It’s often assumed that Project Portfolio Management (PPM) should only be introduced into organizations that have first achieved standardization and consistency with project management. This is logical as “doing the right projects” is an academic practice if you cannot “do projects right”.
Here are some justifications for introducing PPM in parallel, or even in advance, of improving your organization’s project management capabilities.
1. If resource availability is a common source of risk to the successful delivery of your projects, reducing multitasking by focusing resources on higher value projects may improve the estimates of resource availability, which in turn could improve project predictability.
2. If your organization suffers from invisible sponsors (see Overcoming Project Management Super Villains), PPM might be a good way to “encourage” real commitment. When sponsors realize that their projects will get axed if they aren’t fully engaged, they will be more likely to support their project managers.
3. Clarifying scope and expectations for a project can be a painful, effort-intensive activity for project teams. Introducing a consistent project intake and evaluation process can front-load this effort before the project team has even been assigned.
4. Focusing and motivating their teams is a common challenge for project managers. This challenge is aggravated when the team is asked to work on a project that appears to be of limited value or when the project is not treated like a priority by sponsors or stakeholders. With appropriate project intake and prioritization practices, the rationale for projects should be obvious so that he project manager can effectively communicate the benefits the project will have to both the organization and to individual team members.
Like the age-old question of whether the chicken or the egg came first, with PPM and project management, either option is viable with the right context!