In presenting this book review I must first profess a certain conflict of interest. You see, the author is not only a friend of mine of many long years, but I also wrote the forward to his book. That doesn't detract from the value of this book, but it might be perceived as detracting from my objectivity!
With all that has been written on and about project management over the last decade, you might be forgiven for thinking that surely there cannot be anything new to say. Indeed, some eminent practitioners have even stated categorically that little has advanced in these past ten years. But in the past five at least the management of projects has risen to a new prominence. Projects are now seen as critical to success in all three sectors: public, private and non-profit.
How is it that Project Portfolio Management has become necessary? Because project management has moved from the domain of capital infrastructure projects to any type of endeavor that qualifies as a "project". Then, with the advent of business automation systems through the use of computers and the concomitant software development, the opportunity for innovative value-added projects has burgeoned to the point where "only the sky is the limit".
Consequently, the impact of projects on contemporary society has become immense. Unfortunately, the evident wastage through improper selection of projects and/or their improper formulation and conduct is equally immense. Together, this represents a serious diminution of our collective capital assets and consequent drag on our economies. To deal with this challenge, there is something new, though it is still evolving. The solution to this wastage is to be found in effective Project Portfolio Management, ("PPM" for short), and this is not just another trendy label or fad.
It is true that some would like to view PPM as just another technique of project management, but it is not that either. PPM is literally "above and beyond" project management because it spans all the way from the vision of the executive suite, through project management to the actual realization of benefits, to the enterprise and consequent successful competitive positioning. Key to this new project portfolio lifespan is selection of the right projects in the first place.
So, it should come as no surprise that Harvey Levine, author of a number of books and literally hundreds of articles on almost every aspect of project management, has thrown himself into the fray on this one. As Harvey explains in his Introduction:
"The emergence of PPM as a recognized set of practices may be considered the biggest leap in project management technology since the development of Program Evaluation and Review Technique and Critical Path Method in the late 1950s."
Well, maybe not in the art of project management technology, but certainly in the practice of corporate governance where improved service and/or competitive advantage is key to acceptance and survival.
1. Levine, H. A., Project Portfolio Management: A Practical Guide to Selecting Projects, Managing Portfolios and Maximizing Benefits, Jossey-Bass, 2005, p1