Project Management Institute

Looking back to move forward


The PfMP® application process spurs a useful walk down memory lane.


So you've decided you want to be a Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)®. Everyone has different reasons for this. For me, it's the opportunity to gain even more expertise in project and portfolio management that will benefit both my career and my organization.

The application process is a commitment to our profession in itself, as it requires you to write a series of essays about your experiences, roles, leadership and aptitude regarding portfolio management. Putting together all the pieces and relating them to my years of experience in this area was more difficult than I'd anticipated. It required looking back over the years and remembering the journey I've been on and some of the major steps I took along the way.

The process felt like looking through old family photos. I referenced historical presentations, plans, roadmaps, business cases and a wide assortment of other “memorabilia.” This proved very interesting and informative, as I'd forgotten some truly special moments. One of those steps was when the concept of an Enterprise Portfolio Management Office (EPMO) was just a twinkle in my eye—and it needed to become a robust business plan. The effort back then involved doing considerable research, along with reaching out to external organizations with expertise on this topic, while bringing this to the attention of our senior leadership.

Another step in the journey involved holding many meetings with leaders to figure out how best to structure the portfolios in a way that would be of value to the organization. This resulted in our aligning the portfolio structure with the organizational structure, which has proven to be a best practice over the years.

My trip down memory lane also took me back to some of the ways we gained organizational engagement for project and portfolio management across the enterprise, and how we've been able to retain a high profile over the years. This has required a continual effort to learn from others and a passion for persistently finding ways to adapt and adopt this knowledge within our organization.

All these experiences provided considerable material for creating comprehensive responses to the essay questions. But they also served to remind me of all the successes we've had along the way—and how the work has been well worth it. I'm very pleased to share that both PMI and the panel reviewed my application, and it passed! Now onto the really fun part: studying and taking the exam. PM


Teresa (Terri) Knudson, PMP, PgMP, is the director of the enterprise portfolio management office at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. She can be reached at [email protected].

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.




Related Content