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Welcome to the Spring 2016 edition of the APM Portfolio Management (PfM) SIG Newsletter

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In this edition, find out about how the 2016 annual PfM SIG conference is shaping up, a round-up of recent activities, a look at the SIG committee plans for the year ahead and how your contributions can help shape the way forward. 

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


1. Introduction by the SIG Chair
2. The 2016 SIG conference (12th May 2016)
3. Introducing a series of “thought leadership” papers
4. PfM SIG shares portfolio management perspectives with central government
5. Continuing our PfM research to develop new knowledge
6. Latest on our PfM Survey
7. Other activities planned this year
8. Your chance to influence the SIG’s future direction
9. Competition

 1. Introduction by the SIG Chair

On behalf of the PfM SIG Committee, welcome to this first newsletter of 2016 - we trust that the new year is proving to be a successful one for you all.

The Portfolio Management SIG was formed just over 5 years ago, during which time its success has it has been supported by a wide range of talents from within the Committee, from others who have actively engaged with our many different initiatives, and most notably from the many people who have given their time and effort in presenting at our conferences and associated events.

For the 3rd year in succession we are putting on a PfM Conference (12th May), with another very diverse group of senior professionals who have agreed to share some of their thinking and experiences on topics which we are sure will be of interest to many PfM SIG members and others within the world of change management. Please book your place soon.

We have now accumulated within the SIG archives almost 50 presentations so far. These are being reviewed with the aim of making them more accessible to APM members, as the insights and ideas they contain continue to be relevant to everyone with an interest in portfolio management. We hope to be able to announce the results of this work very soon.

When you look through the following summaries of recent/future activities, please consider if there are topics here that look sufficiently appealing for you to want to get involved – a great opportunity to do so is by volunteering for the SIG Committee at our next AGM. Alternatively, if you want to know more or if there are other initiatives that you feel we should be undertaking, please let us have your views. 

You can get in touch with us on any matter covered here, at our events or email us.

Stephen Parrett
Portfolio Management SIG Chair

2. The 2016 SIG conference (12th May 2016)“Shaping your Portfolio to realise Organisational Strategy”

This third conference complements those from 2014, which focused on creating the right PfM environment, and 2015, which concentrated on identifying the main factors in operating and managing a portfolio in flight. This year we take a more strategic perspective. 

Senior practitioners from organisations spanning many business sectors will share 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 

We also have contributions planned, at workshop sessions, from our colleagues in the Benefits Management, Enabling Change and PMO SIGs, as each has a particular insight into how to improve PfM effectiveness.

For the latest conference news, and how to book your place, please check out the website here

3. Introducing a series of “thought leadership” papers

We are currently working on a series of four ‘glossy’ APM 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 will provide an end to end perspective on portfolio management and practical challenge on how to think differently about the same old challenges – thinking about it in new ways. The topics are planned to be:

1. Recognising the need: “The way the problem presents itself” 
2. Making sense of all of the change and gaining visibility “ Clearing the fog”
3. Prioritising and compromising “Shaping the pathway”
4. Leading and Optimising the change “Delivering the overall prize”

The intended audience is: senior executives, change managers, operational managers and project, programme & portfolio professionals.

More news on these shortly.

4. PfM SIG shares portfolio management perspectives with central government

In support of the APM’s desire to develop its role in Government relations, members of the PfM SIG Committee took part in two recent events that further that objective.

On 8 March Committee member Adam Skinner joined HMRC’s newly formed Change Portfolio Group (CPG) at their inaugural conference in Sheffield. The 80 strong CPG has the role of acting as HMRCs Corporate Portfolio Office across its newly formed Change Directorate – a major shift in how HMRC has delivered change that brings all change activity across the organisation into a single function. Adam spoke to the group about Portfolio Management in Government and other sectors and about the need to think creatively in order to drive value in the complex environment of the Portfolio. Adam also managed to draw parallels between how Pixar makes creative movies and the day to day life of the Portfolio Office which seems quite a feat but went down surprisingly well. We wish the members of the CPG all the best and look forward to hearing how they progress with their ambitious plans.

The following day, 9 March, Adam was joined by fellow Committee colleagues Peter Glynne, Paul Morgan and Stephen Parrett at an Infrastructure & Projects Authority (IPA) meeting in London. Whilst the meeting was a regular event the IPA has with its Portfolio Management Network, representing government departmental portfolio managers, this was the first where the PfM SIG had been invited to put together a short programme of PfM topics. The event was sponsored by P2 Consulting. 

