A Strategic Pursuit

Agile Elevated

After 16 years as a project professional, Priya Batra, PMP, PfMP, Associate Director, Program Execution Services, Global Delivery Services (GDS), EY, Bengaluru, India, was looking to cultivate a more strategic perspective. Earning PMI’s Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)® certification in March armed her with the knowledge and bird’s-eye view that she can apply every day at business management consultant EY. Now Ms. Batra says she’s better equipped to keep project teams, the organization and her career focused on the big picture.

What motivated you to earn a PfMP certification?
I’m responsible for creating business opportunities for EY GDS that align with organizational goals and objectives. I was looking to understand how organizations arrive at certain strategies and how these strategies align to the enterprise.

How has the certification helped you do your job?
I learned skills related to the process of identifying and establishing key success criteria for portfolios, as well as portfolio prioritization to ensure resources are effectively utilized and will be profitable. Now when I look at a portfolio’s performance or create a new portfolio or move resources around, the first thing I focus on is how my actions match up with strategic intent and larger objectives of the organization.

How does the PfMP help you better manage stakeholders?
A project manager needs to be able to navigate diversified cultures, mindsets and stakeholders’ passions. The more you are strategically aligned with the organizational goals and objectives, the easier it is to earn stakeholder buy-in—and this will increase the overall engagement of people beyond their personal agendas.

What have been some immediate benefits for your career?
My peers and management value the enhanced clarity and leadership that I can bring to my various strategic discussions.

What was the most challenging aspect of your pursuit?
During the application process, we have to summarize three projects we’ve worked on, and then answer questions using any of those projects as reference. I had to choose my words carefully. These descriptions need to give the application evaluator a feel of the challenges you faced and value you created during the projects. It was a long and iterative process that required multiple versions to achieve the perfect response. I managed this by consulting with my mentor and asking her to validate some of my early responses to ensure that I was on the right track.

Any advice for others seeking a PfMP certification?
Having good hands-on experience in the space of program and portfolio management before pursuing this certification is important. Beyond that, I strongly recommend that you have a PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. The PMP certification gives a very solid foundation and approach to all project managers, and building on it is relatively easy.