The Difference between Strategic Portfolio Management and Project Portfolio Management

ppm, Project Portfolio Management, Strategic Planning

“Isn’t it just a new buzz word instead of something new?” Indeed, it is. Where the term Project Portfolio Management is commonly used in the last twenty years, it did in fact focus on both the portfolio definition process (where strategic alignment, prioritization and planning come in) and the portfolio delivery process. However, as portfolio management is a discipline that is in many organizations not very mature yet, the focus has been mainly on the delivery process.

Why the term Strategic Portfolio Management

In a dynamic market landscape where changes come in rapidly, strategic alignment has become the key to keep a competitive advantage or even be a frontrunner. That is where the term Strategic Portfolio Management comes in. It focuses on the importance of the portfolio definition process where both strategy alignment as well as prioritization and planning (while taking into account resource limitations), take a prominent role.

Strategic Portfolio Management does not only focus on the portfolio composition process. It also included the delivery of the portfolio and the process to make sure that the project portfolio is successfully executed. From a model perspective, SPM has three perspectives, all three equally important.

Strategic Portfolio Management

Definitions of Project Portfolio Management

Now, let’s look at the definition of Project Portfolio Management as formulated by the PMI Institute: “The centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work, in order to achieve specific strategic business objectives.”

Another definition to look at is the organization behind the Management of Portfolios methodology, Axelos: “Portfolio management is about managing investments effectively, so that strategic objectives are achieved. Projects and programmes ensure successful delivery and achievement of benefits (“doing things right”) at an individual level. Portfolio management’s scope is to make right investments (“doing the right thing”) and “doing things right” at a collective level.”

In both definitions, the focus on strategic alignment as well as on  the delivery is clearly mentioned.


So, indeed, there is no difference between the term Project Portfolio Management and Strategic Portfolio Management. It only emphasizes the importance in these dynamic times about a strategically aligned portfolio.

About biztracker

Bizztracker enables organizations to connect the dots between strategy and execution. Our portfolio management solution is built to provide the insights you need to define the portfolio composition as well as to monitor the running portfolio. With the full spectrum of strategic, operational, resource and financial portfolio management functionality, bizztracker enables firms to transform at the speed of change. Our unique selling point is the flexibility to only use that functionality that is in line with your level of portfolio management maturity, keeping it simple and pragmatic.

To support our customers we also offer consultancy services to design / implement the project portfolio management processes and to facilitate in defining strategic scoring frameworks.

For more information, visit our website

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