Methods I’ve used: Portfolio, Program and PMO Management

Large enterprises often take on very complex Portfolio’s of projects or Program’s of work. These are always hard to successfully complete as they invariably cross organisational boundaries and can involve sometimes large numbers of people. Ultimately the most important determiners of success are prioritisation and people.

  • Prioritisation: Identify and ensure strong execution of the most important component initiatives within the Program and Portfolio (and limit or stopping the dud’s).
  • People: The larger the footprint of change, the more good stakeholder management is critical. Management should visit, listen, and get to know the people involved.

I’ve got some more detailed tip’s I’ve taken almost a decade to improve at:

  1. Understand and engage stakeholders. I regularly meet stakeholders, listen, collaborate and provide open, honest communication to build solid partnerships. It’s only by talking to the people involved you can properly understand your prioritisation.
  2. Take time to map out the component initiatives.
  3. Ensure clear governance and standards are in place. These must be objective and clearly documented, trained to PMs/Leads, with regular forums and metrics to reinforce.
  4. Planning and diligent management provide strong delivery. Initiatives must clearly plan & delegate tasks, manage resources, document responsibilities and follow decision points. PMO/PDO rhythms build momentum. Supportive relationships with PMs/leads enhances success.
  5. Risk and issue management avoids surprises and focuses escalations.
  6. Use the right method for the challenge at hand. Waterfall, Prince 2, Agile (Scrum) address subtly difference project challenges.

Where I’ve seen this work: “Unify” at Virgin was an extremely complex $100M+ program with over a dozen PMs & Projects, and literally hundreds of team  members across 4 continents. Unify’s well managed PMO/PDO kept a massive amount of data flowing, kept the program rhythms going, and ultimately ensured success.

Please post your tips and ideas also!

Author: Martin McKern View Martin McKern's profile on LinkedIn     


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