Copyright to Andy Jordan © 2012
Published here March 2013.

The Real Role of Project Portfolio Management
Business Focused Goals and Objectives | Business Focused PfM
The Practical Reality | PfM as "Shock Absorber" | Conclusions

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada based management consulting firm with a strong emphasis on organizational transformation, portfolio management and PMOs. Andy has delivered business critical projects, programs and portfolios in Europe and North America in multiple industries including investment banking, software development, call centers, telecommunications and corporate education. His approach focuses on delivering success through the development of people and teams alongside the implementation of process and methodology. Andy can be reached at A shorter version of this paper originally appeared on

The Real Role of Project Portfolio Management

Project Portfolio Management is not about delivering projects, no really, it isn't!

Project portfolio management (PfM) has become an extremely hot topic in the last few years, and it's easy to understand why. It's a natural evolution from effective project management. With the advent of powerful PfM software tools that are relatively easy to leverage across the entire organization from frontline team member to senior executive it's something that is easier for organizations to embrace.

However, in many situations I see PfM implementations that have not been very well thought through. That's because there isn't a clear understanding of what the function is supposed to deliver to the organization, or perhaps worse there are different understandings at different levels. There is confusion around how (or if) the portfolio manager adds value, and there is considerable overlap with the responsibilities of existing PMOs.

We can't address all of that in one article, but I do want to look at the most fundamental question of PfM - what is PfM supposed to deliver? The answer for many organizations is that it is a consolidated function that aims to provide a high-level management function of the initiatives that are underway or upcoming. I understand that perspective, and it's an easy definition for people to grasp and understand, but to me PfM is not about managing projects, or even programs - we have project and program managers for that. Here are my thoughts on the subject.


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