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Program management focuses on the ability to define and manage the interdependencies between projects, technology assets, people, and business processes dedicated to a specific mission (e.g., CRM, supply chain, etc.). Most portfolio management solutions should be able to bundle projects into programs. It is a straightforward, albeit not necessarily simple, rollup. The program management functionality generally sought should include:
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EXHIBIT 6.3 IT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Categories of Functionality
Resource (or people management)
Geographic coverage Execution
Business drivers Agility
Industry focus Financials
Tracking budget, timing, risk, value, resources, and requirements to achieve program success and to support portfolio analysis
Viewing capabilities to understand the interrelationships across projects, resources, and assets to provide a higher level of abstraction and relevant business information
As single projects become multiple projects, which are then grouped into programs, complexities inherent in coordinating and managing them together grow astronomically. This functionality is useful to manage ongoing program support (e.g., maintenance) and to evolve the business forward. While there are other views across the portfolio, the program view is significant to be called out separately.
Portfolio management provides a framework for understanding and evaluating the portfolio and alternative scenarios. Some technology vendors may claim to provide portfolio management capabilities. While in fact they may contribute to the management of portfolio investments, they are not IT portfolio management tools. True IT portfolio management tools provide for the intuitive categorization,
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valuation, and assessment of the discovery, project, and asset portfolios (and views) to optimize business impact. Functionality to look for includes:
Risk, timing, and reward valuation techniques
Budget control/impact, resource forecasting, user-definable, multiple views that highlight key comparisons (e.g., cross-portfolio interdependencies)
Data import into a repository from relevant sources
Ability to develop and compare scenarios (e.g., what-ifs) to enable the selection of appropriate changes
Resource (or People) Management
How the use, prioritization, and management of people and/or individuals impact the selection, initiation, and ultimate delivery of the overall IT portfolio within the organization is a key in successful forecasting and current portfolio management. This includes managing:
Skills and proficiencies
Time and expense entry
The ability to create and manage an inventory of best-practice methodologies or processes to ensure the execution of consistent, targeted outcomes that are in line with business imperatives (e.g., the processes for portfolio assessment itself, application delivery processes, CobiT, ITIL) is important. Core functionality includes:
Procedural and event-based work flow
Nested work flows
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Companies should leverage methodologies to model future initiatives against past successful initiatives. A tool should not only allow this but should support honing of these methodologies by providing data to enable process optimization.
Opportunity and Demand Management
A key feature is the ability to manage business opportunities and prioritize them by which ones are the most beneficial to the organization and why. This feature should take into account internal demand for project-related activities.
You may want to review the questions in the presence and performance criteria sections when creating requirements documents. What might be important criteria to one company may be irrelevant to another. However, basic guidance is provided on which subcriteria should be low, moderate, or high priority.