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Project management

The complete guide to strategy portfolio management 9 min read
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An organization’s portfolio can be filled with any type of investment, project, or initiative. It’s essentially a collection of all the “stuff” a team has to its name. And if you’ve got a lot of stuff to keep track of, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and let a few things slide.

Strategy portfolio management is a way to keep things from sliding. Not familiar with the concept? Lucky you, because strategy portfolio management is kind of our thing — and we’d love to walk you through it.

This article will explain what strategy portfolio management is, why it’s important, how to develop a strategic portfolio management style, and how monday PMO work management software can help you get the job done quicker and more efficiently.

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What is strategy portfolio management?

Strategy portfolio management — or strategic portfolio management — is the process an organization uses to decide how it should focus its available resources within a portfolio to meet its strategic objectives.

Strategic portfolio management is all about making difficult decisions around which projects or initiatives should be pursued, which should be abandoned, and where resources can be unlocked or freed up to spend on programs or investments that better align with a company’s strategic goals.

But before we go any further into this, it’s worth taking a step back and talking about what we mean by “portfolio.” In its most simple form, a portfolio is a group of programs, projects, or initiatives that a company takes on to reach its goals.

Organizations will often use portfolios to group together specific parts of a business, and then use those groupings to shape the operations and direction the business ultimately takes.

You’ll often hear about portfolios in the context of finance. Financial portfolios are composed of assets like stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Investors use portfolios to make gains and achieve financial goals — but it works the exact same way in project management.

Strategic portfolio management is important for any project manager or portfolio manager because it creates a strong link between a team’s strategy and its operations. screenshot showing timeline view

If you think about it, portfolio management is all about choosing the right things to do. Project management is all about doing things the right way.

Strategic portfolio management combines the 2 so that an organization can always rest assured that it’s getting the right things done…right. Right? Right.

In the world of IT and systems management, strategic portfolio management is useful because it uses organizational data on projects within a portfolio, and then delivers focused business intelligence reports to stakeholders that spell out exactly how each project is helping contribute toward the company’s wider goals.

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What are the benefits of strategy portfolio management?

Still with us? Good, because strategic portfolio management goes hand-in-hand with some really huge benefits. First and foremost, strategic portfolio management helps you refocus your operations by always keeping sight of a bigger picture.

One of the biggest mistakes a company will make is losing track of its long-term strategy because everybody spends too much time thinking about short-term objectives and emerging problems. We all get distracted at times, and a company is no different.

But by deploying strategic portfolio management, you’ll be able to ensure that all of the stuff you’re working on is always aligned with your strategic goals. That means regular analysis and portfolio review to check up on portfolio items to keep everybody on the same page.

Pyramid showing different between strategic and conventional portfolio management

(Image Source)

Strategic portfolio management also comes with the benefit of added efficiencies. The process itself is all about selecting projects that will help your organization achieve its goals.

By deploying good portfolio management with good project management, the cycle enables you to pick projects you know you’re going to ace. The result: your business will continue powering forward, bagging success after success.

Have we piqued your interest yet? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out our guide on why creating a strategic plan is worth your time.

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What is the strategy portfolio management process?

Strategic portfolio management is going to mean different things to different organizations. But generally speaking, the process is always going to include 4 basic steps:

  1. Inventory
  2. Analyze
  3. Align
  4. Manage

Illustration of the 4 steps in the strategy portfolio management process

(Image Source)

So, let’s break those steps down for you really quick.

1. Inventory

Before you start deploying resources and canceling projects, you’ve got to wrap your head around what it is you’re trying to achieve.

First, you need to identify your organization’s strategic objectives. Take a look at all the project and company data, budgets, resource data, and priorities you can to get a clear picture of what you’re working with and what you should be working with.

Then, categorize your projects and create a gating process that you can use to split your projects up into manageable tasks. Finally, you’ve got to look at each task and project to ensure they’re all contributing toward your overall strategic goals.

2. Analyze

After you’ve taken stock of your situation, it’s time to establish metrics for how you’re going to measure the success of portfolio items. Look at your project schedule, project budget, and resource data.

Next, organize each area by business unit and objective before ranking each portfolio item in terms of priority. Then, finalize the gating process to make sure every step within your projects makes sense as they relate to your broader strategic objectives.

3. Align

The alignment phase is all about making sure your portfolio is strategically balanced.

Translation: this is the step where you look at where your resources are being used, emerging risks that are going to mess things up on your roadmap, and eliminate any redundancies cropping up.

Remember: your goal here is to make sure that every portfolio item on the roster is working in harmony with the other items to help you see that big picture.

4. Manage

Your final step in the strategic portfolio management process is management. This step is all about keeping a close eye on your portfolio and making changes wherever and whenever they’re required.

As part of the management stage, you may have to delay or cancel projects, redeploy resources, revise budgets, or launch portfolio changes if you’ve strayed from your strategic objectives.

Unfortunately for portfolio managers, this is a never-ending task. As long as the portfolio exists, it’s always going to need to be managed — especially if you’ve opted for a strategic management style.

Want to learn more about strategic portfolio management and how it can be applied to projects? We’ve got you covered.

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How can you use for strategy portfolio management?

We’ve talked about what strategic portfolio management is and the steps involved.

But talking about the theory behind it and actually doing it are 2 very different things — and to be honest, that’s part of the reason a lot of people miss out on the benefits of strategic portfolio management.

They just can’t wrap their heads around how it’s done in practice. Luckily for you, does most of the work for you.’s Portfolio Management template is ideal for both project portfolio management (PPM) as well as traditional investment management.

If you want to use the template to keep track of your team’s finances, it’ll show you the total amounts you’ve got actively invested in firms, as well as past portfolio positions that aren’t part of your investment strategy anymore.

Screenshot of's Portfolio management template

Handy features include:

  • Dozens of app integrations so you can onboard all your favorite tools and data with minimal fuss.
  • 8+ different views — including Gantt chart and Kanban — so that you can visualize your portfolio just the way you want.
  • Quick start-up so you can import portfolio information automatically from a spreadsheet.
  • Loads of automation recipes to streamline your strategic management workflow.
  • Flexible interaction that enables different team members to display the portfolio data that matters to their task or department.

There’s way more stuff to brag about, but we’ll let you discover all of that for yourself.

The point is, if you choose, you’ll be getting a strategic portfolio management platform that will enable you to keep track of all your portfolio items, see how they align to your strategic objectives, and shift stuff around to make sure everything is helping you achieve your business dreams.

Ready to level up?

If you’ve got a big portfolio to keep track of and ambitious team goals, you should really think about adopting a strategic portfolio management style.

It’s all about weighing the risk and reward of each task and decision to make sure your projects are always balanced. More important still, strategic portfolio management ensures that everything in your portfolio is contributing toward helping you to achieve your wider goals.

But constantly assessing every task or project and cross-referencing it against a set of strategic goals can be exhausting. That’s where steps in. With custom solutions like our Portfolio Management template, you’ll be able to get short, sharp snapshots of all your positions and how they stack up against your bigger picture.

Oh, and did we mention the best part? You can try 100% free for 14 days.

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