Stephen, as Cttee Chair, gave a brief overview of the PfM SIG and its activities since formation in 2010 and how these are designed to help PfM communities discover new ideas, discuss their experiences and share good practice, through a range of practitioner-focused events.

Peter presented a case study of PfM at Westminster Council, reflecting on the similarities and the contrasts between public and private sector portfolio management. For example, the impact of public and media probity on government projects not necessarily reflected in the private sector and different drivers: political imperative v shareholder profit. He also highlighted the enormity of change planned across Government in the next five years and the ever greater importance of successful portfolio management: devolution, joined up government, cost reduction and the digital agenda. He thought this event was a fantastic opportunity for professionals across government to network on portfolio management and share high value knowledge and experience.

Pip Peel, Director of P2 Consulting, discussed how different organisations often focus on different elements of the PfM cycle. He said P2 were very pleased to host the APM/IPA Portfolio Community and noted that the level of discussion was really high and shows how seriously government takes portfolio management and looked forward to doing more with both the APM and the IPA.

The final speaker was Paul, who provided a private sector comparison from his experiences at SAB Miller. He described the journey that his organisation had taken to reach a stage where the benefits of a flexible yet co-ordinated approach to portfolio management were adding value. He emphasised three criteria for success: alignment to strategy, understanding the value delivered by the portfolio and having confidence in delivering effectively. All of this was underpinned by a flexible process and an agile governance model. In his experience, he felt that it was essential to understand human nature and differing organisational and geographical cultures.

Bob Mount, Project Delivery Communities at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority concluded the event by saying that all the delegates had enjoyed the opportunity to learn about what the PfM SIG does and to hear a great cross section of portfolio management in different sectors.

This was a new venture for the PfM SIG and we will be considering how best to incorporate similar events in our future plans.

5. Continuing our PfM research to develop new knowledge

Following on from delegate contributions at the last two conferences, and subsequent review and analysis, we are planning to use the soon-to-be launched new APM website features to provide members with better access to the some of the PfM resources that have been identified. These will be updated in the future as members and others provide us with their views on
 new  thinking, articles, case studies etc. 
If you have any interesting materials or case studies that you would like us to consider, please let us know.

6. Latest on our PfM Survey

With support from Warwick University, analysis of the 2015 PfM survey is nearing completion and we expect to publish the full results in the next few months. Initial findings include:
  • 70% of respondents reported that their organisation aligns their portfolio annually, with future plans linked into the financial cycle 
  • 52% of respondents report that their organisation has high proactive and visible senior management commitment – this compares to just 40% in our 2012 survey 
  • 41% of portfolio respondents would like to learn more about delivering overall portfolio benefits and 42% want to know more on prioritizing and balancing the portfolio 
  • Only 11% wanted to know more about getting their portfolio started, suggesting that there are high levels of confidence in this part of portfolio development 

7. Other activities planned this year

A wide variety of other activities are being planned by the SIG Committee which we hope will be of interest, including:   
  • Participating in APM Presents (17 March) – to broaden awareness and understanding of PfM 
  • Gathering some senior PfM practioners together to debate issues relevant to the change community 
  • Holding regional events, in response to requests and in line with our strategy of widening our reach to other parts of the country 
  • Presenting a webinar later in the year – look out for more details 
  • Blogging on topical issues – we welcome your contributions on subjects you wish to raise 

8. Your chance to influence the SIG’s future direction
Since 2010, more than 30 SIG members have given up some of their valuable time and energy by serving on the SIG Committee to help progress many interesting areas of PfM.

 This is a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow practitioners across a wide spectrum of backgrounds all keen to give something back to the profession as well as learn from one another at an exciting time for portfolio management.

If you would like to know more about what this role entails please contact any committee member or email your questions to New committee members will be sought for this year’s AGM – look out for the formal notification soon, and enquiries are welcome at any time. _____________________________________________________________________

9. Competition

Would you like to win a “surprise” box of early summer 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 in future)
2. Email the Portfolio Management SIG, with the proposed subject and reasons why you think it would be a good way of reaching this vital audience. Entries should be no more than 100 words.

The Portfolio Management SIG Committee will announce the winning proposal at the 12th May PfM SIG Conference, so please get your entry in by 30 April!

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


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