Blog, Project Management

Project Portfolio Management

According to Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin, Project Portfolio Management (PPM) should be something that every project manager should embrace…and I agree. According to Jeannette, there are 3 reasons to embrace PPM:

  1. PPM brings realism to an organization’s planning processes.
  2. PPM brings rationality in the allocation of resources, both human and financial.
  3. PPM brings visibility to project work and project people.

Jeanette’s article is one of the best arguments for PPM I’ve read in quite some time…I’d suggest everyone spend a few minutes to read the article.

For those of you don’t know what PPM is, here’s a basic primer on the topic:

In recent years, PPM has become a methodology for selecting projects that are well-aligned and prioritized. Callahan & Brooks (2004) have defined PPM as “the use of the appropriate management knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to maximize the alignment of the company’s project portfolio” (Callahan & Brooks, 2004, p. 178).Winters (2005) described PPM slightly different when he wrote “PPM is an approach to the management of groups of projects that treats them as investments” (Winters, 2005, p. 1).As can be seen from these definitions, PPM consists of selecting, balancing and prioritizing projects to ensure optimal value for an organization.PPM is a valuable tool for any organization and can provide many benefits, such as:

  • Allows for the selection the proper projects according to company strategy.
  • Balances all projects being undertaken by the company to ensure optimal resource usage.
  • Optimizes projects to ensure maximum value to the company.
  • Quantifies the project benefits in financial terms (Winters, p. 1).
  • Identifies and manages risks (Winters, p. 1).

The benefits of PPM outlined above can provide tremendous value to an organization by allowing the proper selection of strategically aligned projects, optimal resource allocation, project utilization and maximized value to the organization.

While using PPM principles to select projects provides a lot of very good benefits, one of the most important aspects of implementing PPM principles is that Return on Investment (ROI) and other financial measurements can be used to track project status and determine if the project(s) is/are creating value for the organization. Using financial measures such as ROI can provide immediate insight into the status of a project, which allows better executive decisions related to the optimal usage of resources within the company.


  • Callahan, K., & Brooks, L. (2004). Essentials of strategic project management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Winters, F. (2005, February 16). Project portfolio management: A primer (part 1). Retrieved October 20, 2006, from

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About Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a data scientist, technology consultant and entrepreneur with an interest in using data and technology to solve problems. When not building cool things, Eric can be found outside with his camera(s) taking photographs of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
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[…] Eric Brown presents Project Portfolio Management posted at Connecting Technology, Strategy and Execution. This is an interesting introduction, although I’d like to have seen how PPM relates to Programme Management. Perhaps this is something Eric will look at another time? […]

16 years ago

In the articles “PPM – Gartner Causes Confusion” und “Project Portfolio – Hype and More” we covered the issue of the nonspecific use of the term PPM. Today the PPM market is changing. On one hand software companies are being acquired (HP / Mercury Interactive / Kintana, Oracle / Peoplesoft, Primavera / Prosight, Serena / Pacific Edge). On the other hand the term PPM as a software category is used Project Portfolio Management (PPM) as well as Project Management (PM) software vendors. For the sake of clarity there should be a comprehensive category including both subcategories: Project & Portfolio Management… Read more »