Project Management Institute

Do the evolution


Maturing portfolio management practices takes commitment and patience.


We've come a long way in the six years since the birth of portfolio and project management in our healthcare organization. And to continue growing, we are taking our next steps carefully—so we can move even faster and go much further.


The primary driver of our success in the first year was the committed sponsorship by senior leadership, who recognized that other major organizations had integrated portfolio management into their business management processes and realized significant value.

During this period, we shared portfolio management concepts in meetings with staff across the organization. We discussed with the attendees—who consisted of senior leaders, operational directors and project management staff—how project and portfolio management would benefit their areas.

The most valuable communication approach was conducting enterprise-wide sessions for staff at all levels to hear directly from our executive leadership how the organization was relying on portfolio and project management as part of our core business operations. These widely attended meetings often resulted in numerous inquiries from staff members who wanted to learn more about portfolio management and the associated processes and tools.



We all get better with practice, and the same is true for project and portfolio management. We realized early in our development that every department needed to learn at its own pace. By recognizing that departments have “growth spurts” at different times, this allowed us to accommodate the various stages of maturity within our organization.

Some of our largest executive groups championed portfolio management from the beginning and quickly took to the new practices. Adoption by numerous managers and project teams followed, and we implemented courses so they could better apply enterprise project and portfolio management standards. Over time, project and portfolio terms such as “portfolio,” “project” and “life cycle” became part of our common nomenclature. This has further bolstered the demand for additional courses as employees in all areas of the organization, both clinical and administrative, are interested in learning more about project and portfolio management approaches for delivering results more effectively.


When it comes to portfolio and project management, we are no longer toddlers. Our processes are now stable and ready for the next steps. This is where growing up may be hard to do as it requires change with new portfolio management concepts, advancements in information and metrics, and increases in standardization and automation.

We have a solid foundation now in place through the use of standard tools such as project charters and status reports, regular reporting through portfolio dashboards, an established and growing portfolio and project management curriculum, and a large number of skilled project managers. Still, we need to learn and grow by developing new skills such as quantitative portfolio balancing, proactive modeling, and benefit assessment and realization. All of these will better support our organization, leadership decisions and business results through timely, transparent and relevant information on the status of our investments of time, people and money into projects.

I am confident we will mature in the future, but it will continue to take hard work, persistence and a commitment to learn and change. As part of that learning, it would be great to hear your stories. Please send me a note to share your interesting experiences as you have grown up with portfolio management. 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

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