This paper was received for publication by email from stephen.rietiker@
It is copyright to Stephen Rietiker, 2007.
Published here July 2007.

Introduction | Reality Check | Pros and Cons of the PMI Standard 
A Vital Omission | A Broader View of PPM Processes | Key Points
Next Steps - Finalizing the Processes

Stephen Rietiker has over 17 years experience in management consulting and IT auditing. He worked for Coopers & Lybrand, PricewaterhouseCoopers and since 2002 for IBM Global Business Services in the strategy & change practice. While being a generalist with broad experience in management and strategy of IT, organization design and process management, he has specialized in improving the corporate strategy implementation capability. He is a frequent congress speaker and author of a book on "project-conscious management". He can be reached at or via


Some years ago, we developed Project Portfolio Management (PPM) processes for a client. In order to validate these processes in late 2006 against newer and more sophisticated material, we dived into the literature, searched the Internet, and reviewed material from within IBM. To our surprise, the result was quite disappointing. While general talk of an introductory character, quality aspects and issues to be addressed, together with methods, tools and techniques such as prioritizing, are readily available, tangible processes are not.

Perhaps, the one exception is the "Standard for Portfolio Management" published by the Project Management Institute ("PMI") in May 2006. However, from our point of view, the standard's processes are incomplete. And since we also needed more hands-on processes stating not only the tasks at hand but also the roles and responsibilities involved in each process step, we still had to design our own processes. The result is a draft set of lean and maintainable PPM processes which are compliant with the KEY-9 Landscape. The Key-9 Landscape represents a broader model designed to cover the three dimensions of multiple management levels, required competencies, and the relation between temporary and permanent organizations relating to projects. Registered members of the KEY-9 community have been invited to contribute to the finalization of these processes as reviewer.

In fact, PPM has become a popular topic during the past few years, so there was no problem in getting appropriate input for process design; we also had our thoughts from a recent client project. Nevertheless, really good process descriptions are just not around, or at least we have not been successful in finding them! (If you think you have really good processes to offer, then please drop us a note).

In the end, we decided to reuse the material we had developed some time ago, although we adapted the content quite a bit and used a different modeling approach. This resulted in more practical process descriptions that we could crosscheck with PMI's "Standard for Portfolio Management".

This article is presented in four parts: A brief reality check of how PPM is applied in practice today; A discussion of the pros and cons of the PMI standard; The introduction of an alternative process model; and an invitation to review and contribute to the finalization of this process model.


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