Scientific innovations and inventions have created new business environments; a number of software accustomed to a certain organization or purposes in an organization are continually being developed. On the other hand, organizations are facing dynamic business environment; characterized by information sharing, knowledge management, process automation, shortening product life cycle, and international trade. All these new elements of modern market are facilitated by technological development (Lale and Arzu, 2007).
To remain competitive in the dynamic business environment, organizations need to be creative and innovative. The world is recovering from global financial crisis, which started in the year 2007, to remain in business and probably grow, process, products, and strategy innovations must be embarked on (Keith, 2003). Projects are temporary engagements that have three main stages, beginning, maturity and end, to effectively end, having attained the set objectives and goals of the project, project managers must have developed strategies for effective implementation.
Current project-based organizations focus on creativity in allocating the resources, project analyzing, scientific project management and use of computerized project management systems to ensure that they make the best choice of project to implement as well as devise appropriate project management systems United Arab Emirates has embarked on major industrialization. The growth in the economy has been facilitated further by international trade where the country is a major player.
In this effect, the country has a number of companies implementing different portfolio managements systems. This research paper discusses problems faced by UAE domestic and foreign companies when using PPM to manage their portfolios; it will evaluate the general performance of PPM implementation and seek to establish the linkage with portfolio management problems and PPM tool implemented.
In the recent past, organizations across the world have adopted various Portfolio and Program management (PPM) plans: the project policy to adopt depends with the particular project that the company has, it also varies with the industry of a company. PPM programs are structured in a way that they can allow for different activities in an organization to run concurrently without affecting each other. Those areas of a program that needs to be operated in a mutually exclusive manner are monitored and controlled as so while those that successor or precede others are recognized. PPM uses lead-time and resource utilization policies to ensure that the available resources are distributed to different activities effectively.
Capital projects involves the investments of large sums of money to purchase assets like machinery, land or to build a factory; when undertaking such programs PPM assists an organization monitor how money and resources have been allocated and utilized in an organization. Before embarking on a project, PPM has tools that assist the management gauge the chances that the project will successes. It gauges the risk rate and the uncertainty that certain program will yield the expected gains. When a company has the dilemma of which project to invest in, when there are a number of mutually exclusive projects to implement, then PPM has the tools to clear such dilemmas.
When implementing a project, there are some set objectives and goals that the project is expected to fulfill; the fulfillment of these objectives aligns the program with organizational goals and objectives. PPM assists in correct balancing and maximizing the value of the projects so as it can meet the expectation of an organization and stakeholders (Miia Martinsuo, Paivi Lehtonen, 2007).
Project managers have the role of ensuring that a set program meets its obligations, they are mandated with the task on condition regular appraisals to ensure that the project is on track. Success of project is dependent with the management that is adopted; for a successful portfolio management, a scientific management system should be implemented. Scientific management system relies on project managers’ to develop policies and measures to have efficiency in their companies (Ralf Muller, and Rodney Turner, 2007).
In the literature, there are different terms used to refer to PPM, they include programme management and multi-project management.
Cooper, Edgett and Kleinshmidt (1999) defined the portfolio management as a continuous process where current programs are improved as new ones are developed. It offers a chance to have some projects in him beginning stage and others at maturity stage: what is very important is that all the projects can be operated at the same time without conflict of interest or fauvism of one set than the other.
Projects, which are interdependent, are managed together while those that are mutually exclusive are initiated at different times to enhance maximum utility of company’s resources. When managing a portfolio, management should be open to consider and note changes brought about by varying factors affecting the business. Portfolio is faced with uncertainties, risks and changes in dynamic opportunities. Being open minded is a virtue in project management that assists a manager to make strategic and responsive decisions based on reports from periodical reviews, performance of contrasting and interdependent projects.
In their book, Dye and Pennypacker, 1999, defined project portfolio appropriate strategies developed to ensure that scarce resources are utilized in their optimal state. They were of the opinion that the major role that portfolio manager should do is to allocate resources in an optimal combination. The success of a project is highly dependent on how resources have been distributed in the available options. An effective management will offer maximum results ate minimal cost and less wastage. At any one, there are different areas that a company can invents its resources in, the major role that the manager should consider is the investment that will offer the company the highest return and probably the area that have minimal risk and is certain that there will be returns.
