Marco GerussiMarco Gerussi Project Portfolio – Hype and More

11/15/2007 by Marco Gerussi

After the acquisition of Mercury HP has changed the product name of Mercury ITG to HP Project Portfolio Management Center, HP PPM. Dieter Steiger criticized this new naming already in his blog “Lifecycle Management – HP BTO makes it happen!”.

Unfortunately, by changing the name of their Software Suite to HP Project and Portfolio Management Center (HP PPM), HP have removed the reference to the true strength of their product from its name. Therefore, the name situates the product only in reference to one Gartner IT quadrant : Project & Portfolio Management (PPM), while the former name Mercury IT Governance (Mercury ITG) reflected very well how strong the product is.

So the question to raise is in how far HP PPM eventually supports the project portfolio.

What is a project portfolio?
The term portfolio is nowadays heavily used in many different industries and for different disciplines. Talking about portfolio is simply trendy, so it is used too often. Like that there are many types of portfolios: equity and stock portfolios, real estate portfolios product portfolios, customer portfolios and for sure project portfolios. For this reason it is important to clearly define the term project portfolio. Although there are many different interpretations there is one clear definition.

The set of all initiatives and projects
The project portfolio of an organization is the set of all its planned initiatives, active projects and programs. At the latest with the approval of a project or program it enters the project portfolio. After its official end it is retired from it. The project like that maps the overall project lifecycle of all different types of projects. This overall view allows for an optimized planning of all upcoming initiatives and projects.

Structured by criteria
A project portfolio is structured by multiple criteria. Budget, duration, subject area, owning department are examples of criteria often found. Key for categorization are often indicators like the project’s contribution to business goals, project’s estimated risk, project resources, financial measures (net present value, return on investment, cost reduction) or more qualitative measures like risk reduction, legal compliance needs or opening of a new business opportunity.

“Defined, a portfolio is a collection of projects and/or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate the effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives. The components of a portfolio are quantifiable; that is, they can be measured, ranked, and
prioritized” (Project Management Institute, The Standard for Portfolio Management , 2006, p. 4).

Clear structures and meaningful database
A project portfolio is qualified by its structure and database and it delivers decision criteria and instruments for project controlling. It is not compulsory that components of a portfolio are related. What they have always in common is a higher level strategy, prioritization and the contribution to the overall goal. Through the portfolio view it is possible at any time to understand why an initiative has been planned and executed.

HP PPM through its modules for Project Portfolio and Demand Management meets all these requirements and criteria, despite the fact that it offers a lot more functionality.

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