by Susannah Patton

Getting The Word On Portfolio Management

Jul 01, 20052 mins
IT Leadership

Every Thursday, 10 top executives from AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah gather to make sure that current IT and business projects are on track. The result, says San Retna, the travel organization’s chief portfolio officer, is “double 80” performance. This means that by tracking their projects as a portfolio, Retna’s organization can deliver 80 percent of them on time and on budget while achieving 80 percent of the promised ROI. Retna says the meetings are effective because executives can view all investments at once. “At most organizations, that’s not possible, because the person who makes the decision to go ahead with an investment is not the one who is executing the project,” he says.

Retna knows that many companies are struggling to manage IT as an investment portfolio. That’s why he, along with IT and business managers from 10 other organizations, formed the Enterprise Portfolio Management Advisory Council. The group (which includes Boeing and Washington Mutual) met in March to begin sharing best practices for managing project portfolios across all business disciplines.

The group is starting a website so that members can keep in touch with evolving portfolio management practices, and it plans to launch an online forum for executives interested in following their discussions. Retna says IT leaders can benefit from portfolio management because they face pressure to cut costs while providing more services. “Portfolio management can help them decide where the resources should go,” he says. “We’re trying to give people interested in moving forward with this strategy the tools to make it happen.”