In whichever the portfolio that accompany maintains, there are some underlying objectives that the company would like to attain; they include, add value to portfolio, align the portfolio goals and objectives to those of the company and diversify the available resources in an optimal manner. To have these core objectives attained project manager need to keep his portfolio active and conduct timely reviews to maintain its efficiency and continuity in the right way (Cooper, Edgett and Kleinschmidt, 1999)
Archer and Ghasemzadeh (1999a, 1999b) explained the project portfolio as the resultant appraisable element that results from the performance of micro project in an organisation that aims at building to the whole. Turner and Muller (2003) had a similar opinion and suggested that every project has some small units that need to be managed rather separately but they have their goal aligned to the goal of the larger project. When managing a portfolio, the main area of concern should be the micro projects, as their full operation will have a direct effect on the project.
Patrick Tickle, vice president of products for Planview, Inc. explains that the portfolio management as ” it’s about optimizing your business strategy against you two most precious fundamental resources: your people and your money.” Lawrence S. Gould (2009)
Don Wessels (2007) was of the opinion that when developing and designing a portfolio, measures should be taken to ensure that the project undertaken is the beneficial one; having the project at hand, then the role of project manager comes in to ensure that processes in the projects are operated in the right way. Through portfolio manager need to be involved in the initialisation stage of a project, the main task that befalls him is in the management of the portfolio; he must ensure that the portfolio is in line with the organisation’s expectations.
Cooper, Edgett and Kleinshmidt (2000) mentioned in their working paper no. nine emphasised the need to understand one’s potential and aim at utilizing it to the best interest of the organisation. Both physical and human resources should be managed effectively in all projects so as the projects can be successful. How well a company managed its capital, both human and other wise goes long way giving portfolios successes.
PPM allows the use of computer-generated solutions to optimal allocation of resources; some programs that are designed to formulate optimal allocations, thus a portfolio manager should use such programs but not fully depend on them (Bruce Miller, 2002). The following are the main objectives of
Project portfolio management
- To ensure that micro projects in the larger projects are effectively managed to expand the benefit of the projects’ outcomes.
- To ensure that a projects objective is aligned with an organization’s objectives (Tomas and Ralf, 2006)
A survey conducted by IRI members Portfolio management has reinforced the role played by PPM policies and suggested the following roles:
- Financially – it maximums corporate returns from research and development projects
- gives a company a competitive edge
- an efficient tool in resources allocation
- bridges the gap between project selection and business strategy
- keeps a business focused
- it is a tool for priority balancing
- A tool of objectivity in project selection (Cooper, 1999)
Project Portfolio set up, Projects selection phases and processes and their impact on PPM efficiency
Few studies explore the linkage between strategy, project portfolio management and business success; however, Muller et al. (2008) showed a positive correlation between a project and the success of organizational objectives, mission, vision and goals. Further studies Have suggested theta project success is a product of project prioritization and initialization; if initialization was effectively done, then there are high chances theta the project will be a success (Sascha Meskendahl, 2010) see figure I for a general frame work of a portfolio:
Artto K. L. (2001) observes PPM to be revolving around three main areas: portfolio evaluation, choosing the best alternative, and monitoring of the project. In either the stage/process, there are tools developed for the same so as the right decision is made; an efficient portfolio selection, management and monitoring process look into the current, situation, the future tread and the likelihood that there will be occurrences that will make the project fail (Maio, Verganti and Corso, 1994). Portfolio management is not a onetime process; it goes along with the project until the end (Nkasu and Leung, 1997).
Initiation is the first stage in portfolio management, at this stage, the scope and nature of a project is determined; when the stage is not effectively done, chances that the project will not meet its proprietor’s goals and objectives are minimal. At this stage, the project manager should ensure that he understands all underlying factors that are likely to affect the project, factors affecting a project may be positive or negative, and they may emanate from inside a company or be internal or external. The stage is more of a forecast and laying a plan that will be used in the future to see the project a success; the stage also involves taking an analysis of the current business situation and developing measure that can be used in making the project a success. Archer and Ghasemzadeh (1999).
The main objectives that a portfolio manager aims to get at this point are:
- Have a simultaneous project running and at the same time have them managed effectively with available resources
- Avoid conflicts among different sectors of an organizational projects
- Manage and control the utilization of high value goods and put emphasis on the use of locally available resources.
