Bahram Ahmadi

A programme of work for the implementation of a strategy is a large set of coherent guidelines that include several activities in the program so as to achieve certain objectives. It involves several processes including organising, coordination, developing, designing, training, building, developing, growing, closing, etc. In any program strategy for a project, the objectives of the organisation play a very important role.

The project program strategy gives importance to the manager that would be responsible for carrying out the operations of the project, the timing and the nature of the activities, and the dealing with specific tastes of the customers. Project program strategy is highly specific to a project. However, there may be more than one strategy to be employed to meet the objectives of the project. During the planning stages, the managers would sit down to develop a strategy.

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These strategies are developed so as to be appropriate with the characteristics of the organisation, human resources, geographical location, social features, politics, etc (Walter, 1999). For each project in an organisation, the program of work (workflow as such) is managed independently. The project manager would be looking at several limitations in the resources, including time, money and the scope.
A project may fail due to several reasons (including deficiency of resources, lack of goals, conflict issues, problems with the customers, etc), and the manager would have to anticipate these problems right during the initiation of the project and ensure that a problem-solving process is enabled. Each project manager would be determining the ongoing processes in the project through monitoring and evaluation of the performances.
The project manager would have to adopt different strategies so that the organisation could achieve certain objectives and hence reach a desired goal (Brentani, 2003, Walter, 1999, University of Texas, 2007 & Rad, 2006). The process of developing a strategy for the project is very simple. The managers would have to sit down and decide the various objectives that need to be achieved by the project. The means of achieving such objectives need to be discussed. The manager should involve other parties including the administration, the portfolio manager and the stakeholders.
It may be very difficult to come to a consensus if too many people are involved in the process. This is because several people may have different values, outlines and approaches. The process of setting up the objectives, determining the goals and the ways of achieving them is very tedious and could take a long time. The manager should associate the strategy needed to achieve the objectives. During the final stages, the manager would have to also ensure that the strategy/ies adopted help to meet the objectives (Walter, 1999)
On the other hand, portfolio of the project management is an approach in which various projects in an organisation are treated as smaller portions of a much larger venture (with respect to investment and resource allocations). The project portfolio management would be functional right from the initiation of the project to the very completion. Certain instruments are utilised in the portfolio project management to help the managers (including planning, allocation of resources, evaluation, monitoring, analysing, standardization, etc).
This can be considered as a centralised instrument required to effectively handle several projects in an organisation and to study the performance of several projects that may run in an organisation. It can be utilised to compare and contrast various projects. One very important feature of project portfolio management is to determine the costs, expenditure, benefits, investments and other features of the project. In recent years portfolio management has turned out to be a very important aspect of planning, especially in IT firms.
IT companies would be managing several projects and programs running in various parts of the world through an effective portfolio management system. Studies conducted in the past have demonstrated a little less than half of the IT companies are unable to meet their targets due to inefficient portfolio management (Oracle, 2007, Stanford University, 2007 & UMT Consulting Services, 2007). The portfolio manager mix of projects should be such that the resources of the organisation are utilised effectively.
They should be selected in such a way that the risks are significantly reduced. The portfolio manager is in a good position to priortize the projects and accordingly allocates the resources. He should be able to select the project based on their ability to fulfil certain criteria (Crow, 2004 & Oracle, 2007). A portfolio management system would be much broader and would include several other processes such as defining the opportunities, bringing those projects into the focus that would be able to achieve some objectives, monitoring of the projects, etc.
Portfolio management should be considered to be an art rather than a science. Frequently, portfolio managers would have to work with the fund managers of the organisation, so that there is effective use of the money. Portfolio management is frequently utilised in several developed, and slowly developing nations are moving towards effective portfolio management (Crow, 2004, Brentani, 2003 & Rad, 2006). A portfolio management system is often utilised by an organisation to bring about success in the project (as many projects could be effectively be handled simultaneously).
A portfolio may be funds or resources and can be utilised by the organisation to increase returns over a very short period of time. An organisation would observe that the resources available at any point of time would be less than the amount of resources required by a particular project. Hence, one of the main objectives of the portfolio managers would be to effectively manage the resources of several ongoing projects. The management of the organisation needs to sit and figure out what the commitment of the organisation would actually be.
