Strategic Project Portfolio Management [Book Review]

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Although it took me some time to find Simon Moore’s book Strategic Project Portfolio Management, I am glad I did.
It’s beautiful, for one. I read a lot and notice fonts, layout, box copy, and most importantly, beautiful tables. It is not a good idea to praise a book just because it is beautiful. However, it is important for the reader experience. The content isn’t bad either.
How to Choose the Best Projects for Maximum Returns
Moore’s book focuses on how project management offices should prioritize projects and choose the right priorities to maximize business returns. It sounds easy, even though we all know it is important. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin when creating a new PMO.
This book is very practical. Another great point – I love practical books that show you how, and not just talk about theory. It covers all aspects of the lifecycle, from brainstorming ideas to planning for the most productive organization possible.
Estimating For Success
Moore discusses range-based estimations, which is a topic that I am very interested in. Moore explains that estimates tend to be biased towards the initial values, because people don’t adjust their estimates after making an initial decision. Moore writes that this research is:
The idea that the initial estimate you make in project management can have a significant impact on future estimates, even if it’s done in a very simple manner or even randomly, is a strong indicator of how effective project management can be. This means that you should delay the initial estimate if possible or give a broad range. Management should pay attention to the problem of inadequate adjustment to ensure that estimates of key variables such as portfolio budget evolve over time to reflect real values. (p. 13)
This is why range-based estimates are a good option, but the book is much more comprehensive than that. This book contains everything a novice manager of a PMO needs to know in order to support her project managers.
Moore also mentions the importance of only capturing what you need. He suggests being pragmatic when it comes to monitoring. Why force project managers into recording a lot of figures they don’t use? He also pointed out that reporting is meant to help people make better data decisions.
Practical Advice I Will Refer To Again
My only disagreement was with Moore’s late-in-the-book discussion of adaptive project management. He refers to Wikipedia as a project.
He writes that “some projects work well without any initial planning or organization.” He cites Wikipedia as an example, because “there is not much planning involved in specifying articles submitted.”
Wikipedia is not a project to me. It’s a web-based community initiative. However, Wikipedia doesn’t qualify as a project in my world because it has a start, middle, and an end. Moore can be forgiven for this section being less than a page.
I liked the ’10 Things to Do and ’10 Things to Avoid’ chapters. They are practical, solid advice for PMOs who are just starting out or those who want to improve but don’t know where to start.
It was a pleasure to read this.

Strategic Project Portfolio Management [Book Review]
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