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Key Components of Enterprise Portfolio Management

When organizations grow in business complexity in terms of products and services they offer, the senior management is always concerned with if resources are being effectively used and if the stakeholders (internal as well as external) are getting the right returns on their investments. Hence in the market lots of software products that do multi-portfolio management of projects and programs. Most of the products out their aim at managing the project life cycles but a true EPM will take into consideration the entire top-down planning approach to include strategic planning, investment analysis, capacity planning and tune it with the components of Demand & Change management in lieu of projects that are being executed. They also thus take into account resource management and pop in the dashboard metrics related to them with the monies or finances being allocated and thus incorporating or integrating components of Financial management.

Strategic Planning in management of enterprise portfolios entails about how mission and objectives align with the strategies and tactics employed in execution of projects. A true EPM will thus allow to manage trade-offs before taking or executing that strategic path, allow for accurate assessment of allocation of funding and staffing and most importantly employ strategy that covers the entire business continuum plans.

Investment models within portfolios then make it simple if employed correctly within EPM to identify the risks associated, calculate the cost, evaluate the value variances, and give clues how best to optimize the project investments, balance innovations to sustain business continuum processes.

This then from a operational point of view helps in portfolio management to plan for capacity where demands of the business and resources are matched to support the key business strategies. A EPM software will thus give you an understanding where the resource are lacking, what is the excess capacity that can be transferred or reserved, and forecast resource capacity within the framework of roles and responsibilities of individuals on various teams at different times on various projects. Capacity planning is closely aligned with metrics that demand management cycles produce like number of work requests, status checks, incident and problem requests, mean time between failures, life cycle reviews etc.

At the granular level of EPM then is the ability to track projects, their scope, time lines and actual costs to the project value to the Enterprise. Tracking of project times against expenses, managing associated risks, and getting quick snapshot views of projects and their progress in lieu of organizational objectives.  The financial management and resource management are tied in closely  and portfolio manager can look in using the EPM software that link organizational financials to project plans and strategic initiatives to the final operational delivery of products, programs and services.  I personally haven't seen a EPM that gives clues or hints to what is the level of strategic alignment in terms of operational delivery of the four P's (programs, projects, plans and people) to overall strategy in a assigned % form even if there are lots of qualitative data involved.

Finally on my wish-list would be plug-ins for EPM's that will allow for high level integration with all office products and project management software's to give operational PM's up to date instructions and get up to date feedback on projects in action which in turn populate the EPM dashboard.


Sam Kurien


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