From Project Management
to Management by Project,
or by Portfolio, to be precise
Where were we?
• Current Business Management techniques are based on
the learnings from the early days of 1900.
– We learned about divisions, marketing, brand management,
stock management, HR, workflow…
• Project Management evolved from large construction
and military initiatives from mid 1960 / 70 s to date.
– We learned to run projects, programmes, portfolios; we
learned to structure tasks and generate benefits
So what happened?
• At least twice in the last 100 years,
Business suffered, shrunk, almost halted.
• Are the roots of the current difficulties in
failures at project level?
• How many time we have come here to talk
about: “Why projects fail?”
• NO, the root causes are at business
management, governance and decision level.
Can the conventional management
structures survive the 21st century?
• I doubt very much that vertically integrated,
departmentalised classic company structures will
be with us much longer
• Large departments will tend to go towards pools
of skilled resources, forming cells / teams to
tackle specific tasks, achieve specific goals.
• The move towards “project based organisation”
will gather pace
Project based organisation?
– At enterprise business planning level, Project
Portfolio Management is probably the best tool to
select the best initiatives to fund and drive.
– At delivery level, Project Management techniques are
well placed to “make things happen” in an orderly
• Organisations have already started to move
towards concepts such as shared service centres,
outsourced services etc. This prepares the
ground for a pure project based organisation by
taking away the inevitable “administrative
• They will need to be even better organised to
respond to changes and downturns.
• The key to organisational agility relies on a number of
– Decision agility
– Execution agility
• Decision agility requires a transparent decision
making mechanism that is dynamic (PPM)
• Execution agility requires multi-skilled and flexible
work force (project based teams). They usually benefit
from a mixture of internal and external resources.
So, changes on two fronts?
• At decision / strategy level Portfolio based
management (PPM at board level)
• At delivery structure / operational level
project based teams
• The above will be strengthen by the extensive
use of the collaboration tools (semi-virtual
Opportunities and flip side
• Porting the good practices of project and
portfolio management from its current space
(project world) to Business world is an
advantage for project professionals
• This will bring a healthy level of rigor, discipline,
scrutiny and governance to business decisions
• Project portfolio professionals will need to lead
the move and act as the champions of this
Portfolio-centric approach to
• Establish a portfolio of all change activities that
compete for resources within the company. This
should not be limited to new products, or IT
initiatives. It should include new infrastructure
and even facilities.
• Apply portfolio optimisation and strategic
alignment techniques by running scenarios.
• Prepare pools of talent to execute the projects in
Project based Organisation
Business Units Shared services
Project team 1
Project team 2
Project team n
PPM, balancing act under pressure
Pressure to change Resistance to change
Portfolio-centric Management Process
Enterprise budget Benefit
How easy is it?
• It requires vision and determination
• It requires ownership and drive
• It requires courage
– But, when the turnaround options narrow
dangerously, somehow courage emerges!
• It is much better to change to an agile
organisation before hitting the buffers.
• THANK YOU
( we all need some these days!)