Pitfalls of Project Portfolio Management implementation

30 May 2010 Sandeep Mehta
Computer World has an interesting IT Project Portfolio Management (PPM) article that is equally applicable to R&D management – just read R&D when they write IT :-).  They point out three dangerous myths of portfolio management:
  1. PPM is IT’s lookout
  2. Right tools drive PPM success
  3. The best starting place is PPM Best Practice
 In my experience, even the organizations that do PPM on R&D portfolios, often fall into some of these traps (I am not certain what fraction of companies have formalized PPM.  May be we will do a poll on this soon).  PPM is sometimes delegated to CTO or Engineering.  This has a negative impact on R&D team members because there is no clear customer for what they are developing.  
Another key problem is too much focus on tools and best practices.  I myself fell into this trap at one PPM implementation.  I was unaware of how little the organization new about their project portfolio (most were legacy R&D projects that had gone on for many years).  It was not wise to even attempt to implement PPM when there was no clear portfolio to begin with!

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