The Four Pillars of Portfolio Management



Book Title:  The Four Pillars of Portfolio Management: Organizational Agility, Strategy, Risk, and Resources         
Author:  Olivier Lazar
Publisher:  CRC Press
List Price:   $79.95
Format:  Hardcover, 169 pages
Publication Date: October 2018   
ISBN: 9781138601321
Reviewer: B. K. Gamble, MBA, PMP, PHR
Review Date: July 2019




The basic premise of Olivier Lazar’s book is his description of the four pillars of Portfolio Management: Organizational Agility, Strategy, Risk, and Resources. Prior to reviewing each of the four pillars, the author introduces and describes the differences between Projects, Programs, and Portfolios. Throughout the book, Olivier consistently contrasted the differences between Projects, Programs, and Portfolios and how they interact with each other.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Chapter 2 provides the context of Portfolio Management. In this chapter, Olivier identifies the following levels: strategic, operational, project, program, and governance layers. This chapter provides a clear explanation of the differences between Projects, Programs, and Portfolios.

Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 provide a detailed review and tools for each of the four pillars of Portfolio Management in greater detail: Organizational Agility, Your Organization’s Strategy, Risk, and Resource Demand Planning.

Chapter 7 (Managing Your Portfolio) introduces the Portfolio Roadmap as the essential planning tool for pacing the various components within your portfolio. Olivier stresses the importance of maintaining alignment of the portfolio with the organization’s strategy.

Chapter 8 (Evolution and Future Developments in Portfolio Management) provides a look into the future of how artificial intelligence (AI) will automate many of the project management activities that are usually performed by the PMOs.

Chapter 9 (Conclusion) notes the importance of using our limited human resources in a way that creates real value. How a company treats its human resources and considers them in the value creation process is the true competitive advantage for an organization.

The book provides a table of figures as well as a lexicon of terms the author uses throughout the book.


Olivier did a great job of defining and providing good examples of Portfolio Management, Program Management, and Project Management throughout the book. The author stressed the importance of having a governance layer in place to support and integrate all the levels (Portfolio, Program, and Project) into a single framework.

The role of Portfolio Management is to translate the organizational strategy into a plan and execute this plan through the various programs and projects. Portfolio Management provides the connection between the operational and tactical layers and the human resource management layers in the organization.

Portfolio Management also provides the channel through which the strategy will be made visible, understandable, and shared throughout the entire organization and even outside the organization. The author makes it clear that the strategy has to be made public. Everyone in the company must be aware of the strategic vision and the strategy. The strategic vision is what drives people and what commits and engages them.

In Chapter 2 (Context of Portfolio Management), Olivier explained the differences and the pros and cons of three different organizational structures: functional, projectized, and matrix in the context of Portfolio Management.


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About the Reviewer

B.K. Gamble, MBA, PMP, PHR

Kerrville, Texas, USA




B.K. Gamble is currently the HR Training and Development Manager for a non-profit operating foundation in the Texas Hill Country and is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI Alamo Chapter). B.K.’s career was focused in the Information Technology arena for over 25 years; she jumped on the Project Management band wagon 15 years ago.

B.K. has a B.S. in Computer Science, a M.B.A. in Information Systems, and has held the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification since 2001. She recently acquired the PHR certification. B. K. has varied interests but considers herself to be a “life-long” learner and seeks opportunities to improve herself by learning new skills and serving others.

She can be contacted at www.linkedin.com/in/bkgamble


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