If the primary reasons for portfolio management start with resource constraints, you’re probably wondering how we got to strategic alignment. And that, dear reader, would be an excellent question…
We need to be clear about what we are talking about in the context of alignment. And we need to be clear about what alignment actually gives us in the context of portfolio management. In other words, just what is the problem we are trying to solve here?
The advocates for the implementation of portfolio management are dissatisfied with how decisions are currently being made. They wish to bring about a change to this decision process. They are not, therefore, likely to have much influence in how decisions are currently being made. What to do about this conundrum?
All too often, strategy is viewed as difficult. Complex. Sometimes ethereal. And frequently completely disconnected from reality. One of the inherent challenges in many organizations is that strategy is considered to be–at the same time–conceptual, abstract and elusive. It is something that happens “up there” and “out there”, and that tangibly seems difficult to grasp. It does not have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way. But for some reason, for too many organizations–public and private sector alike–we make it that way. And to be clear, yes, I am suggesting that this is a deliberate choice. Or at least, it is a failure to not be any clearer regarding the strategy of our organizations.
Portfolio management has begun to be considered as ubiquitous in some organizations as project management itself. The assumption that portfolio management does–or should–exist as a universal capability, however, doesn’t square up with reality for a number of organizations. Where portfolios play a role… and where they might not.
In the history of organizations trying to implement and get some value from project management, there has been a string of buzzwords that have captured the hearts, minds and budget approvals of senior executives. Why hasn’t portfolio management lived up to the hype?