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Portfolio management

A portfolio is defined as a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives. The projects or programs of the portfolio may not necessarily be interdependent or directly related. (PMI Portfolio Management Standard, 2006)

Portfolio management is defined as the centralised management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritising, authorising, monitoring and adjusting projects, programs, and other related work, to achieve specific strategic business objectives. (PMI Portfolio Management Standard, 2006, with 'managing and controlling' replaced by 'monitoring and adjusting')

A Portfolio Management Office provides the decision support for portfolio management. It advises senior management on the composition of the portfolio, monitors progress at high level, resolves conflicting portfolio priorities and manages portfolio risk and issues.

The department facilitates the movement of passengers and freight throughout the state by developing, maintaining and regulating its transport networks. It selects investment initiatives that are likely to have maximum impact on achieving these strategic objectives, with a focus on the government priorities of the day. It then seeks to achieve value for money in all its initiatives and works.

Image of two cyclists watching, a train crossing the Brisbane River on the Merivale Bridge, from the Bicentennial Bikeway.

A key function of portfolio management is to co-ordinate delivery across an organisation's entire set of initiatives of programs, projects, maintenance, operations and other supporting activities.

Portfolio management:

  • provides an overview of the organisation's total investment
  • aligns initiatives with the organisation's strategic objectives
  • evaluates the relative benefits and costs of new proposals and assesses these against current commitments and maintenance requirements
  • allocates appropriate skills and resources
  • co-ordinates the transition of deliverables into operations
  • resolves any issues concerning overlap or duplication
  • monitors physical progress and total expenditure
  • responds to changes in the environment
  • adjusts to continually optimise achievement of strategic objectives.

Portfolio management involves interaction between the ongoing operation of the business and delivery of the projects it chooses to undertake.

This section of the website deals with how the business relates to and provides the governance for its projects (business improvements). It does not deal with general management of ongoing business operations. It only seeks to give an overarching strategic framework for portfolio management to occur within. It does not cover or replicate any specific portfolio management work content areas as these already have well established processes. The business management of projects diagramshows the process flow for the business activities (pre, during and post project) that are necessary for the business to establish best practice project governance arrangements. The pre-project stage covers both development of business strategy (itself a project activity) and development and management of programs.

This diagram provides the essence of the OnQ business/portfolio management/strategic planning methodology as well as the program management methodology. It treats business and portfolio interchangeably, both involving strategic planning as their first step.

The OnQ methodology has also been applied to the portfolio management activity of developing a business plan. This is set out in the 2005 OnQ business planning guide. This uses 7 of the 20 OnQ project management process steps and 1 template, the business plan. The 7 activities comprise all 5 concept steps that apply to strategic planning, together with monitoring during program or project delivery and a post-implementation review. Note that it is a business responsibility to carry out post implementation reviews of its projects and programs.

The strategic planning application of the OnQ methodology comprises 5 steps, and the Integrated Transport Planning Framework (ITPF) templates have been provided for instances where such planning involves major effort and expenditure. Such planning can involve other parties such as local governments who may make financial contributions, have a substantial stake in the outcome and consequently wish to see comprehensive management arrangements in place.

Last updated
07 May 2020