As management of an organisation is a dynamic process, this exercise has to be done from time to time. Besides, actually managing several resources including human resources, logistics, IT, support systems, etc, time also needs to be handled. The management should be very much interested in ensuring that the portfolio management processes are enabled properly. The organisation should ensure that the interests of each and every protject are enabled. If a project is not performing properly, the ideal plan would be to discontinue it, if the organisation does not have the resources to handle it.
A proper flow of information of the project should exist so that the process of monitoring is effective. It is very important that the projects be managed in a formal and official manner. The data that would be flowing would be much more accurate and effective in ensuring the objectives of the organisation are met. There should be a clear flow of data between the programs, projects and the portfolios (Brentani, 2003, Walter, 1999, & Rad, 2006). In the portfolio management, all the projects that are ongoing in the organisation are chosen and a standardised fashion of evaluating them is utilised.
Portfolio management is very much required for the production, development and the utilisation of ideas and intellectual property in various projects in an organisation. The portfolio manager would be performing various tasks such as reallocating and promoting the staff members (as per their characteristics) in various projects. Thus it can be seen that if an organisation has a very good portfolio manager, he would be using the human resources very efficiently (UMT Consulting Group, 2007). The entire framework of portfolio management involves three steps, namely creating, selecting and managing.
The goals and the strategies to be adopted in the portfolio management are made keeping in mind the characteristics of the organisation. Accordingly, new opportunities that are present should be identified and resources allocated. The objectives have to be prioritised and the tasks and activities that are to be done are selected. Finally, it is also important that the project be managed in the most efficient and organised manner (UMT Consulting Group, 2007). Many organisations do not have any portfolio management process running.
Only the companies that feel that research frequently perform it and development is vital for the well being of the company. Only about 10 % of all organisations in the industry do have a strong portfolio management system in place. If a portfolio management system were not in place, then all the projects in the organisation would be given equal amount of importance or authorisation. This would result in all the projects that are going on in the organisation are given equal amount of resources (Rad, 2006).
In an organisation, the project or the program manager would ensure that the project could achieve its objectives. On the other hand, the portfolio manager would ensure that the operational activities and the maintenance programs in the organisation are smooth and functional. The team leader and the middle scale managers usually do the project management. On the other hand, the higher staff members including the administration do the portfolio management.
The higher management of the organisation would be concentrating on the portfolio, rather than the functioning of each individual project (Brentani, 2003 & Rad, 2006). In a project or a program management, the team leaders and the manager would ensure that the staff members meet the specific goals of the project. The organisations main aim would be to deliver quality products or services. The portfolio manager would instead be ensuring that the goals of each and every project are in tune with that of the organisation.
In the project management, a lot of importance is given to completing the tasks on time and ensuring that costs are limited. On the other hand, the portfolio management would be concentrating to a very less extent on fulfilling completion tasks on time and using the minimal amount of resources. The members of the portfolio management team would include the leader, the stakeholder, advocates, project managers and the office managers (Brentani, 2003, Stanford University, 2007 & Rad, 2006). The project or the program management should work in coordination with the portfolio management.
Several processes in the project such as selection of the resources, prioritisation of the targets of the project, and the resource allocation should be performed in the most appropriate manner. The decision-making of the project needs to be very active and dynamic in nature. Informed decision-making and resource allocation is very important for the project to function properly. The project or program manager has to ensure that certain structures or a framework in the organisation is in place before the functional activities can be carried out.
The project environment should be such that the objectives kept in mind can be achieved. The program manager and the portfolio manager should ensure that an environment is created that would be conducive to achieving the objectives of the organisation. The project members should function as a team so that the objectives are met. The team working on the project should have the skill, experience, knowledge and the competence to carry out the tasks of the project.
One of the main reasons why projects do not succeed is because they may take long time to produce the results or may consume a lot of the resources. To ensure the project is effective (to ensure completion of the tasks) and efficient (completion of the tasks with appropriate use of the resources) in its objectives, it is very much needed that both the project management and the portfolio management work in close coordination with each other (Brentani, 2003 & Rad, 2006). The management activities of the portfolio management would be repetitive in nature.
On the other hand, the management activities of the project management would be cyclic in nature. If the portfolio manager can take care of the functioning of all the projects, then the organisation can be considered to be very competitive. If a project does well, it would have an impact on the functioning of the organisation, but also on other projects (Brentani, 2003 & Rad, 2006). Portfolio management would definitely help the organisation to grow, expand and develop. The wealth of the organisation would increase with an effective portfolio management strategy.
