Friday, August 16, 2013

Are Portfolio Management and EA the Same or Different?

EA is business initiative centric; portfolio management is project-centric.

EA and portfolio management have a common purpose to enforce business and IT governance, although it’s not their only purpose. So are they the same or different, or do they have the same approach, methodology, practices or skills?

1. EA Designs Governance Model; PPM Realize Governance Mechanism

A governance model designed by EA illustrates the governance processes that are used to govern specific activities and establish decision rights, whereas project portfolio management (PPM) is essential to successful corporate governance via implementing governance mechanism.  Embodied in a Portfolio Management Office, PPM provides comprehensive fusing of a firm's strategic capabilities, tightly coupled to implement and oversee governance. An integrated and concentrated governance approach is based on an operational portfolio framework which supports six programs - IT strategic planning, enterprise architecture, capital programming, assets management, risk management, and projects

  • The strategic planning should start with a clear picture of its own enterprise application landscape at a minimum and preferably an understanding of its own IT capabilities and practices maturity relative to its industry. 
  • The enterprise architecture provides a framework in which sound strategic planning can happen grounded in present state realities so a full accounting of the perceived risks and rewards can avail itself to the decision-making process.  
  • Asset management coupled with project management provides rigor to hedge against misallocating resources relative to operational imperatives and to ensure the asset base is grown soundly and efficiently.  
  • The capital program management provides structure coupled with financial planning towards preventing sprawl, ensuring strategy alignment is assured through financial alignment and towards leveraging existing investments as much as possible.  
  • The risk management function permeates all functions and should not be a separate function at all but rather taken as guidelines of business best-practices executed in this larger portfolio management framework. 

2.    EA Defines Business Capabilities; PPM Implements Capabilities

EA is responsible for the definition and road mapping of the capabilities of the enterprise (with or without an IT component). Capabilities can have a baseline architecture (where we are today), target architecture (where do we need to be in order to compete and succeed over the next X years), and transitional architecture (how do we begin to bridge the gap?).  Whereas Program Management and Portfolio Management, are concerned with the implementation of those capabilities based on the road maps provided by EA; taking into account the triple constraints of time, money, and resources. 

  • EA is business initiative centric; portfolio management is project-centric;
  • EA is pre-funding centric, portfolio management is post-funding centric  EA is always pre in planning, but post in herding execution
  • EA is widely adopted and mature, portfolio management is not common 
  • EA uses EA skills all the time, portfolio management can use EA skills for integrated planning. 
  • EA has an enterprise-wide and cross-functional view, portfolio management tends to have a functional view 

3.  EA Prioritizes Business Initiatives; PPM Manages Project Portfolio

The purpose of EA, part of business strategic/long-range business planning is to prioritize and define investment projects; more accurately facilitate this process with the executives. If you have not provided a list of prioritized project; you have not completed the EA process cycle, whereas PPM manage the project, program, portfolio accordingly:

  • EA role uncovers and creates demand by would-be sponsors for viable and optimal initiatives that will improve the enterprise's ability to achieve its purpose; whereas Implementing an initiative will require at least one project, but usually more. Multiple projects will be structured as a program or portfolio, depending on the best fit. Program Manager and Portfolio Manager Roles manage the set of projects required to realize the goals of the initiative. Project managers will manage a single project.  
  • Not all initiatives will be uncovered by an EA, or understanding that not every project in the PMO is a result of EA, EA would also entail oversight to ensure that projects either support the roadmap or if not, examine if a project is addressing a gap in the EA. If not, EA should be raising the flag as to whether or not the resources of the enterprise should be invested in the effort.  
  • EA role identifies and articulates the scope of changes required to achieve the objectives of the initiative; whereas portfolio and program manager roles manage scope. EA roles will assure that the objectives of the initiative are being met by the project/program/portfolio. Project/program/portfolio roles are responsible for aligning their projects with the stated initiative objectives and providing feedback to the EA as one of many stakeholders if the scope wasn't quite right at the onset. 
  • EA person should assist in defining the work to realize the scope, but ownership should be in the hands of the program/portfolio/project manager to keep them accountable for planning the work well. EA persons manage enterprise initiatives indefinitely. Program/Portfolio/Project managers manage the enterprises' projects until they are closed out.  
  • Portfolios are a project, having a defined end state. They provide tangible bounds for projects in the creation of product and product families managed collectively - an end state; whereas enterprise architecture is far more temporal and intangible in nature. EA deals with business initiatives, derived from strategy. EA deals with a holistic view of the enterprise, encompassing all functional organizations, and the creation of the iterative efforts to constantly management change, and satisfy the strategy. It is the EA responsibility to take into account Social, Technical, Financial and Operational drivers and their associated risks. EA serves in an advisory capacity to the CxOs of the enterprise to inform their decision making.
EA cares more about the abstract concepts of everything working together, including policy, process, psychological factors around change, and the output from all functional areas meshing together to satisfy a business initiative, executing strategy; and portfolio management ensures the effectiveness of projects implementation and benefits get realized, they need to work hand-in-hand in business/project governance effort.


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