Implementing PPPM: A Top-Down Approach is Best

Project/Program Portfolio Management (PPPM)
By PH Lohnes, PMP

Understanding the perspectives and differences between the three levels of PPPM, the logical follow through is to investigate the most appropriate method for instantiating an effective PPPM environment within an organization. Regardless of how much of a PPPM structure exists within your organization, it may require significant realignment or alterations to effect the benefits a properly designed PPPM environment can provide.

First, the linkage between the different levels must have their creation in the PPPM vision that can only be defined from the advantage point of the “C-level” team members: CEO, COO, CIO, CTO, etc. The members of this executive and authority-residing group are the organizational resources tasked with both defining and executing the strategic perspective for the organization usually in the form of mission or vision statements, strategic directives, KSI (key strategy initiatives) and many others. Thus, the vision of the PPPM or PPPM maturity roadmap, as I call it, is a top level definition of the direction, milestones, and timelines that the organization will support by implementing a PPPM environment focused towards the achievement of its benefits.

Second, to correctly align and manage the PPPM environment, a top-down approach from the PPPM maturity roadmap should be utilized. Why a top-down approach? Simply, if the project level is correctly implemented, the project management resources are focused on optimization which would, without direction and consistency, denigrate into a “one-off” approach where each project would be managed according to the project manager’s experience or skills. Optimization leads to customization, customization leads to higher development, implementation, and maintenance costs. A top-down approach where the organizational vision is clearly understood, clearly articulated in the production of common artifacts, templates, and forms so that each program and project does not have to initiate from a blank slate.

Finally, the dissemination of a common vision via common processes, procedures, and artifacts provides the foundation for a meaningful measurement environment where metrics have a cross-activity capability supporting accurate comparisons and trending analysis. Without a common foundation, metrics cannot be vetted or applied in a consistent manner for monitoring and management of the entire PPPM implementation.

The top-down approach is the most effective solution for disseminating an organization-wide PPPM framework based on the PPPM vision. In subsequent posts, I will discuss how to design a PPPM vision (a maturity roadmap) once understanding the characteristics of PPPM maturity is obtained.

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