Projects Programs and Portfolios

What is the Relationship Between Projects Programs and Portfolios? 


Project management has three P’s, which are projects programs and portfolios. What is the relationship between the three P’s? There are significant differences between project, program and portfolio management. However, they must align with or be compelled by a company’s strategies. The three P’s provide different options for reaching goals. 

About Portfolio Management 

A portfolio contains a collection of projects formed to reach a company’s goals. An organization’s project collection can be created for the whole company or for one of a company’s divisions. 

Projects are temporary ventures that feature a start period and an end date. A project is the development of a new service or a product. An example of a project would be a car company developing a new vehicle model. In this case, vehicle designers would be tasked with developing the look of the vehicle while the mechanics would need to develop the engine. 


About Program Management 

A program is several projects that are related to one another or similar. Program managers oversee these projects in a way that’s coordinated to reach a particular goal. 

Program management requires managers to assess and oversee different projects. They do this to determine the best strategy for their organization. Program managers must be comfortable making changes when needed. 

Program management gives companies the ability to bring several projects together. They do this to combine costs, optimize the schedule and operate more efficiently. 

Managers should be able to determine the best approach for overseeing projects. Program management features tasks like handling resource problems that may impact several projects. They must also align the organization’s strategic direction. 

About Project Management 

A project is a temporary venture that a project manager oversees to develop a product, result or service. Companies generally have several projects happening simultaneously. Along with this, projects have different needs and goals. 

Project management is applying the proper processes, skills, tools and techniques to successfully complete assigned goals. Practices for overseeing a project include: 

• Identifying a project’s scope and objectives 
• Determining the project’s deliverables 
• Planning 
• Communicating with team members and other departments 
• Keeping track and providing information on a project’s progress 
• Change management 
• Managing risks 

If you follow these project management practices, you are not guaranteed success, but they will help you achieve it. 

Working Together 

Project managers oversee various tasks in a project. Program managers coordinate the projects that are connected in a program. Portfolio managers handle all, or several, programs for a company. It is up to them to make sure that every program is heading toward the organization’s objectives. 

The Relationship Between Project, Program and Portfolio Management 

For an organization to work effectively, it’s important for the managers of projects programs and portfolios to understand what everyone’s tasks are. When managers don’t have this understanding, an organization may suffer from miscommunications and confusion. This may cause an initiative to fail. If you need help with the relationship between the three P’s, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute. 

This course is designed for Project and Program Managers, PMO Executives, Decision Makers, Consultants, Executives, and project team members who have been tasked with oversight, implementation, and the operations of their organization’s projects and portfolios. 

Projects Programs and Portfolios

Why is Projects, Programs, and Portfolios in Strategic Organizational Transformation Important


Projects programs and portfolios in strategic organizational transformation are important. They are important because they work together to ensure that a company reaches its strategic objectives. While each one has its own set of goals, aligning your projects, programs and portfolios makes your company more resistant to market shifts.

What Factors Impact Alignment?

A company’s projects determine its profitability. Projects are also what companies use to meet their goals. Many businesses establish a project management office (PMO). They do this to make sure that they are achieving their objectives. This division is also key in developing criteria for choosing projects that keep groups working toward the same goal.

Companies that use this type of strategy usually begin projects that provide a better Return on Investment (ROI). For project managers, the strategy makes sure that each of the projects aids their standing within their companies. This strategy also supports them when it’s time for a promotion.

If a project should fail to meet a company’s overall planning goals, then it would be a drain on its resources. The situation would also likely impact profits. This means that prioritizing and choosing a project is an important part of a portfolio’s strategic alignment.

Large and small organizations run differently in today’s economy than they did in the past. According to the Harvard Business Review(link), several decades ago, organizations typically dedicated 80% of their resources toward operations and 20% for projects. These days, that percentage has flipped.

Creating a Resource Distribution Strategy

For most projects programs and portfolios, resources tend to be limited. Once a company’s planning team has chosen a project and prioritized it, leadership must determine and distribute the proper resources to develop the project. Creating a resource distribution strategy is an important task, one that ensures that a company will be able to meet its goals. The task also works to maintain productivity.

When a company develops a resource distribution strategy, it will send important resources toward various projects instead of just focusing on one major project. A resource strategy will also help you avoid overloading your resources and possible conflicts.

If a company’s resources aren’t distributed properly, it may result in the company initiating more projects than it can handle. The company may wind up overwhelming its workforce and causing harm to employee performance and engagement levels.