For instance, when the active projects are accelerated, terminated, or de-prioritized or when new projects are included into the portfolio, the current schedule will become infeasible, in this respect, rather than a static optimization problem, project portfolio scheduling (PPS) must also be a reactive decision process, whereby the listing of projects and the allocation of resources can be revised. As a result, an effective Project portfolio scheduling system (PPSS) is essential to convert each project into an operating timetable and maintain the portfolio’s performance in a timely manner. There is need to adopt an event-driven based approach where different sections and phases in a project are interlinked; when efficiency in all phases are looked into then the success of the project is almost guaranteed.
The process of a project starts from planning and ends with closure of the project after the goals set have been attained. Through different projects call for different approaches in management, the underlying concept is the same; it may be conducted differently but the results should be the same.
To have well planned portfolio, managers should aim to use available project analysis and scheduling tools such as Gantt chart and a budget bludgeon. When these tools are used, they assist a company keep track of the process of portfolio management and have regular evaluations (Lynn Batara).
The process of a project starts from planning and ends with closure of the project after the goals set have been attained. Through different projects call for different approaches in management, the underlying concept is the same; it may be conducted differently but the results should be the same.. A successiful project is one that aligns with a company strategy, has minimal. A study conducted by Jonathan Feldman, 2010, had 64% of respondents applauding the idea of prioritizing projects and 55% applauded project strategy development and 34% felt that project leadership plays the central role in success of a project.
When undertaking a project, information about the prevailing conditions that might affect the project is crucial; there are many sources of information that need to be considered, they include the project manger undertaking a survey of the market and the prevailing conditions, analysis government and other reputable institutions news and statistics or buying information from research institutions. Information must be credible and involves information on financing options available, sources of materials, labor and other input sources as well the risk of the project that is being implemented (Robert, scott, and Elko 2000).
There is a close relationship between the quality of information for project and the success of the project: when there is credible information, then the project is more likely to be a success (Miia and Paivi). Robert, Scott, and Elko (2000) brought about the theory of Stage Gate where information for every stage in a project is improved by accustomed research. Efficiency is improved through research and innovating of different ways of improving a certain project.
Systematic decision making of project managers in major phrases and objective adherence, main objectives are time, cost, and quality, affects the success of a project through not direct. Miia and Paivi, 2007 observed that there exists a direct relationship between project management and PPM efficiency.
Although project management and PPM may be seen as different practices, this is only in theory, in practice they have very close relationship among them and they overlap in their objectives (Munns and Bjeirmi,1996). both have their main objectives as seeing the success of a project despite their approach.
In an effective PPM project, communication is important among the players and the management; incase there are emerging issues; they should be addressed accordingly. Some of the major barriers to effective communication are team players, leaders and organizational culture adopted in the project. (Kelly, 2000).
To develop effective communication, the input of team leader and top management is wanted they need to be in the forefront creating a favorable environment of sharing information among the team members. They should develop mechanisms for effective communication. Language and the relationship that managers have with their juniors determine if they will have good communication or not (Brownell, 2003).
Communication comes with listening skills; when teams are able to listen to each other, they sharpen their skills and make their work simpler and the attainment of organizational goals is affected. Bambinas and Partisan (2008) were of the opinion that talents, intellectualism and professionalism in a team can only be tapped when there is good communication among the members.
Solutions, techniques and methods to increase the efficiency of PPM
To have an effective implementation of projects and management of PPM programs, top management, middle level managers and supervisors must support the idea. The entire organization need to be working for the good of the project implemented and any individual or group that can offer insight information should be considered. Since different projects calls for different combination of talents, experiences, age and education level, the most important role that managers should be playing is ensuring they have blended their team to its optimal level.
Secondly, management should realize that the success of a project mostly is determined by the planning, research and data that the management has, there should be no project that should be implemented without proper planning and researching (Bodily and Pernille, 2008). When well planned, then the project will have adequate resources, knowledge and appropriate information for the completion of the project is available.
According to PMP website, implementation of a project is the last stage in a project management; it’s should a stage that is implemented when its preceding stages are a success, in any case that the preceding stages are not effectively conducted, then this stage will also be affected negatively. Time is a resource that need to be utilized effectively and should be allocated adequately not to the project itself, but also to initial stages of a project.
To create competitiveness and encourage efficiency; organizations are considering project management department as unit of its own with the role of overseeing projects in the organization. On the other hand, modern education systems are having project management as a full course in their efforts to produce graduates who meet current labor markets needs (PMP website).