Project Portfolio Management Strategy Guide​

In today’s business landscape, project portfolio management (PPM) has become an increasingly crucial practice for project-oriented firms. For those businesses looking into the approach, this Project Portfolio Management Strategy Guide aims to clarify the difference between project and portfolio management, cover PPM basics like methodologies and capabilities, and offer insights into effectively implementing PPM. Serving as a valuable resource for project teams, leaders, PMOs, and executives, it addresses challenges, provides an overview of PPM tools, and introduces the next step — Enterprise Project Portfolio Management.

There’s always another level up. For project portfolio management, this superior stage is enterprise project portfolio management. This key discipline integrates all people and activities enterprise-wide in a way that generates value.  

What is Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM)?

Unlike traditional PPM, which focuses on project delivery at the business level, enterprise PPM encompasses all projects, programs, and portfolios that are aligned with the organization’s strategic goals. In other words, EPPM incorporates PPM practices across an entire organization, not just specific projects or portfolios, to create a single enterprise management system. This way, EPPM offers C-Level stakeholders greater visibility into all their business and project investments. 

Importance and Benefits of Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

EPPM practices and tools enable leaders to pull back from traditional PPM to get comprehensive insight of project activities from a higher level.     Organizations that adopt EPPM successfully are more aligned on strategic objectives and effectively communicate key information to their stakeholders. This framework creates a synergy that offers enormous value to organizations of all shapes and sizes.    With the right EPPM processes in place, all team members obtain a reliable picture of what they should accomplish. This allows them to make educated decisions and remain engaged in their work as part of the whole organization. 

Who Uses Enterprise Project Portfolio Management?

Basic PPM processes and tools are a go-to for younger businesses. But, when it comes to managing at scale, traditional PPM has its limits; it’s simply not designed to coordinate a large number of concurrent projects. This is where enterprise PPM processes come in. With their ability to connect all the dots across the organization’s project activity, they can meet more sophisticated needs.  


Large and complex project organizations are the best candidates for enterprise project portfolio management. EPPM frameworks help these organizations absorb some of the complexity between projects and programs. Put simply, EPPM makes it a lot easier for organizations that wear many hats or juggle a wide variety of strategic goals to get a clear picture of progress, needs, and obstacles. 


Another ideal match for EPPM is organizations that are active in high-volatility industries. It has always been essential for PPM leaders to assess potential project ROI to prioritize based on potential value. But perhaps especially in today’s complex and changing environment, project assessment and prioritization should place extra focus on risk evaluation and mitigation. The ability to run “what-if” scenarios can be of great help to prevent delays, overruns, or even failures.  


Finally, remote businesses can benefit from enterprise project portfolio management. But managing remote employees requires new collaboration tools and strategies to keep teams aligned and engaged throughout project lifecycles. While fostering collaboration is a matter of culture and management style, it also requires empowering processes and tools. 

EPPM Best Practices

Enterprise project portfolio management has undeniable potential. But it is not that easy to implement successfully. Let’s explore the most common EPPM issues and the best practices that will help you overcome them.  

Securing Data Visibility

Many companies fail to bring their enterprise PPM process to fruition because of visibility issues. When project and portfolio managers are unable to access reliable and up-to-date information, they may either make decisions based on inaccurate data or waste precious time trying to connect the dots. In any case, they won’t be able to reap the full benefits of EPPM. 


The easiest way to ensure visibility and transparency is to adopt a state-of-the-art enterprise PPM solution like Sciforma. Our intuitive and easy-to-use PPM tools allow any team member to quickly view budget details, project timelines, and other key metrics that influence data-based decisions. 

Optimizing Communication and Collaboration

It’s all too common to see project managers and project team members dance to the beat of their own drums. This often results in a patchworked PPM process with no consistency and no comparability across initiatives and teams. 


To avoid that, PMOs should establish and publicize an enterprise PPM charter. The idea is to outline how projects will be run and how the information will be shared with stakeholders. Here again, the support of professional tools with communication and collaboration features (shared interfaces, notification systems, discussion features, etc.) will prove invaluable.  

project portfolio management

Balancing Resources

Resource allocation is probably one of the most challenging aspects of enterprise project portfolio management. Without an ironclad system to balance resource availability with project demands, organizations often end up over- or under-allocating resources.  


A robust resource management plan, backed by a software system with smart analytics features, can help optimize resource allocation. 

Ensuring Prioritization and Strategic Alignment

Failure to prioritize projects is another of the most common enterprise PPM mistakes. A limited pool of resources can only take so many projects. But some organizations have a hard time figuring out why they just cannot do everything!  


Insufficient prioritization can cause such issues as reduced performance, resource bottlenecks, and missed deadlines. The initiatives that should take priority are the ones that create the most value against strategic objectives. 


To improve the prioritization of strategy-aligned projects, PMOs need to create a project ranking process tailored to the business needs. Software features can significantly help project managers evaluate each project against a set of weighted strategic criteria. 

The Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO)

The Enterprise Project Management Office is a form of centralized PMO enabling central coordination at the business level.     This type of integrated PMO hub has been gaining traction over the past years. Gartner has abundantly written about the rise of the Enterprise PMO, presenting it as a logical consequence of digital business. Robert A. Handler, a Research Vice President at Gartner, says: “In a recent Gartner survey of PPM leaders, respondents averaged nine PMOs in their respective organizations, with 91% of respondents reporting they had an Enterprise PMO and 33% stating they reported into an EPMO, up from 22% two years ago.”    As they are typically more oriented towards business strategy, Project Management Offices at the enterprise level strive to enable digital transformation and the switch to more agile mindsets. Critically, this includes driving alignment of project activities with strategic business objectives and outcomes. While the sponsorship for business or functional PMOs generally goes to the CFO or COO, and IT PMOs usually answer to the CIO or CTO, Enterprise PMOs frequently have C-level sponsors.    To learn more about upgrading to an EPMO, watch our webinar with Andy Jordan! 
project portfolio management
project portfolio management