Portfolio Management Techniques and Tools


Boosting Organisational Value Through Smarter Portfolio Management


By Iain Fraser

New Zealand



As a core principle, ‘simplicity’ needs to be at the forefront of approaches. Unfortunately, all too often we see over-enthusiastic practitioners being very busy creating lots of process-orientated material that does not assist the performing group(s) nor the organisation. So, from my perspective and experience, I offer the following principles:

  • Value management is adopted as a framework and used as the guiding framework for crafting portfolio content.
  • Expert judgement is used to support all decision making throughout portfolio development (but only if you have the right levels of capability).
  • Some form of categorization of portfolio types and components is used e.g. value themes and types.
  • Use prioritization models that have weighted criteria for content scoring and selection.
  • Use integrated systems for performance analysis that combine data from corporate finance systems, portfolio management systems and operations systems.
  • Use balanced scorecard and other graphical performance reporting systems, such as bubble graphs, trending graphs, and pie charts are used to convey key organizational performance data.

Investment Complexity Assessment

By analyzing and scoring each of six elements, a view of the level of complexity can be gained from any proposed investment. This allows good input towards planning associated with enabling, identifying, balancing, measuring and changing process elements for each portfolio. The scoring of complexity also provides useful information towards selection and allocation of suitable skill sets, as well as an indicator of the likely time periods required for Value Capture.

Prioritization and Selection Tool

A weighted matrix tool can be utilized to usefully collate various sources of both opex and capex proposed initiatives. This can be adapted to suit your own organization, but I’d suggest that you retain the degree of simplicity that is intended. The use of value management workshops allows robust dialogue around options, as well as more informed decisions on investment option taking.

Portfolio Software Systems

Software systems can provide a summary or ‘bird’s-eye’ view of portfolio management activity, allowing the identification of, for example, portfolio problems, program blockages and even project issues. Some software tools allow for the allocation and spreading of resources across portfolios and for keeping a high-level view on each portfolio’s progress.  Portfolio and program of work management tools should be integrated, so that supporting infrastructure facilitates seamless communication/exchange between the systems, for data collection, tracking and reporting, etc. to prevent rework and unnecessary duplication.


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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 Project Management: Portfolio Management Techniques and Tools; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/pmwj97-Sep2020-Fraser-portfolio-management-techniques-and-tools-series-article3.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.