As I look back on the years I have been involved in project and portfolio management and then look ahead, I realize I am on a journey full of twists and turns. The lyrics from a classic Hollies ong come to mind: “The road is long, with many a winding turn.”
This phrase aptly fits the odyssey I’ve been on,
and I assume it fits many of yours as well. When
beginning in portfolio management, we were full of
energy, ideas and enthusiasm for what lay ahead.
Our quest began with leadership engagement,
kickoff events and people wanting to learn what
portfolio management was all about. We started
down this road by putting in place the fundamen-
tals—a common project inventory, a standardized
charter for obtaining critical project information,
and status reports and dashboards—that gained
immediate attention and value.
RUNNING INTO OBSTACLES
As our journey continued, however, the road
wasn’t as paved or well-lit as in the beginning.
While having an idea of our final destination is
critical, we learned the entire journey cannot be
planned out in exact detail, as there are so many
factors that can influence how we get there. We
also learned to be cautious of detours, delays and
sometimes dead ends by using various resources to
support and guide us.
An obvious and easily accessible resource has
been PMI, with its proven, expert-developed methodologies, processes, tools and certifications that
are utilized as a common roadmap by organizations worldwide. PMI has also provided the necessary maps and frameworks to guide us through
Teresa (Terri) Knudson, PMP, PgMP, is the director
of the enterprise portfolio management office at
the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. She
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
each region of our journey—integration, time, cost,
risk and others.
Other resources in our travels have been organizations that willingly shared their expertise and
checked in occasionally to make sure we were still
heading in the right direction. These may be businesses that we contract with for services, but very
often this same expertise can be found through
webinars, books, white papers and conversations.
I’ve found great value in all of these, as they offer
the experience of many other organizations, often
have research to support their conclusions and the
authors demonstrate a passion for assisting others
in their journey.
I’ve learned that the most important partner in
this journey hasn’t necessarily been our executive
leadership or external consulting partners. While
both are valuable, the most important partners
are those who share their experiences, ideas, education, time and energy on a regular basis—the
project managers and team members at the core
of what the organization aims to accomplish.
These people have been the true partners that I
have come to rely on to inspire and challenge me.
They’re with me every step along the way with
encouragement, support and appreciation. PM
Perfecting portfolio management
is a journey, not a destination.
BY TERESA (TERRI) KNUDSON, PMP, PgMP