The Portfolio Office should aspire to be the Enterprise Portfolio Management Office; supporting a C’Level Exec to ensure the right projects and programmes are chosen, which in turn will deliver the benefits, achieving the strategic aims of the organisation. EPMO’s do this by focusing on the commercial aspects and decisions on investment, and also implementing and refining systems and processes to ensure excellent management information (M.I.) and analysis is produced to all which enriches decision making.
The Portfolio Management Office should always ask….
‘Are we doing the right thing?’ and ‘Cash Flow is King!’
The Programme or Project Management Office should always ask…..
‘Are we delivering the thing right?’
The Portfolio Office should be working with individuals on the pipeline of potential projects and their alignment to the Organisations Strategy, whilst challenging if existing projects and programmes continue to align to the Strategy (as these days the strategy never stays still), and will deliver the organisations goals.
Ultimately, the Portfolio Office should be accountable for the business to realise the best value proposition in delivering change which drives it’s strategic objectives; its not always about ROI (although this can play a big part of project selection).
When initiatives or projects start to form, how much budget is required is usually key to what initiatives can be delivered and by when. This is why the Portfolio Office also has an equal focus on cash flow of the Organisations change budget and resources.
Dependant on the cash flow (or annual budget constraints) some projects be speeded up, or slowed down until the next budget release cycle.
The EPMO (Enterprise Portfolio Programme Office) should report directly to the Exec and sit outside the programme and project delivery, always giving an outside independent view of all change within the organisation; this is no different to how a finance department offers external / internal assurance on how operational departments are performing within organisations, after all, projects and programmes are expensive investments, which at times can also be risky.
The Portfolio Office would deal with areas of expertise such as Prioritisation, Strategic alignment of projects, Benefits Realisation (actual tracking), Demand and Resource Management, Strategic Risk and Issue Management, Strategic Planning (Roadmaps or Transformation Map), and Corporate finance and governance dedicated for change activities.
Although Portfolio Management can be set up in 100 days (see our 100 day plan on setting up Portfolio Management), this will only give the organisation a foundation to build on. Greater capability and skill will return more accurate and a richer source of information to enable the people and organisation to perform better. Bad data in = Poor information out, BUT, Good data in = Great information out.
Some of the main activities for a Portfolio Office should be annual business planning, prioritising projects aligned to strategic aims and objectives, facilitating the decisions for the right approach to be take to deliver projects (e.g. self build, or use a supplier), holding the business to account for performance of benefits, strategic planning for the execution of projects at the right time, strategic resource planning and solutions, strategic risk mitigation (PESTAL etc).
more info coming to planet Earth shortly…