Tuesday, 8 February 2011

What can portfolio management do for you?

I have just attended the MoP launch http://www.maventraining.co.uk/news/ which included two useful presentations from people who are applying portfolio management:

David Pitchford is the Executive Director of the Major Projects Directorate (Cabinet Office) and is responsible for creating the portfolio of major projects for the UK government. He started his presentation by explaining that in common with many organisations the UK government does not have a complete understanding of all the major projects planned or already underway. Different government departments run multiple projects and change initiatives and whilst some of these are already visible because of their impact on society or their political sensitivity/media interest there are many more that are not included in the wider view of everything that is happening.

From a cost saving perspective this is interesting because research shows that merely by forming a portfolio an organisation can expect an upfront cost saving of 20% to 30% by removing duplication and stopping low value initiatives.

David made a strong case for the benefits of establishing a portfolio and how this is essential in ensuring transparency of where money and effort are being spent.

Paul Hirst is Head of Project and Programme Management at HMRC. He explained how HMRC have completed the ground work for making portfolio management work. Part of their planning included the creation of a governance structure where responsibilities, levels of authority and relationships with other groups has been agreed, overseen by the Senior Responsible Owner who is also the Chief Executive (I cannot think of a more effective way of gaining senior management commitment to the portfolio that putting the CEO in charge).

Paul talked about the reality of the austerity measures and the need to cut as a result of strategic need and not sentiment. He was very clear that authorisation of each element of the portfolio will be driven by evidence based evaluation of project ideas and the era of ‘pet projects’ has ended. Whilst this might seem a threatening message for some, in common with David’s first speech, Paul believes that the transparency offered by portfolio management is an essential element of getting a grip on expenditure and is a strong force for good in any type of organisation.

If you are interested in finding out more about portfolio management download my free whitepaper http://www.maventraining.co.uk/whitepapers/ or sign up for the Effective Portfolio Management Workshop on the 30th March http://www.maventraining.co.uk/course-detail/_/portfolio-management/20/

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