The root causes of portfolio pain: failure to manage decisions

After responding to some correspondence about my recent “First, clean your closet” blog I reread this nice article on Portfolio Pain Points by Carrie Nauyalis and Maureen Carlson of Planview. A graphic from their article, lists primary portfolio pain points.

The most common portfolio pain is “Too many projects for our resources.” Is this a cause or a symptom?
Other pain points such as “Decisions that go back and forth and get made late or ineffectively” or “Politics dominating the decision process” could well be the cause of “too many projects for our resources” suggesting that an inability to manage decision making creates the pain.
The same could be said of “No consistent and transparent way to measure the value of projects” and “Inability to address risk and uncertainty in a disciplined manner.”
So having a lot of pain around “Too many projects for our resources” doesn’t mean you need to manage your resources or your projects better—that would be a fool’s errand, like treating a disease by only treating the symptoms. Rather, it means you need to manage your decision making process better and get control of which projects you say “yes” and “no” to, preferably within a portfolio context.