This series of papers has been developed from our work in upgrading TenStep's PortfolioStep™. For more information on TenStep's internal consulting methodology, please visit http://

Published here October, 2007.

PART 1 | PREPARE Phase, Steps 1 & 2 | PLAN Phase, Steps 3 & 4
PLAN Phase, Steps 5 & 6 | EXECUTE Phase, Steps 7 & 8
HARVEST Phase, Steps 9 & 10 | PART 3

HARVEST Phase, Steps 9 & 10

Step 9 - Report on Portfolio Status (Reporting & Review)

It is one thing to report on the progress of individual work and individual projects, but with a large portfolio this results in a lengthy and often too detailed report. In any case, what senior executives or senior management will want to know is how the overall portfolio is progressing, what results are being achieved, what the overall portfolio picture looks like, and so on. In short, are the various benefit enablers being achieved, and if so, what results are they currently returning?

Put another way: What is the status of our strategic goal achievement, asset contribution, current corporate risk profile, and our corporate resource capability? Answers to these questions may well lead to some modification of the authorized and activated work, and the need for further review and re-forecasting.

Step 10 - Improve the Portfolio (Benefits & Change)

Over the longer term, that is, annually when products and other benefit enablers have been launched and the harvesting of benefits commenced, the results of the Portfolio process can be collected. These results should be fed back from Operations to the Executive for information and to the Steering Committee for thorough examination and analysis. These results should enable you to assess the effectiveness of the portfolio process and propose changes to improve the whole cycle in the future.

Some of these changes may even imply or require changes in the Executive vision and strategy. Other changes may be focused on how the process itself is conducted but nevertheless involve any of the three main parts of the organization, the Executive, Project Management, and Operations.

For example, you have established a Portfolio Management Process and in its second year you have gained experience of the process in the organization and are ready with changes to detailed procedures and guidelines designed to improve process effectiveness. You have also identified opportunities to improve efficiencies in project management, by inviting that group to adopt a common project management methodology (not the same as the technology management methodology.

However, you feel that expected benefits are not being realized to their full potential because of weaknesses in product launches, marketing, selling, training, support, and so on. From the table Figure 1 you can see that these shortcomings are essentially the responsibilities of Executive management and Operations. You will need to make a carefully documented case of how the portfolio process can be improved overall, and who must be responsible, if the organization is to reap the full benefits of its project work investments.

Portfolio Management Flexibility

We must emphasize that all the steps described above do not necessarily have to be strictly sequential. Management is often an iterative exercise and so you must exercise judgment as to how far you go with each step and in what order, to make the whole system work together.

Coming Next

In Part 3 we will examine the nature of Projects, Programs, Portfolios and Strategic Direction.

EXECUTE Phase, Steps 7 & 8  EXECUTE Phase, Steps 7 & 8

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