1.6. Projects, Programs, and Portfolios
Projects are discrete efforts that define and deliver a single result such as a software release or a hardware upgrade. Many companies have multiple projects underway at any given point in time. Collectively, these projects are referred to as programs. Program management is the management of multiple projects that share resources, tools, time, and talent. Portfolios are collections of projects and/or programs, and in large companies, portfolio management is a major undertaking. There's been increasing talk about portfolio management in the IT arena, so you may want to research this topic further if you work in a large company that's likely to have a Program or Portfolio Management Office. Companies are also starting to create Program (or Portfolio) Management Offices and appoint Program (Portfolio) Management Officers. As you can see, you can drown in the alphabet soup of acronyms. Don't worry about the letters, just be sure to watch developments both in your company and in the larger market so you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and initiatives in your industry.
|The IT Factor…|
Portfolio ManagementWhat's All The Buzz About?
A January 2005 article by Dean Meyer in CIO Magazine explains portfolio management in the IT arena in this manner: "In IT circles, portfolio management is being used to describe a wide range of initiatives, from project-approval processes to project management methods and tools." While your IT department may not be that large or you may not be CIO (yet), you might benefit from reading up on this emerging trend in the IT field. You can find the CIO Magazine article at www.cio.com/leadership/buzz/column.html?ID=1926. Please keep in mind that URLs change from time to time, so you may have to dig around in your favorite search engine if the article has moved.
The Gartner Group, a research organization, estimated that the portfolio management market (selling products and services related to portfolio management) would grow from $186 million in 2001 to over $1.7 billion in 2005. Project portfolio management is big business aimed primarily at IT projects. As IT departments have to evaluate, plan, and implement a wider and wider range of projects, portfolio project management will likely gain in importance. Today, unlike even five or ten years ago, IT has to contend with supply chain management (SCM) including procurement and distribution applications; enterprise resource planning (ERP) including operations and finance applications; and customer relationship management (CRM) including sales, marketing and customer service applications. It has to deal with infrastructure, security, and e-commerce issues as well. With IT now reaching into every corner of the organization and touching almost every business process, new methods are needed to effectively manage the entire range of projects. Project portfolio management may be the next best thing since sliced bread, but only time will tell if it reaches its promised potential.