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The Strategic Alignment of the Project Portfolio

Examining the project portfolio is like overseeing a war map—it plots out the locations of your resources and demonstrates how they are collectively supporting the overall strategy. And naturally, aligning the portfolio fully with strategy is a great undertaking. In posts for Voices on Project Management, Conrado Morlan articulates the full scope of the effort and the three groups who are involved.

Three Fronts

In the first place, there are several key parameters that must be measured in defining projects. These include the following:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Stakeholders identified
  • Available resources to support projects
  • Funding required
  • Internal and external risks to the project and to the portfolio
  • Benefits realization

To develop a fully aligned portfolio, it requires commitment from three major groups: the executive group, the project group, and the operations group. Starting with the executive group, Morlan says this:

This group defines the strategic governance processes — that includes policies and monitoring guidelines to ensure the strategic objectives will be achieved. It establishes a governing body that will ensure accountability, fairness and transparency. The project portfolio governance will adhere to the strategic governance to align the project portfolio and drive the execution of the strategic plan. … The governance body will also monitor the performance of  programs and project to ensure the expected benefits are being delivered as planned.

Next, the project group handles project, program, and portfolio management. This group takes strategic mandate and converts it into practical, actionable tactics for execution. That means they will engage in typical but crucial activities like monitoring risk, establishing metrics, sequencing according to dependencies, and identifying organizational skill gaps that must be addressed for projects to proceed.

Lastly, the operations group is the people who support the project group and take the baton when deliverables are ready. Measuring project benefits realization will most often occur with this group. They will also play a major role in coordinating the availability of resources to ensure projects are properly staffed at all times.

When these three groups hold up their ends of the bargain, alignment is achieved. You can view the original posts here: https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/28711/The-Strategic-Alignment-of-the-Project-Portfolio–Part-1- & https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/28712/The-Strategic-Alignment-of-the-Project-Portfolio–Part-2-

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