What Makes an Effective Portfolio Manager?



By Jeff Oltmann

Oregon, USA

If projects were a fleet of ships

Here’s one of my favorite analogies for how portfolio management, project management, and strategy development fit together.

If projects were a fleet of ships

  1. Each ship must be in good working order (project management)
  2. All ships must coordinate with each other (portfolio management)
  3. All ships must follow the flagship (strategic alignment)

Portfolio managers put people first

Effective portfolio management puts people front and center. It’s ultimately about helping people make good decisions about projects across organizational silos.  Here are some ideas to stay focused on people.


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How to cite this article: Oltmann, J. (2024).  What Makes an Effective Portfolio Manager? PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/pmwj139-Mar2024-Oltmann-What-Makes-an-Effective-Portfolio-Manager.pdf

About the Author

Jeff Oltmann

Oregon, USA


Jeff Oltmann is a seasoned leader with over 30 years of experience advising clients, managing successful technology programs, and developing new products. His specialties include strategy deployment, operational and project excellence, and project portfolio management. As principal consultant at Synergy Professional Services, Jeff advises leaders and teams in diverse sectors including healthcare, research, bioscience, and technology product development.

Jeff is the founder of the Portfolio and Project Leaders Forum.  He is also on the graduate faculty of the Division of Management at Oregon Health and Science University and was previously on executive staff at IBM.    He teaches portfolio, program, and project management and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).

Jeff welcomes your questions and ideas.  You can contact him at jeff@spspro.com or read previous articles at www.spspro.com/article-library.