As a PMO, it will up to you to determine project accountability and develop an oversight committee. This strategy helps different divisions align. A PMO’s job is to make sure that the company doesn’t begin new projects until the proper resources are available. Organizational transformation will help you create a consistent strategy.

The Benefits of Strategic Organizational Transformation

When you implement strategic organizational transformation within your business, you’ll be aligning the company’s different areas. With strategic alignment, a company can make the best use of its people, financial resources, and other assets. For guidance, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute.

Projects Programs and Portfolios

Expert Interview with Rich Maltzman


Today we are speaking with Rich Maltzman, PMP, co-author of several books on Project Management, including the Cleveland Award-winning Green Project Management, and most recently, Bridging the PM Competency Gap, co-written with Loredana Abramo, PMP.  The two co-authors offer assistance in PM competence building via their consultancy Continuous Learning Environment (CLE Advisors).

Loredana Abramo, PMP® Worked 25+ years in 4 continents, Deployment lead engineer, operations and services readiness manager, PMO deputy director, senior quality PgM

Rich Maltzman, PMP, has been an engineer since 1978 and a project management supervisor since 1988, including a two-year assignment in the Netherlands in which he built a team of PMs overseeing deployments of telecom networks in Europe and the Middle East. His project work has been diverse, including projects such as the successful deployment of the entire video and telecom infrastructure for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and the 2006 integration of the program management offices (PMOs) of two large merging corporations. As a second, but intertwined career, Rich has also focused on consulting and teaching, having developed curricula and/or taught at:

  • Boston University
  • Merrimack College
  • Northern Essex Community College
  • University of Massachusetts– Boston
  • Clark University
  • Benedictine University’s Asia Institute (Shenyang University of Technology)

Rich has also professionally developed project management professional (PMP®) exam prep courseware, including exams and books. He even edited and was “the voice” for a set of eight audio CDs—a major part of a PMP prep course for an international company, for whom he has also facilitated PMP exam study groups. Rich was selected for the modeling team for the fourth edition of the PMBOK® Guide published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and contributed to the chapters on quality and risk in both the 4th and 5th Edition, and provided input for the 6th Edition as well.

Rich has written and presented papers at international conferences of PMI and IPMA (International Project Management Association), and the Conference Board in South Africa, The Netherlands, Costa Rica, and Mexico City as well as the PMI Congresses in North America.  He also presented, on request of the Government of Malaysia, at their Green Technology conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2013.

Rich’s educational background includes a BSEE from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, and an MSIE from Purdue University. In addition, Rich has a mini-MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a master’s certificate in international business management granted jointly from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and INSEAD of France.  Rich received his PMP in 2000 and was certified by Change Catalysts as a CQ Certified Change Management Professional in 2015.

Rich has co-authored two other books – Green Project Management (CRC Press, ©2010, Cleland Award Winner) with David Shirley, PMP, and Project Workflow Management with Dan Epstein, in 2014.  A new book, Driving Sustainability Success in Projects, Programs and Portfolios, published in October 2015 by CRC Press.  J. Ross will be publishing another book, co-authored by Rich and with Loredana Abramo, PMP in late 2016, Bridging the PM Competency Gap.

Rich blogs regularly at and at “People, Planet, Profits, and Projects”, in the “Perspectives” section of, a PMI web site.

Projects Programs and Portfolios

Interview with Stuart Easton – Strategic Alignment Really Matters! 


Stuart Easton is the CEO of TransparentChoice and is a veteran of the software space. His background includes stints working on reporting and data analytics and he is passionate about improving business outcomes for his customers. Stuart lives in the UK and enjoys hiking, mountain biking and playing with his kids. This recording will be our 3rd discussion, and we have a lot to chat about, so let gets started.

Projects Programs and Portfolios

Expert Interview with Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez


Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is the world’s leading champion of project management and strategy implementation.

Born in Madrid, Spain, and educated in Germany, Mexico, Italy and the United States, Antonio is an Economists and has an MBA from London Business School, currently pursuing a PhD in Strategy and is fluent in five languages.

He is the creator of concepts such as the Hierarchy of Purpose, or the Project Manifesto; which argues that projects are the lingua franca of the business and personal worlds from the C-suite to managing your career or relationships.

Antonio has been recently awarded the title of Thinker of the Month by the prestigious Thinkers50, who identifies the most influential management thinkers in the world, including Michael Porter, Clayton Christensen, Rita McGrath.

