Monday, August 22, 2016

The 6 Principles of Strategic Portfolio Management: Inclusive, Collaborative Process

By: Don Creswell, Co-founder and Vice President, SmartOrg Inc.

While many companies do a reasonably decent job of involving project managers and department heads in making decisions that will affect their teams, the process of portfolio management for some companies has focused on the needs of the C-suite executives and management first. Decisions that affect the teams working on project may be made behind closed doors with little thought put into how those decisions would impact those teams. Access to the data that is used to make decisions is limited to a privileged few, and project leaders are then handed these decisions, given no voice in the process and given the daunting task of disseminating them to their teams, whether anyone likes it or not. By handling portfolio management in this way, stakeholders, project managers – and, indeed, all participants – are left feeling disconnected and disenfranchised from the process. The work is often viewed as large-scale drudgery and overall morale I s negatively impacted.

In the strategic portfolio management model, key stakeholders participate in the process and have a voice. Those people who are most invested in the decisions and motivated to seek the best possible results find the process useful in guiding their work. And the rationale of the final decisions that was made is stored (rather than ignored) and becomes a repository of knowledge for supporting ongoing decisions throughout development and commercialization. It’s the difference between facts and knowledge and it has a profound effect on every aspect of a company’s operations.

Strategic portfolio management process and the software that supports it, creates a forum for all stakeholders to participate and for the decision-making process and strategy to be communicated openly. All participants have a voice and are able to contribute to the final decision, which promotes individual investment in the outcome. An inclusive process is understood by all, eliminates paralysis through analysis and reliance on spreadsheets that need to be reworked and intelligible.

You want everyone who will be impacted by the outcome of your decision-making process to benefit from it. The more involvement that stakeholders have in the process, the more infested they will be in implementing decisions and the more likely they will be to engage in ensuring success.

This is the sixth in a series of blogs on The Six Principles of Strategic Portfolio Management. Subsequent blogs will address each of the six principles in detail. For further information about SPM processes and decision-support software, visit or contact

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