Interview: Project Portfolios

What is a project portfolio?

It is a collection of projects with some common element you care about.  For instance, you might have a collection of consulting projects.  Or a collection of in-house jobs.  Those collections are portfolios.

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Think of the portfolio as a packing crate.  Inside the crate are many projects.  But you can’t see them.  They are packed tightly inside.  All you can see is the crate… the portfolio.  So you manage the crate, not the contents.

What is project portfolio management?

Project portfolio management is handling entire collections of projects for the purposes of proper execution and education.

You are managing the whole collection, not just individual projects.  Your reporting, your graphing, your searches, and even setting status is done on the entire collection.  The portfolio is a ‘black box’.  You don’t look inside at the individual projects.  You don’t manage individuals, you manage the entire portfolio as if it were a packing crate.