The role of managers in project portfolio management

ppm, Project Portfolio Management

As described in previous articles, project portfolio management requires a different way of thinking. However, people often find change scary, which make them resistant to it. To make project portfolio management successful, it is important that employees understand the goal and added value of ppm. And it’s up to management to make sure they do. Therefore we present six ways in which management can support in this.

Be involved

Be involved from the start: when developing the initiative, validating the business case, understanding the objectives and determining the priority of the initiative in relation to the entire project portfolio. This also makes it easier to talk to involved employees about the chances of success of the initiatives, and whether their project deserves a place in the portfolio. They will therefore be more inclined to come up with new proposals.

Propagate objectivity

However, ensure that involvement does not stand in the way of objectivity; only then the project portfolio management process can be successfully implemented. Formulate clear criteria for prioritization, set clear strategic objectives that are understood by everyone and substantiate everything with objective data. Managers may not push through projects that are politically interesting, but that do not fit into that objective framework. Subjective project choices make it impossible to create a project portfolio with the greatest possible business value.

Translate the strategy into concrete objectives

Strategy is a vague concept for many employees. Because what does it mean in concrete terms for their daily activities? Companies that are able to translate the overarching strategy into individual objectives are more successful than companies that fail to do so. After all, choices also have to be made at lower levels, and it is important, as a top management layer, to enable lower management to determine what does and does not contribute to the business strategy. Therefore, take the time to jointly make this translation!

Look at the bigger picture

Higher management is not actually implementing the projects – that is what project managers are for – but micro management is often lurking. Try not to give in, only intervene if it is really necessary, and be confident that project managers do their job. It helps to have a central status overview of projects: having an overview of everything at all times will reduce the need for micro management. Managers can therefore focus on what really requires their attention.

Balance project work with the daily routine

Another challenge for managers is balancing project work with daily operations. If employees are overburdened, this can ultimately lead to problems that both new projects and daily activities suffer. It is therefore up to managers to ensure a good balance and to act in a timely manner if it is endangered. This guarantees both the status quo and a successful future.

Keep evaluating

Project portfolio management is a continuous cycle: while projects are being completed, new initiatives are being proposed, and vice versa. Not all projects will succeed, some fail, others are a resounding success. It is important to evaluate what went well and to celebrate success. Just as well, we sometimes have to look at what should have been done differently. Working on the right initiatives and bringing them to a successful end leads to shared success: among employees, managers, and therefore the entire company.

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