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Welcome to the Portfolio Management SIG Summer newsletter 2016

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Welcome to the Summer 2016 edition of the
APM Portfolio Management (PfM) SIG newsletter

Highlights from our successful 2016 annual Portfolio management SIG conference, introduction to our new SIG committee and a round-up of our other events and activities. We are also starting to prepare our 2017-18 SIG Business Plan and would welcome your thoughts and ideas - your contributions can help shape the way forward.

If you have any comments on the newsletter or you would like to contribute an article, please contact us.


1 - Introduction by the SIG Chair
2 - Portfolio management SIG AGM
3 - The 2016 SIG conference (12th May 2016)
4 – Portfolio Management “thought leadership” reports
5 – SIG Business Plan 2017-18
6 – Results of our Portfolio management Survey
7 - Other activities planned
8 - Competition (entries by 20th September)

1 – Introduction by the SIG Chair

Welcome, on behalf of the Portfolio Management SIG committee, to the Summer edition of our SIG newsletter.

The new SIG Committee for 2016-17 was elected at the Portfolio Management SIG AGM on 5th July; see Section 2 for the ‘team photo’. Those of us continuing from last year are: Adam Skinner, Glenn Jones, Lynne Ratcliffe, Mike Florence, Nancy Olson, Paul Morgan, Peter Glynne, Stephen Parrett, and Steve Leary. We are also delighted that Richard Davies and Simon Darby have joined the committee this year, broadening our experience and bringing some fresh ideas with them.

Farewell and best wishes to Daryush Abbasi, John MacGregor and David Dunning. Special thanks to David who served the SIG as a committee member from our inception in 2010 and who provided a wide variety of contributions including presentations, interesting speakers, blogs and his enthusiasm for promoting Portfolio management to a wider audience, especially CxOs. John joined us in 2013, bringing his considerable aerospace experience which included presenting at our 2014 Conference, representing the SIG at APM events and also introducing several top quality speakers.

Our third annual portfolio management conference was held in May, with a very diverse group of senior professionals who shared some of their thinking and experiences on topics key to many portfolio management SIG members and those of us in the world of change management. Our thanks to all who presented and everyone who helped make this event such a roaring success.

We have now accumulated 50 presentations within the SIG archives on a wide range of portfolio management related topics. These continue to be reviewed so that we can make them more accessible to APM members, highlighting the insights and ideas they contain for the benefit of everyone with an interest in portfolio management. We will announce the results of this work during the autumn.

Have a look through the summaries of recent and planned activities, and please let us know if there are topics here that appeal to you and if you would like to get more involved.

Naturally, if there are other subjects that you wish us to address or initiatives we should be undertaking, please let us have your views at one of our events or email us.

Stephen Parrett
Portfolio Management SIG Chair

2 - Portfolio management SIG AGM (5 July)

At the AGM we elected our new committee:

We also took the opportunity to review the previous 12 months and looked ahead to 2016-17, including:

  • Refreshing the SIG Aims and the five strategic themes (Developing New Knowledge, Disseminating Knowledge, Engaging SIG Members, Engaging with the CxO Community and Working with the APM).
  •  Highlighting how our 2016 Portfolio management conference and other events are helping to make available a wide range of portfolio management skills and experiences. This will continue.
  • New ideas we are working on including Thought Leadership Reports and our 1st webinar later in the year.
  • Promoting portfolio management through regular articles in Project magazine and in other media.
  • An outline Road Map of the events/activities planned for the year.

Details can be seen in the Annual Report now available on our website.

In the second part of the evening we examined two important aspects of Portfolio management:

  • Portfolio Governance.
  • Portfolio Risk.

Four expert speakers gave short presentations on their own direct experiences in real-life situations. We then worked in four groups considering and addressing some key questions arising. A very stimulating evening and the format may be repeated again during the year.

Please have a look at the presentations and find out more about the discussions.

3 - The 2016 SIG conference (12 May) “Shaping your Portfolio to realise Organisational Strategy”

Our third annual conference followed on from our first in 2014 (creating the right portfolio management environment) and our second in 2015 (identifying the main factors in operating and managing a portfolio in flight) with a closer look at portfolio management from a more strategic perspective. We had a record attendance followed by informal networking in the pub across the road.

Senior practitioners from organisations spanning several business sectors shared their views on areas including: 

  • The strategic/portfolio design aspects of portfolio management
  • Converting strategic goals into a portfolio of change
  • Prioritisation of the portfolio while retaining strategic alignment
  • Delivering strategic change through portfolio implementation and governance

A short article about the conference (written by Adam Skinner) will be in the autumn issue of Project magazine, and a short case-study of portfolio management at the Nationwide Building Society will be published in the winter issue – the latter follows the great interest shown in the presentation given by Dan Jones at our conference.

Three concurrent workshop sessions, helped by colleagues from the Benefits Management, Enabling Change and PMO SIGs, developed ideas on how each of these areas could provide ways to improve portfolio management effectiveness.


You can see more about the Conference and view the individual presentations here.

