In the last few years, many new terms and processes in IT have come into existence. Every aspect of Information Technology is evolving – architecture, technology, processes, governance, tools, systems, size, complexity, the functionality of applications and packages, and the many new ways to meet current business needs. With these increasing numbers of elements, organizations face the challenge of process integration. They must seek to intertwine the often rapidly-changing sets of procedures to make processes work in synergy and maximize efforts and profits. Thus, the integrated portfolio management approach has taken root.
Numerous apps and solutions have grown out of a business’ need to automate the broad specter of new processes and concomitant new challenges. Today’s enterprise management faces the multiple, complex challenges of ensuring that each of a myriad of processes not only works but also that they coincide with each other and form a wholesome data stream. Driven by the pressure to perform, understanding of these issues is gaining momentum.
However, more progress needs to be made in practice rather than in theory. The framework must be less concerned with the semantics of individual process integration than with creating conditions that allow project managers, executives, and stakeholders to focus on and analyze “the big picture.”
What is the essence?
Integrated portfolio management is the approach that affects much of what we understand under portfolio management. Portfolio management integration is seldom well understood. So really, what does it mean? Integrated portfolio management is the collection of processes that ensure various elements of portfolios are properly coordinated. It establishes and manages the involvement of all relevant resources; it involves settling competing objectives and alternatives to meet the initial business goals or exceed them. Integrated portfolio management aims to bring the work to a larger scale. Far too often, separate details of the portfolio remain in the unit responsible for this segment. The details of the whole portfolio, or even portfolio groups, are rarely shared with separate product teams.
For example, your sales team might be communicating with marketing, marketing might have intersections with accounting and HR; however, they might not have a common ground to share the results and exchange ideas. An integrated approach makes this vital communication possible. More than that, this approach allows for executives and management to keep a close eye on the overall situation on both separate projects and portfolio groups.
Integrations in portfolio management: the battle phase
Although, the implementation of the approach is subjective for every enterprise and depends on the size and scale of your organization. The key components are essentially the same:
- Portfolio Charter – “ground zero,” a statement of the scope, objectives, participants, and all stakeholders have an initial “line-up” of the roles and responsibilities in a portfolio. Finally, it defines the authority and responsibilities of the portfolio manager.
- Portfolio Scope is usually the specification of the goals and long-term aims of the portfolio, like, for an example, “increasing social shares,” and objectives and narrower specific milestones: for example, “implement social sharing buttons” of the portfolio.
- Portfolio Management Plan that documents all other plans, activities you need to define, prepare, integrate and coordinate, and processes associated with the portfolio. For example, you might have separate plans for engineering and design teams. The communication protocols, knowledge-sharing processes, risk management processes, etc. For each of the two teams will be defined and integrated into the portfolio management plan.
Portfolio management and monitoring
When it comes to measuring the performance of the portfolio, it becomes especially tricky to keep the whole picture in your head. That’s when tools and integrations come in handy. No performance readings on their own will give you an understanding of the current situation. More so, they don’t exist in isolation. To effectively monitor and manage even a single portfolio, not to mention a group or several groups of them, you’ll need to measure it against an established baseline (which is set in the initial plan).
This is the “prime directive” of portfolio monitoring. In this phase, you most definitely need a toolbox to make it possible to compare large data flows toward one another. So that you can modify the portfolio, there is a severe deviation just in case (the acceptable deviation is, again, defined in the portfolio plan).
There are multiple software solutions on the market that can help you with task management, cost management, and even workplace monitoring and efficiency management. However, the very idea of integrated portfolio management requires all the tools to be connected. At least, in the data collection and structuring points. And each enterprise has a choice whether to go with a giant like Microsoft and their impressive, yet maybe a bit gigantic, line of products such as Project Online, Teams, Office 365, etc. Or to choose a lightweight PPM solution with just enough features and capabilities to keep your portfolios safe and sound. But not too many extra tools you don’t have a need for.
PPM Express is just the kind of tool that was created specifically for project and portfolio management in small and medium-sized organizations. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with JIRA and Planner, Microsoft Azure DevOps, and Microsoft Project Online. What makes it just the right fit for 20+ portfolios at a time operation. It is a Cloud-based solution that makes the dashboard available for your project managers and stakeholders anytime, anywhere. PPM Express is designed to be user-friendly and easy to use and deploy. Get full visibility, establish project management practices, and manage resources with accurate and up-to-date data from the projects at hand. All you need to start managing projects, tracking progress, and collaborating is in the PPM Express toolbox.