Blog: Enterprise Portfolio Management – not just data and tools

There is a big move in many organisations to introduce the highly powerful and effective discipline of ‘Enterprise Portfolio Management’ – considering the whole organisation as a portfolio and continuously looking at how to make the best use of resource, capital, assets etc. by optimising and balancing the portfolio. Well-executed Enterprise Portfolio Management, driven from the top of an organisation, can make a huge difference – really helping an organisation do more for less and deliver on its strategy.

The challenge is to do it well and from the right perspective. Unfortunately, like many new things, it is tempting to start with a great enterprise tool, fill it with lots of data and then hope it tells you something useful. The risk is you end up with a great tool, lots of unhappy project managers and no actual business outcome.

In fact, adopting Enterprise Portfolio Management needs to start with a clear view of the strategic outcome – what are the decisions that will be made by the leadership team once they have the portfolio view? How will the portfolio view inform and support decisions to allocate or re-allocate resources, set budgets or start and stop projects? With this kind of outcome-focused strategic thinking in place (the ‘why?’) and a clear view of how Enterprise Portfolio Management will fit structurally in the organisation, only then does it make sense to look at the ‘how’ to do it – with tools, data and processes.