Improving Enterprise-Wide Portfolio Management

The world of the PMO is constantly changing – one of the more recent additions to its services is Enterprise-wide Portfolio Management

According to the most recent Gartner study (Gartner Magic Quadrant for PPM May 2019), by 2023, 80% of organisations will have an enterprise project, programme or product management office (PMO).

It is only fair to say that Enterprise-wide Portfolio Management is still developing and in this comprehensive session we tackled the subject.

In this session we were joined by Holger Heuss, Holger is also the instructor on the new PMO Learning course – Effective Enterprise-Wide Portfolio Management – which is aimed at those working in portfolio management and portfolio office.

In this PMO Flashmob evening session we covered:

  • Introduction to an Enterprise-wide Portfolio Management Framework, which included:
      1. Definition
      2. Indicators for maturity
      3. Relevant themes
  • Snapshot of the Portfolio Management capability maturity across the audience
  • Identification of hotspots for future sessions

Here we share the resources and the analysis from the evening based on the questions that were asked about their own organisations.

You can take a look at the whole session from the evening first:

The Video Session

The Deck


[Download the slidedeck]


The Interactive Part

Throughout the evening, PMO Flashmobbers were asked to answer questions via Mentimeter. We wanted to also gain an insight into the group responses, to see if there were any surprises or insights to share. You can see the questions throughout the deck.

We won’t share the responses to all the questions, here’s a couple to give you an idea:

The questions are designed to get you thinking about your own organisation’s approach to portfolio management. As part of the course you complete the questions and receive insights based on your answers before the course starts. The course then addresses the core areas that are highlighted in your assessment.

The framework presented has six themes – all areas that impact how effective portfolio management is within your organisation.

Effective Enterprise-Wide Portfolio Management

Within each theme there are several factors

Effective Portfolio Management

In the evening session with all the PMO Flashmobbers, we did a group assessment based on questions from the factor above, so let’s see what the insights were.

The Analysis and Insights from the Portfolio Management Capability Maturity Snapshot

Across the 6 introduced themes, 19 questions were presented and asked, providing a simple choice of 3 possible answers. Scoring was 0, 1 or 2 depending on the answer chosen.

A final question was asked with respect to the most interesting theme from the framework for future analysis to identify hotspots for future PMO Flashmob sessions.

Here’s the first analysis:

Portfolio Management Capability Maturity by Theme

The average maturity level across the 6 themes is 1.12 (low maturity 0, high maturity 2)

Whereas Organisational Culture (1.17), Governance Arrangements (1.18), and Supporting Functions (1.12) presented at an average level, the same cannot be said of Strategy & Leadership (0.99) and – very surprisingly – Processes & Tooling (0.92) which scored the lowest across all themes.

Conversely, and therefore the clear winner on the night, was Reporting (1.34) – posing an interesting question, as this theme was voted also as “most interesting theme” (together with Organisational Culture).

Portfolio Management Capability Maturity by Factor

The average maturity level across the 19 factors is 1.09 (low maturity 0, high maturity 2)

The single best individual factor for Portfolio Management Capability Maturity was Reporting Culture (1.35), followed by Reporting Data (1.34), and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Reporting Value (1.33).

At the other end of the spectrum, Target Setting fared the worst at 0.76, followed by Process Framework (0.78) and two other factors within the Processes & Tooling area, Planning Cycle (0.82) and Tooling (0.89).

What Insights Can We See?

Without further analysis of the individual data, it is challenging to arrive at conclusions and items for an improvement roadmap. However, certain trends are identifiable from our PMO Flashmob evening:

A significant number of organisation do not perform Enterprise-wide Portfolio Management:

Nearly 50% of the organisations present on the evening do not exercise portfolio management, rather managing investments along constraints such as budget and/or resources. Only 25% align all their investments with strategic objectives or are considering BAU investments. Less than 10% align portfolio management processes across the entire organisation.

A large proportion of organisations are driven by an annual planning cycle in line with financial management processes:

75% the organisations follow an annual planning cycle in line with the budgeting process, instead of regularly reviewing the investments: 2/3 of all respondents report their organisations as seeing planning as done only when mandated or as a necessary evil.

Reporting is seen as the strongest area, but requiring further improvements to all aspects

Despite the relative maturity of Reporting, significant improvements could be made. 50% of organisation do not receive data from all departments, or do not use RAGs as a management tool. Further, only 42% derive full value from reporting as input to decision making and to resolve risks and issues.

What Next?

The PMO Flashmobbers were asked to identify which theme area from the six interested them the most. They chose Reporting!

And within that theme they choose Reporting Value as the one to hone in on.

Are we surprised? A little because this area was relatively mature compared to the other themes and factors – but reporting is a big part of the PMO and if we’re focusing on maturing services, this one perhaps feels more within our grasp and achieveable.

With so many different elements to enterprise-wide portfolio management to improve on, it is difficult to know where to start. If you’re in a portfolio management office and your remit includes continous improvement you’ll probably want to hear how other practitioners have succeeded (or failed!) to improve maturity in portfolio management capability.

To find out more about the practical course that helps you to create your roadmap for action – [take a look at Effective Enterprise-Wide Portfolio Management]


About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

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