subject of Portfolio Management for Thames Valley and South West / Wales APM Chapters.

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