Website & Book:

Projects Programs and Portfolios

Building Project, Program and Portfolio Management Capabilities


In modern times, organizations must oversee projects within ever more complicated environments, ones that are motivated by regulatory changes and business restructuring. Effective project management professionals are able to realize projects under these challenging conditions. To do so, they must employ successful project management practices. Here’s how to build project, program and portfolio management capabilities. Keep in mind that insights and trends may have an impact on your processes.  

About Project Portfolio Management 

Project portfolio management (PPM) is a practice in which a company’s projects are assessed and put in place in a way that aligns with the organization’s goals. With PPM, a company’s executive team, project supervisors, regular team members and stakeholders receive an extensive view of the organization’s projects. This includes how every participant plays a role in the company’s directives and intentions. 

With this information, project managers gain insight into the company’s possible returns and potential risks. When an organization uses PPM, those in charge will separate the company’s projects into different groups according to importance and how they connect to one another. 

The organization’s programs and projects should be a part of a portfolio strategy, one overseen by the company’s portfolio management professionals to make sure that it meets the organization’s goals. PPM should also align the company’s implementation techniques with how it manages projects, creates policies and develops processes. 

What are PPM’s Benefits? 

PPM benefits include: 

• More project transparency 
• Better capacity planning 
• Improved productivity 
• Increased dexterity 
• Higher return on investment (ROI) 

Project Transparency 

PPM increases a company’s successfulness. When you embrace PPM, your organization will have clear goals. It will also be able to take advantage of big-picture thinking. PPM allows your staff to accomplish goals and understand how different projects, programs and portfolio management are linked to the company’s vision and general purpose. 

Better Capacity Planning 

Capacity planning depends on how effective project management professionals implement a company’s strategies and connect its resources to its goals. One of the biggest problems that most organizations face is wasting resources. Companies that embrace PPM are less likely to waste resources because they can make sure that they are distributed according to importance and properly implemented to reach the organization’s goals. 

Increased Productivity 

When project managers convey the importance of developing value, they are more likely to improve an organization’s productivity. Team members who understand how their jobs help a company reach its main goals typically work harder. They also focus more on the quality of their work. 

Boosted Dexterity 

Companies that align project tasks with implementation tend to be more dexterous. The alignment makes it easier for project managers to handle change and shift according to any opportunities that may come up or problems that arise. 

Higher ROI 

When an organization’s goals are clear and understood by every employee, resource management improves. This boosts productivity and dexterity. PPM improves a company’s ROI in all of its projects. By using PPM, an organization’s investments will be more beneficial. They will also put the company on more sound footing going forward. 

An Example of How PPM Works 

Let’s say that your company has 30 projects in the hopper. Each one overlaps since some have been ordered by the same customer, and your company is using the same resources to develop all of them. Some of the projects will cover your organization’s overhead while others may bring in more clients. You may even have projects that you’ve agreed to perform to develop new products or services. As a project manager, how can you make sure that you’re focusing your staff and their tasks on the right objectives? Ask yourself a few questions.

• Is the idea a good one?
• Is this something that we should be doing as an organization?
• What is the best way to concentrate the organization’s resources most efficiently?
• What projects take priority?
• How can the company manage the different projects concurrently while turning a profit? 

PPM will help you answer these questions. When an organization is large and has various competing projects along with priorities that pull its resources into different directions, effective PPM helps project managers avoid making poor decisions that result in a negative ROI. 

What Else Does Projects Programs and Portfolios Management Offer?

Project, program and portfolio management also offers you more success when it comes to project delivery. You’ll find it easier to prioritize critical projects, and it will help you avoid spending too much while eliminating inefficiencies. 

Projects almost always run the risk of causing an organization to overspend. With PPM, you’ll be able to spot overspending fast and curtail it. PPM reveals where and how resources are being wasted. 

PPM helps companies with organizational change management. When you have a good PPM in place, your company can make changes and improve how it completes projects. You can take advantage of this by making changes to your organization’s overall direction. 

Consider a Different Approach to Manage Insights and Trends 

These days, many companies are switching to a digital format. This allows you to decrease how much you’re spending for on-premises infrastructure. However, you’ll need to increase your spending on off-premises operations and advanced technologies. To accomplish this, portfolio management professionals will need to work with business leaders and resource supervisors to balance funds over various internal and external operations. 

These changes are forcing organizations to track work tasks in real time. Project delivery also needs to be faster and more flexible, so you may need to invest in portfolio management software. This helps project managers plan, implement and track the progress of different projects. 

Management Support  

Projects programs and portfolios are complex areas of business management. With the right tools, you can implement PPM effectively. If you need support, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute.