Introduction, Overview, Enablers


Boosting Organisational Value Through Smarter Portfolio Management



By Iain Fraser

New Zealand




Back in 1785 internationally known Scottish poet Robert Burns used the words “the best laid plans of mice and men go oft agley”. Those words were used in a poem about a mouse and its vulnerable shelter it had built. Fast-forward a few hundred years and we see vulnerability everywhere today mostly associated with aspects of the VUCA influenced world. The COVID-19 global pandemic exposed our vulnerability hugely. Going forward new ways of business planning and implementing need to be deployed to safeguard value delivered to stakeholders. These new ways can and should revolve around the advanced use of portfolio management, in its most mature form, with a ‘way of doing business’ mantra to allow for better strategy development and its implementation. This series of articles introduces readers to modern business portfolio management and how it can help organizations and professionals deliver more value.

Overview of Portfolio Management

Modern business portfolio management has borrowed some of its philosophy from the finance sector, particularly around grouping and commonality. These groupings provide a viable and pragmatic business management mechanism for the development and implementation of strategies. This has long been an area that has troubled executives and senior managers in their quest for efficient and effective operational and tactical activity that aligns to their strategic intents. Portfolio management can be applied in a new investment manner as well as in a ‘business-as-usual’ manner. When portfolio management is coupled together with a value management framework a real mechanism results that positions portfolio at the right level to assist those involved in strategic business planning and oversees the downstream implementation. In this way portfolios typically exhibit common features, such as:

  • They are aligned with the organization’s strategic intent (think vision and purpose) and linked to its identified strategic goals and business objectives,
  • They represent investments via funding allocations made or intended by the organization,
  • They typically have one or more distinguishing features that prompts the organization to group them for more efficient management and control purposes,
  • The features are quantifiable; that is they can be ranked, prioritized and measured,
  • They should include relevant ‘business as usual’ (BAU) related work.

To be valued as an organizational performance enhancer, each portfolio must be overseen by a common and effective P3M governance structure that is empowered to authorize, guide, and change portfolio content and intention.


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Iain Fraser is a former Chair and Fellow of the Project Management Institute and a globally recognized PM expert and professional leader.  This series of articles on smarter portfolio management is based on Iain’s book “The Business of Portfolio Management: Boosting Organizational Value Through Portfolio Management” (PMI, 2017).

How to cite this paper: Fraser, I. (2020). Boosting Organizational Value Through Smarter Portfolio Management: Introduction, Overview, Enablers; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/pmwj95-Jul2020-Fraser-portfolio-management-introduction-overview-enablers-series-article2.pdf



About the Author

Iain Fraser

Scotland & New Zealand


 Iain Fraser, Dip PPC, PMP, MoP, P3M3, PMI Fellow, Fellow PMINZ has over 30 years of global business, portfolio, program of work, project, and EPMO leadership experience from a variety of sectors such as oil & gas, telecommunications, power, banking, defence, government and technology. He is globally known for his expertise and in-sights on leveraging benefits from project-based management for business advantage. A former CEO, he is now an independent consultant, speaker and trainer. He is considered a thought-leader by his peers, has been featured on live radio, video and podcasts and has been quoted in The Times and The Telegraph of the UK. He is the author of the top-selling business book ‘The Business of Portfolio Management— Boosting Organizational Value(PMI, 2017) and co-author ofThe Business of People: Leadership for the Changing World(Routledge, 2019) with Madeleine Taylor as well as other publications. More at www.jacobite.co.nz

Iain can be contacted at Iain.Fraser@jacobite.co.nz.

To view other works by Iain Fraser, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/iain-fraser/