International IT Portfolio Management 2015

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During November 26 and 27 2015, I was attending the international IT project portfolio conference near Cologne organized by the Leaders Contact.

It was a great opportunity for me to benchmark our level of maturity with other organizations and to get a feeling what are currently the biggest challenges for them. 

Portfolio Management is driven by challenges from the market, for example by cost pressure or to the contrary when new market opportunities arise that have to be addressed quickly. These challenges triggering the creation of new strategies or modification of already existing ones. Projects are here the vehicle to bring these strategies to life and portfolio management is supporting to focus on the right and best projects.

A common challenge that the portfolio managers are confronted is the governance of the corresponding processes. Even these processes already exist and are implemented into the organization the management is not always adhering to them. This is a sign that the value of portfolio management is not fully recognized by the leaders and a necessary next step is to focus more on benefit management within the portfolio management processes.

I therefore led a roundtable discussion on how benefit realization can be established in the project organization. We were not able to find a general solution and guidance but the participants came across with some good ideas that are worth to be followed up. We had a common understanding that the project sponsor is accountable for the benefit of a project. To show the realized benefit a tracking system with KPIs must be set in place. For financial benefit this can be done in the accounting system by implementing corresponding business intelligence systems. More complicated are non-financial benefits where special dashboard has to be developed and used. One great idea was to include – if possible – the tracking in the ITIL processes by updating the corresponding reports.

So I see there is still a lot to do but the need is for benefit management and realization is there, hence I am already looking forward to the next year inside portfolio management conference. Hopefully with a lot of follow-ups.