This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is Copyright Harvey A. Levine © 2005.
It is based on material in his latest book: Project Portfolio Management, A Practical Guide to Selecting Projects, Managing Portfolios, and Maximizing Benefits, Jossey-Bass, July 2005.
Published here November 2005.

Introduction | Not Any More | The Emergence of Project Portfolio Management
Bridging the Gap Between Operations Management and Projects Management
The Traditional Organization 
Bridging the Gap Between Portfolio Planning and Portfolio Management
The Role of the Governance Council | The Project Portfolio Life Span
Project Portfolio Management as a HUB | The Last Word

The Project Portfolio Life Span

Perhaps the strongest way to delineate the differences between project management (PM) and project portfolio management (PPM) is to look at the true life span of projects within the PPM environment. We usually consider the life span of a project to be from authorization to delivery. In some models, we start earlier - with a proposal.

With PPM, this life span is expanded, on both ends. According to Max Wideman, the Project Portfolio Life Span (PPLS) consists of the following phased components:

  1. Identification of needs and opportunities
  2. Selection of best combinations of projects (the portfolios)
  3. Planning and execution of the projects (project management)
  4. Product launch (acceptance and use of deliverables)
  5. Realization of benefits

Looking at this model, you can see that the purview of the project office is concentrated on item 3. The expansion of the life span and scope to include all five items requires the involvement and leadership of the executive side of the organization and the development of a portfolio governance culture, processes and tools.

First three steps of the PPLS (courtesy of Max Wideman)
First three steps of the PPLS (courtesy of Max Wideman)
The Role of the Governance Council  The Role of the Governance Council

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