Project/Program Portfolio Management (PPPM)
By PH Lohnes, PMP
Dealing with discipline was a large hurdle especially if you have found that you are working for an organization that does not enforce discipline. When asked about what one can do in such a situation, I gave the only answer I have given over the years — find another organization! While this may be drastic in nature, unless one is a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) it is very difficult if not nigh impossible to deploy discipline as a management priority. You will save more time and much of your emotional well-being by simply realizing that your current association is not going to see the value of discipline or they would have done it before now.
The PPPM component of discussion in this post is a simple one, one that we can handle after the previous post’s more arduous journey: training. While I say simple, training is none the less important in order to provide the educational and understanding foundation on which the entire PPPM vision and roadmap will rest. Project managers are not taught PPPM principles of any value in either their formal education or during their path towards certification. It is not a context that many find of value to teach beginning project managers. So we will discuss it here.
Training is necessary at all levels of the organization regardless of title or position — a fact that is lost on many in the SLT. Many believe that once you are a member of that rarified team (the C* team), you know everything or else you would not be in those positions. This is a very debilitating position and often leads to ignorant or worse, weak SLT members. The venue of training must fit the audiences’ time and demeanor meaning that training for the SLT team cannot take the form of full day seminars, but must be done in smaller bits and pieces. My favorite training for senior types is the “brown bag lunch” type seminar where the STL members are able to interact in a setting that does not resemble a training session which might have dissuaded some of the team from attending.
The content of the training should match the components of that period’s PPPM roadmap. The training sessions should be short and offered at the same time each week or every other week. There should be exercises, case studies, and group discussions. If you have full teams attending, providing group exercises would be very appropriate for roadmap contexts as well as supporting team building. A seasoned facilitator familiar with the needed learning objectives should be utilized to constitute the most benefits from the events.
Finally, the training should be recorded for use in later time periods and different audiences in addition to being digitally archived for access via internal data nets. Also, the training attendance and completion should be maintained in personnel records for reporting and tracking efforts.
In the next post, the PPPM component of implementations will be detailed and placed in context with the other components.