Project portfolio management

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The project portfolio management includes the analysis and high-level management of a project portfolio on the basis of the key features of the projects. The aim of project portfolio management is to find the optimal mix of projects within the given conditions (such as customer concerns, strategic goals or available resources) which can make the greatest contribution to the fulfillment of the organization's goals.

The main goal of project portfolio management is to find or select the right projects . These projects then form the project portfolio . Thus, the project portfolio management aims above all at a higher effectiveness of the project economy, while with project management in general the efficient implementation of projects is in the foreground.


The Swiss specialist author Bruno Jenny provides a definition of project portfolio management :

“The project portfolio management manages all projects of a management unit. This includes all tasks that are necessary for prioritizing, coordinating, controlling and supporting the upcoming and ongoing projects and the necessary resources from a project portfolio perspective. "

Viewed somewhat more generally, project portfolio management can be understood as the permanent planning, prioritization, comprehensive control and monitoring of all projects in an organization or in a closed sub-area of ​​an organization .

The tasks of project portfolio management include

  • the definition of projects and programs for the implementation of the overarching organizational goals,
  • the assessment of projects applied for,
  • the approval, deferral and rejection of project applications,
  • the ongoing monitoring of projects from the perspective of the client,
  • the performance of overarching project and quality management tasks and
  • cross-project information and knowledge management.

Lately project management in connection with the project portfolio management also of strategic (multi) spoken (see. This also multi-project management ) .


While the project management of individual projects or programs (see program management ) ends with the completion of the projects (life cycle orientation), project portfolio management is a permanent task that is repeated cyclically.

Multi-project management deals with the coordinated management of several projects and is subordinate to project portfolio management in this sense.

Consequences of project portfolios

Projects within the project portfolio of an organization often compete with one another

  • Management attention
  • Availability of resources

Comparative project selection in a project portfolio

Various methods are used - e.g. T. in combination - used:

Monetary Procedures

(Project comparison of NPVs based Net Present Values - net present value ) of projects over a predetermined time period. In the example, this period is four years, the future values ( future values taking expectations) are the discount rate ( discount rate ) discounted at the used compared Present Values ( present values ) to determine:

Net Present Value Projection 2.png

The IRR (instead of the NPV Internal Rate of Return - IRR ) can be used.

Strategic evaluation

Another approach uses strategic scoring - the strategic evaluation of projects according to weighted criteria:

Strategic Scoring 2.png

Multi-dimensional view

The results are often viewed in combination:

Project Portfolio Benefit Measurement over 2 Dimensions 3.png

In the example above, Project1 , which is neither strategically nor financially attractive, is the least likely to run. Project4 costs a lot, but is strategically interesting. Project5 is of no strategic importance, but financially attractive. Project3 is both strategically and financially attractive.

Nonlinear optimization against a constraint (a constraint)

Various factors can limit an organization's ability to carry out projects, such as: B. Human resources, financial resources, technical restrictions, or the need not to overwhelm the organization's ability to control ongoing change.

In the following example, a selection is made from a list of 7 potential projects in a decision tree. Choices are limited by a budget of $ 10 million. Project selection remains within this limit at a total cost of $ 7,740,000 while offering the highest possible payoff of $ 2,710,000. All other combinations of projects would either produce a lower payoff or go over budget.

Project Investment Portfolio Occam s Tree.gif

Further tasks of the project portfolio management

Prevention of duplication of work

Especially in large organizations with many sub-organizations (e.g. business units) it can happen that projects with comparable goals are carried out in parallel without the portfolio managers knowing about it.

Standardization of project management procedures

In many organizations, a PMO ( Project Management Office ) ensures that project managers develop consistency in terms of things

  • Terminology and Glossary
  • Methods used
  • Forms, templates, tools
  • Communication and reporting
  • other elements of project management

Web links

  • [1] Computerwoche June 12, 2012: Advice on project management portfolio traps in project management

Individual evidence

  1. Bruno Jenny: Project Management: Knowledge for a Successful Career , Zurich 2003, p. 195