4 – Portfolio Management “thought leadership” reports

Work continues on the first of a series of four APM and SIG branded thought leadership reports on portfolio management aimed at a wide business audience – senior executives, change managers, operational managers and project, programme & portfolio professionals.

These are intended to provide an end to end perspective and address practical challenges on how to think differently – thinking about it in new ways.  The topics being developed are focused on:

1.         “The way the problem presents itself” - recognising the need:
2.         “Clearing the fog” - making sense of all of the change and gaining visibility and clear line-of-sight
3.         “Shaping the pathway” - prioritising and balancing
4.         “Delivering the prize” - leading and optimising the change

Look out for news on the first report shortly.

5 – SIG Business Plan 2017-18

It’s the time of the year when we start thinking about the contents of our next Business Plan, even though the plan year seems a long way off. The timetable set out with the APM is as follows:



Thursday 25 August

Launch of business planning guidance and templates

Saturday 1 October

Explore potential activities and areas for collaboration at the Volunteers Forum in Belfast

3-14 October

Discussion in committee following the Volunteers Forum and detailed preparation of the plan

Monday 17 October

Submission of the SIG (and branch) business plans for 2017/18

Thursday 3 November

SIG Steering Group (SSG) meeting to review and agree SIG business plans

Monday 21 November

Budgets/plans communicated to volunteer groups (pending formal board approval) by the SSG

January 2017

APM Board meeting to approve the business plans in principle, SIGs and branches informed

March 2017

APM Board formally approves detailed plans

The new SIG committee had its first planning session at its main 23 August meeting, and will have fuller discussion in 20 September and then review/refine through to submission on the 17 October.

If you would like us to consider your ideas on what activities/events should be included, please let us know at

6 – Initial results of our portfolio management survey

With support from Warwick University, analysis of the 2015 Portfolio management survey has been concluded and some of the highlights are shown. Work is almost finished on presenting the full results which we expect to publish on our website shortly. Findings include (2012 survey results in brackets):

  • 20% have full alignment to their strategy, 40% of respondents say their organisation’s. Portfolio is quite closely aligned but a surprising 40% have quite a lot of disconnect.
  • Only 68% fully understand their organisation’s strategy and how they contribute to it.
  • Just 44% have portfolio planning covering more than a 2 year horizon.
  • 76% (66%) of organisations have portfolio management formally managed, including where devolved to bus units.
  • 21% (36%) report no or no main portfolio management function.
  • 66% (54%) of respondents were in senior business/portfolio management leadership roles.

7 – Other activities planned

We are planning a number of other interesting events and activities, including:

  • ‘SIG Dinner Debate’ - gathering a few selected senior portfolio management execs and practitioners together to discuss core issues relevant to the change community (late 2016).
  • Combined event with the Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire branch for an autumn event with a keynote speaker. This is partly in response to requests by members and is in line with our strategy of widening our reach to other parts of the country. We expect to include more of these regional events in our business plan for the year ahead.
  • Presenting the SIG’s first webinar in November – watch this space for more details shortly.
  • Planned collaboration with the Risk SIG on characterising, defining and managing true portfolio risks (late 2016)
  • Blogging on topical issues – we welcome your contributions on subjects you wish to raise, and you may wish to have your say on this one from a Conference delegate

8 - Competition

Would you like to win a “surprise” box of autumn refreshments?

You could, if you take part in the SIG Portfolio Challenge. To enter all you have do to is:

  1. Let us have a novel way to get CxOs more interested in portfolio management (this is a challenge we wish to pursue more vigorously this year)
  2. Email the Portfolio Management SIG, with the proposed subject/topic and reasons why you think it would be a good way of successfully reaching this vital audience. Entries should be no more than 100 words.

The Portfolio Management SIG Committee look forward to your ideas, so please get your entry in by 20 September!

We would appreciate any comments or feedback you have on our newsletter - let us know whether it was useful, if the format suits you, and what you would like to see in future editions. Email

Thank you, and best wishes in your portfolio management and related careers.

Nominations for APM Board elections are now open 

APM has a democratic process for electing its board. This is fundamental for APM – our board is comprised of members and elected by members. Can you help us lead the association?

We need our board to comprise committed, high calibre and experienced individuals. The ability to think and act strategically is considered a prerequisite. Previous experience of working at senior executive and board level is therefore highly desirable. The board is also keen to be diverse and seeks nominations from members who can bring a broad range of backgrounds, skills and experiences. If you are not personally interested, please consider encouraging others to stand.

Any full member or fellow who feels they have what it takes to fulfil this key role is encouraged to submit a nomination form by 21 September. You are strongly encouraged to read the briefing pack in full. The nominations form is included within it.

For a first-hand account of what the APM is looking for and the benefits of serving on the board, watch Sue Kershaw discuss exactly what it takes to be an APM board member and learn how you could be part of the future of APM.

Once all nominations have been received, full members will review and elect their preferred candidates. The timeline for the elections is as follows:

Nominations close

21 September 2016

Elections open

10 October 2016

Elections close

10 November 2016

AGM - Results announced   

21 November 2016


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