The portfolio manager would be bringing in various assets (including infrastructure, support systems, financial resources, human resources, logistics, etc) and securities into the organisation. He would be considering investing in various ways including growth stock investing and value stock investing. From time to time, the objectives of the organisation would vary and hence, it is the duty of the portfolio managers to vary the investment pattern in the organisation. A greater amount of flexibility would be required.
The management style of the portfolio managers should also vary depending on the needs (Brentani, 2003). A portfolio manager and the program/project manager would be concentrating on different characteristics of the project. The portfolio manager would be using the PPM (project portfolio management) tools, whereas the project manager would be using the single-project management tools. The PPM tools would ensure that the functioning becomes more and more efficient, the costs are effectively distributed and the profits of the organisation are increased.
It also ensures that the organisation is following a particular framework whilst managing the projects (Brentani, 2003 & UMT, 2007). Each project has to be carefully planned and implemented in the organisation. The entire project management should be done in phases. The project management tools would ensure that the staff members make effective use of the resources in the organisation and ensure completion of the targets that are required within the project. The project manager would have to motivate the staff so that the work is improved in quality and the project is able to achieve its targets.
Only if the management practises of the project are appropriate, could it be able to achieve its objectives (Free Management Library, 2007, Brentani, 2003 & Rad, 2006). The program strategy would be concerning a greater amount of internal issues with relation to the project, whereas the project portfolio management would be concerning the external issues. It is necessary that the portfolio mangers align their objectives as per the strategic objectives of each program.
The portfolio processes should be customised to suit other management processes that would be functional in the organisation, simultaneously. Both program strategy management and portfolio management involve interacting with the clients, and hence demonstrate the importance of clients with respect to management and its processes (Stanford University, 2007). References: Brentani, C. (2003), Portfolio Management, Elsevier, Philadelphia http://books. google. com/books? id=8LJrilH_eEEC&pg=PT14&dq=portfolio+management&sig=x-IYrHl67RaZTocKedqv_fTBX3w#PPT16,M1
Crow, K. (2004), A Practical Approach To Portfolio Management, [Online], Available: http://www. npd-solutions. com/portfolio. html, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. Free Management Library (2007), Project Management, [Online], Available: http://www. managementhelp. org/plan_dec/project/project. htm, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. Oracle (2007), Peoplesoft Enterprise Project Portfolio Management, [Online], Available: http://www. oracle. com/media/peoplesoft/en/pdf/datasheets/e_epm_ds_projportmgmt_41005. pdf, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. Rad, P.
F. & Levin, G. (2006), Project Portfolio Management, IIL, New York. http://books. google. com/books? id=PUavbSMdP7QC&pg=PA7&dq=project+portfolio+management&sig=Nwscmbzr4s8B_X2cHG26-1hiW9Y#PPA10,M1 Stanford Advanced Project Management (2007), Mastering the Project Portfolio, [Online], Available: http://apm. stanford. edu/courses/MPP. html, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. Stanford University (2007), Portfolio Management Team, [Online], Available: http://www. stanford. edu/dept/its/projects/PMO/files/pmt. html, [Accessed: 2007, August 18].
Walter, S. L. (1999), Defining and developing program strategies, [Online], Available: http://www. sil. org/lingualinks/literacy/PlanALiteracyProgram/DefiningAndDevelopingProgramSt. htm, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. Walter, S. L. (1999), Defining program objectives, [Online], Available: http://www. sil. org/lingualinks/literacy/PlanALiteracyProgram/DefiningProgramObjectives. htm, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. UMT Consulting Services (2007), PPM – Project Portfolio Management Consulting, [Online], Available: http://www.
umt. com/site/PPM-Consulting_60. html? PHPSESSID=9917b5631be27d19dbb1d077885e2866, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. UMT Consulting Group (2007), What’s Really Driving the Importance of Portfolio Management? (DM Review, February 27, 2004), [Online], Available: http://www. umt. com/site/Why-Portfolio-Management_4. html, [Accessed: 2007, August 18]. University of Texas –DIIA (2007), Project management tutorial, [Online], Available: http://www. utexas. edu/academic/cit/howto/tutorials/project/index. html, [Accessed: 2007, August.

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