80% of good strategic portfolio management means looking forward

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At its best, portfolio management is committed to achieving the strategic goals of the organization, analyzing future events and coordinating proper timing for developing the right programs and projects. As said before, nothing can save a project if the goals and timing are wrong considering the full picture of the situation. If the timing is wrong or the goals are unrealistic, no one is able to save a project, not even the best project manager in the world.

Management is responsible for decisions and should make decisions regarding the future. Therefore, portfolio management should function as a process and means for looking forward. The strengths of portfolio management won’t be released by inspecting and reporting past events. Of course, past events have meaning and it is important to learn from them and report them. The potential of strategic portfolio management lies nevertheless in the future and in looking forward.

We see and hear daily about portfolio management projects which focus on following up on projects in progress or past events, e.g. economics. Can we then still talk about portfolio management or should we use another definition for it? Maybe the question is then about operative or tactical portfolio management at a lower level. Or is it?  This is a good question to think about.

Today, I heard a notion stating that 80% of good portfolio management means looking forward and I like that point of view. With that definition, I would be ready to use the concept of strategic portfolio management. A strategy means the future and it is always ahead of us.

This post is also available in: Finnish

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