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Influence of Internal Stakeholders' engagement on Project Portfolio Management – Is the role clarity satisfactory?

- Pankaj Tiwari, PMP & Dr. Sunita Panicker

Stakeholder Engagement is one of the key success factors for project portfolios. Moreover, stakeholder engagement needs to also account for stakeholder's influence on one another through formal and informal ways.

 

The organization often gets a strategic business outcome not by one project but execution of multiple projects or a portfolio of projects. Project portfolio management (PPM) can be treated as critical management improvement; this has become an important capability for organization managing diverse projects simultaneously. Institutionalizing PPM in an organization's dynamic management system is a dissemination process in which the related groups identify, recognize, have an optimistic outlook, and apply the fresh management thought process. Various research points to stakeholders and their administration are important success features for the management of project portfolios.

 

The important roles for internal stakeholders in PPM process, as defined by Jonas (2010) are: senior management, middle line management, project portfolio managers, and project managers. Levine (2005) underlined the significance of linking the right stakeholders in the correct process flow, and Aaltonen & Kujala (2010), experienced diverse stakeholder prominence in various project stages , hence PPM can be looked as a distributed management course of action linking stakeholders with the mentioned functions (Beringer , Jonas & Kock, 2013) .Various studies and stakeholder theory includes another context by highlighting that the actions of stakeholders is not self-governed but to a certain extent is the shared interactions. Moreover, on the project level, Crawford (2008) demonstrated that those who are responsible for projects must work together with various important stakeholders.

 

Based on a research survey using various project portfolios from Information Technology firms in Bangalore, the concentration of stakeholder's engagement and interdependencies in the different phases of the PPM process from PMI standards and role descriptions is examined. This quantitative study states the following key findings

Senior management governed the portfolio structuring and 30% of the investigated sample, demonstrates high engagement for portfolio structuring (65% medium engagement). Line management inclusive of project portfolio managers presides in resource management (55% high engagement), and portfolio steering (12% high engagement and 29% medium engagement). As anticipated, project managers do not expedite any of the defined PPM phases; the results specify that more than 81% of these managers show low engagement in all three phases while performing PPM tasks.

 

It indicates, the concentration of stakeholder engagement in every stage resonate the projected task of a key phase for each of the stakeholders: senior management direct portfolio structuring; middle level line management along with portfolio managers dominates resource management and portfolio steering.

 

It is examined that role clarity is interrelated with line management engagement (inclusive of project portfolio managers) in the portfolio structuring and the portfolio

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steering phases whereas senior management engagement is negatively linked in the portfolio steering phase.

Each stakeholder's engagement is positively related across all phases at low and high levels of role clarity (with the exception of for the correlation among resource management and portfolio steering for middle level line management at a high level of role clarity,

 

At low intensity of role clarity, the concentration of the senior management engagement is negatively linked with middle level line management in their major phase of resource management and with project portfolio managers in their major phase of portfolio steering.

 

At low levels of role clarity, most relationships are observed with senior management and project managers, whereas at high levels of role clarity, correlations are observed as primarily occurring with middle level line or project portfolio managers.

 

Also the engagement of project portfolio managers in the portfolio steering phase is negatively correlated with the concentration of the engagement of all other stakeholders in this phase, whereas at high levels of role clarity, only the correlations with middle level line management and project managers remain.

 

Based on the understanding of role clarity and to assess PPM maturity, this indicates the notion that there is scope for the further establishment of PPM. The extent of stakeholders' engagement with each other has a dependency on role clarity which is linked to the PPM maturity of the organization. It reinforces that the PPM process is a mutual and disseminated process and the key internal stakeholders are critical element in shaping this extremely inter-reliant network.

 

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