Project Portfolio Management - an organising perspective

Abstract: This thesis deals with aspects of importance for organising project portfolio management. Project portfolio management of industrial development projects is commonly agreed to be a way of maximising the value of the development effort, creating a balance of the activities undertaken, and ensuring a strategic alignment when choosing and compromising among development opportunities. For several years, both practitioners and researchers have developed tools and methods assisting managers in decisions regarding the project portfolio composition. During the last decade the research in the area has developed to include aspects of which participants to involve and how to arrange the project portfolio management activities. In project portfolio management literature it is commonly agreed that no one best way to organise for project portfolio management exists. Despite diverse efforts, the literature has so far not provided a thorough knowledge of aspects in areas concerning the selection of participants to involve and how to arrange the project portfolio management activities. It is therefore such aspects that are addressed in this thesis. The research strategy has been to use case studies, and the main empirical data used in the thesis stem from a single case study at the business unit for Away-From-Home Tissue products at SCA. Supplementing the latter data is a multiple case study of six Swedish companies. The findings in the thesis show that aspects of importance for organising project portfolio management concern three different areas: how the portfolio management activities are arranged (i.e. procedural aspects), how the tools and methods are used, and how to involve relevant organisational participants (i.e. organisational aspects). It is also seen that including different types of projects in the same project portfolio (i.e. product development, manufacturing process development, technology development) yields implications for how to organise the project portfolio management. The process must allow for taking into account different strategies, different ways of evaluating projects, different needs of updating the portfolio, and an involvement of managers with different knowledge in the activities. The findings demonstrate that the same tools and methods can be used in different ways throughout the process for assisting the project portfolio management. Lastly, it is found that how the project portfolio management activities are arranged, and which organisational participants are involved, will affect the use of tools and methods in project portfolio management.

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