Setting up Portfolio Management Process (PMP) is a cross functional exercise

Owais Mughalportfolio

Most of us would agree that setting up an efficient Portfolio Management Process (PMP) is extremely important for any organization running multiple projects with limited resources.

An efficient Portfolio Management Process (PMP) allows an organization to get the most ‘bang for the buck’ by utilizing its limited resources to most fruitful (or strategic) projects.

But whose responsibility is it to set up this efficient Portfolio Management Process (PMP) in the first place? Many would say it is the PMOs responsibility. I also used to think like this until one day I learnt from experience that there is more to it. The problem with PMO alone owning the PMP is the ‘indifference’ that sets in from other parts of the organization.

Usually when a Portfolio Management Process (PMP) is getting deployed, PMO folks meet within their own circle and decide for the whole organization on how the Portfolio management process (PMP) should look like. After a series of discussions within the PMO and with all good intentions they come up with the best portfolio management process (PMP) for the whole organization.

Now armed with a portfolio management solution, PMO pitches the idea of deploying it to larger organization and ‘demand’ that everyone follow it. But the response they usually get is an ‘indifferent’ one or at best ‘less than excited’ one e.g. “yes it looks good, now you (PMO) go implement it.” That is the time when reality and sometimes panic sinks in to PMO as they realize that PMO will be the one maintaining and owning PMP without much vesting or interest from other parts of the business.

PMP is like product management, except the customers are internal. Therefore PMO must get feedback from a cross functional forum and get their buy in to a portfolio management process (PMP) before deciding on how/what processes to implement.

Portfolio management also mean different things to different parts of an organization. The Management and marketing usually want to prioritize quick return projects over others, Engineering usually want to work on ‘cool’ projects where they get to invent something, Finance would want to prioritize projects with largest financial returns etc., therefore it is extremely important that a Portfolio Management Process (PMP) is designed with inputs and buy-in from these competing cross functional parts of an organization – otherwise PMO will end up doing everybody’s work and ‘enforcing’ processes. And we all know that enforced processes which don’t have buy-in never work out well in the long run.

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