What Is The Difference Between Project Management And Portfolio Management?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
2 years ago

Nowadays, businesses are keen on certain techniques that enable them to streamline operations and successfully implement key projects. Accomplishments of such is essential for the effectiveness of any service-based environment. Because of that, most companies make use of either portfolio or project management solutions. What do those entities mean, and do they have any differences? Let’s find out!

What is Project Management?

Project Management Institute defines project as “a temporary effort to create value through a unique product, service or result”. Additionally, we can say it is a planned attempt of enterprise that is set to be done to achieve the desired outcome. It requires certain skills, as you must meet specified objectives and operate with the resources available at a given time. Those responsible for performing such lead projects, manage teams and ensure the efficiency and high standard of all works. They must assess procedures, select only the appropriate ones and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure anticipated benefits are attained. When project management is done the right way, both parties grow and advance, with companies gaining a competitive edge over their opposition.

What is Portfolio Management?

In contrast to the mentioned above, portfolio management is an overview of all initiatives that a company is pursuing to achieve strategic objectives. They can be spread either across the whole business, its department or a particular unit. The main goal of such a solution is to ensure the right selection, which is why most owners take on only a selected number of projects each year. As for the portfolio program and the tasks that need to be done, they include:

  • prioritizing works
  • tracking analytics
  • managing the financial aspects
  • anticipating possible inconveniences with solutions.

Those responsible for portfolio management have to pay special attention to what is appropriate in a given time and will be the most beneficial for the business. What is more, they must look through every project and see how it is executed, if it can be improved and whether it brings the desired benefits.

How are Project and Portfolio Management different?

As mentioned before, even though sound similar, project and portfolio management are quite different. The first is oriented toward a specific period, thus unique, while the latter remains ongoing and involves coherent objectives. Projects after the deadline are no more, portfolios however, go on through the year. What is more, the responsibilities of executives also vary. Those in charge of a single project focus mainly on the details of it, periodically reviewing the situation, and looking for new, effective strategies. In contrast, a portfolio manager takes on a broader view, prioritizing objectives that are above others and, finally, seeking only advantages to a specified business. Even though the plans vary, in the end, both project and portfolio management have one common goal, ensuring the success of companies.

What about Project Portfolio Management?

Contrary to project management, project portfolio management is a procedure intended to expedite an organization’s growth by combining initiatives, thus enhancing the profit margin. The aim is to rank and approve them, assessing both advantages and disadvantages. Such initiatives are set to be measured and, if necessary, appropriately corrected. Due to such, project portfolio management tools usually come in with built-in templates for data interpretation and analysis of the performance. Users are given access to metrics such as project status, alignment, risk and schedules. When you use project portfolio management software, your organization gains complete control of each initiative, making it easy to manage both present and upcoming ones. To close up, if you want a narrower focus on leading a single initiative, simple project management will be ideal. However, for more of a larger scope of choosing, implementing and carrying out successful inventions, it will not be enough. In such a case, deciding on portfolio project management is the bull’s eye. But be aware that no accomplishments come without hassle. As Robert Collier once said: “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out”.

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