In this post we explore the differences between the processes of Programme and Portfolio Management in detail. We take a look at the Objectives of both Portfolio Management and Programme Management, and how each fits in to a businesses Project Management structure…
Programme Management Objectives:
Programme Management is all about managing multiple related projects which all work towards the same business objective. Essentially, a programme is required when one project is not large enough to manage the business objective, and multiple projects are required. If one project manager doesn’t have enough hours in his or her working week to handle all of the requirements, then multiple projects, each with their own Project Manager and project team are required.
To control this group of projects effectively, we need an overall Programme, and a Programme Manager to look after the whole piece.
To make this clearer – the hierarchy of the whole programme is:
Programme > Project > Phase > Task
The programme does not (and could not) take on the day to day running of individual projects. Their job is to make sure that all of the projects are running to schedule and will meet their own project objectives, within the larger business objective or strategy (programme objective).
The typical activities of a Programme Manager are therefore:
- Defining roles and responsibilities
- Setting baselines
- Planning Programmes
- Prioritising Projects
- Reporting on Progress reporting
- Communicating with Stakeholders
- Benefits Management
- Risk Management
- Quality Management
- Issue Management
- Closing the Programme
Portfolio Management Objectives
Portfolios are groups of projects which may or may not be related being carried out by the organisation at one time – these might be divided in to business areas such as IT, HR or Operations.
The Objective of Portfolio Management, therefore, it to provide a ‘helicopter view’ of all of the projects being undertaken across the business by business area.
Rather than just looking at one business objective like Programme Management does, Portfolio Management is useful for high level decision-makers within an organisation because it gives them a snapsh0t of all projects. This helps the business to prioritise what is most important, and ensures that no two projects are carrying out very similar tasks, thereby wasting resources.
The key activities of a Portfolio Manager are therefore:
- Strategic Alignment of Projects
- Reporting on Progress to the Board
- Managing Risk