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March 2009
Leveraging Portfolio Management To Manage and Deliver Change
By T.J. Eberle

     Economic changes continue to evolve, creating new challenges and pressures to organizations and the individuals working for them. As a business leader, effectively managing change to weather the storm or simply survive has become paramount. While we can acknowledge change is a given, the real question is how to manage and deliver change that produces positive results.

      One of the best tools we use to effectively manage and deliver change is portfolio management. Ideally, this tool is supported by program management and project management. We’ll fight the buzzwords and agree upon some basic definitions.

      •Portfolio management is the practice of managing, aligning and optimizing multiple independent “programs” to improve an organization’s performance, with a focus on measurable investments and returns.

      •Program management is a standardized process of managing interdependent projects to deliver organizational / functional improvement.

      •Project management is a discipline of planning, organizing and managing resources to successfully achieve specific goals, objectives, milestones and deliverables. While program management is focused on selecting the right mix of projects, project management is focused on flawless project execution.

      In its simplest terms, think of portfolio management as a tall oak tree. It provides the roots for growth and serves as a strong foundation to deliver and manage change for an entire enterprise. Program management acts as the supporting limbs and branches, providing continuity and balance within a function or major process. Project management cultivates healthy foliage, ensuring consistent project execution and finite scope and duration.

      The adoption and integration of these practices is essential to managing and delivering change successfully within your organization. Effective strategies include:

Using techniques to focus on project-level execution by meeting goals, objectives, budgets, timelines, etc. in a manner that encourages and fosters the implementation of change.

      Leveraging program management tools and techniques to ensure linkage and alignment between projects and key elements of the organization in need of integration.

Employing portfolio management to analyze and report on the returns of change investments; this macro-level approach ensures that the change portfolio is managed effectively and delivers the desired outcomes.

      Within each of the three areas, there are many tools to tactically execute the change needed within your organization. The adoption of the portfolio management philosophy enables an organization to plan, execute, track and effectively manage and deliver change into an organization—a key ingredient to survival and expansion in difficult economic times.

      T.J. Eberle is president and CEO of NouvEON, a regional business and technology consulting firm. Contact him at 704-944-3155 or visit

T.J. Eberle is president and CEO of NouvEON, a regional business and technology cunsulting firm.
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