Mining the Value from Project Portfolio Management

A few weeks ago, I exchanged emails with a long-time friend and former colleague, Mike Menke who has led several bench-marking studies to identify best practices for deriving value from investments in project portfolio management (PPM). Mike’s studies focused on the practices of high-performing companies in consumer products, chemicals, oil & gas and pharmaceuticals/life sciences. As might be expected, given the nature of pharma/life science businesses, which manage large, risky investments over long-time periods, these organizations were among the best performing group, with all groups that manage R&D portfolios not far behind.

Menke’s database currently includes over 100 portfolio organizations, providing a sound foundation against which to assess the performance of new participants relative to those of leading PPM managers. The database is based on surveys and workshops held during 2013 and 2014 and continuously updated as additional organizations participate.

Highlights of the study include:

  • 50 best practices that drive PPM value creation
  • 12 practices rated high in importance with low average actualization, providing an opportunity to gain competitive advantage.
  • Organizations managing R&D portfolios generally rated high relative to the best practices, while organizations managing portfolios of IT projects were generally below average, indicating that IT portfolio management is ripe for improvement.
  • Primary areas for improvement include:
    • Assessing risk and using it in both project evaluation and portfolio analysis
    • Making sure that portfolio management results in clear decisions and resource allocation
    • Aligning portfolio management with project and program management

His firm, Value Creation Associates, currently offers a package that includes a detailed assessment questionnaire, analysis and telephone discussion and presentation that reviews findings and makes recommendations. Persons interested in participating in the study (PPM Accelerate 2015) can obtain full details by contacting

For organizations interested in assessing and managing the capabilities of their organizations to create higher value through strategic portfolio management, I heartedly recommend participation in Mike Menke’s PPM Accelerate 2015 program.