Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tips to document portfolio management experience for PfMP®

In my previous posts related to Project Management Institute (PMI)’s most recent and coveted Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)® credential. , I have shared 

and this post is for sharing some tips on how to fill application for PfMP. Note that for obtaining (PfMP)® credential, there are two evaluations that needs to be cleared. 
Evaluation 1—Panel Review: The initial evaluation occurs through an extensive application review during which a panel of portfolio managers will assess your professional experience based on your responses to the Portfolio Management Experience Summaries provided on the application.

Evaluation 2—Multiple-Choice Examination: The next step occurs with the multiple-choice examination in which you will be called upon to demonstrate your competence in both situational and scenario-based questions. 
So its important to fill application with appropriate answers to pass panel review. 
Note that there are lot of folks who actually fail panel review and are given only one more chance to reapply with updated answers 
Following experience summary questions are asked in align with 5 knowledge areas of Portfolio Management (Strategic Management, Governance, Portfolio Performance Management, Portfolio Risk Management and Portfolio Communication Management) and you can select either option A or B for each question to map your answer with
Experience Summary #1: Strategic Alignment
A. Identifying and prioritizing portfolio criteria and evaluating portfolio component priorities based on the organization's strategic goals and objectives
B. Creating and/or updating a high level portfolio roadmap using scenarios that helped the organization to align and operationalize the portfolio in accordance with the organization's strategic goals and objectives

Experience Summary #2: Governance
A. Securing authorization to execute the portfolio through identification and justification of recommendations regarding the portfolio
B. Ensuring effective and efficient portfolio management by implementing and/or optimizing the portfolio management plan including key components applicable to your portfolio 

Experience Summary #3: Portfolio Performance
A. Managing portfolio changes to optimize resource utilization and/or ensure portfolio effectiveness and efficiency
B. Evaluating continuous progress toward the achievement of business or strategic goals through the collection, consolidation, and measurement of portfolio value

Experience Summary #4: Portfolio Risk Management
A. Developing and/or updating the portfolio risk management plan
B. Enabling the organization to capitalize on an opportunity(ies) or manage threat(s) based on portfolio risk management processes, methods, and/or techniques

Experience Summary #5: Communications Management
A. Developing, and/or updating a portfolio communication strategy and plan
B. Engaging stakeholders to set and manage expectations and influence the success of the portfolio

Tips on how to document Portfolio Management Experience Summary
#1. How the Portfolio you managed was aligned with strategic goals of the Organization. Remember that Portfolio is a collection of components (i.e. projects, programs, portfolios and other work such as maintenance and related ongoing operations) that are grouped together to facilitate the effective management of that work in order to meet the strategic business objectives. So need to make sure that when you define your portfolio, it clearly defines components and how they were grouped to align with goals.

#2. Make sure that strategic goals are well defined that are tangible and fits acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time bound)

#3. Use empirical data such as $ (Money and try putting in USD), # (Number like # of years, # of Projects, Programs or Portfolios) or # of direct reports, # of team members, # of projects), % (percentage of increase in efficiency, growth, revenue increase, scalable)

#4. Use more empirical data and less verbiage. Try using more universally known acronyms like Org, SME, PMI, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, others to save on verbiage

#5. Remember that Portfolio is more strategic in nature than projects, programs or operations so include words like strategy, objectives, benefits, org goals, how your portfolio was aligned with the org goals. Do not use words that would reflect 'how' you managed teams because that would be more Project Mgmt. Use words where it mentions more on 'Why/What' of Portfolio and ‘How’ you did governance management to keep it aligned.

#6. Before filling your application make sure to read Pfmp® Handbook and if possible “The Standard for Portfolio Management” to understand how PMI is defining Portfolio and what standards are being suggested to do Portfolio Management (Strategic Management, Governance, Portfolio Performance Management, Portfolio Risk Management and Portfolio Communication Management). While filling in your application, you would need to clearly define how you used each of the 5 knowledge areas to manage your Portfolio in your answer(s)

#7. Portfolio management includes processes to identify, categorize, monitor, evaluate, select, prioritize, balance, and authorize portfolio components within the portfolio. So explain in your answer(s) what those processes were in your case to work on portfolio components

#8. All Portfolio Components have following common features including                    
  • Be representative of investments made or planned by Organization
  • Be aligned with Org. strategic goals and objectives
  • Grouped together for effective management
  • Have the ability to be quantifiable
  • Can be measured, ranked and prioritized
  • Share and compete for Org. resources
So explain in your answer(s) how your portfolio(s), programs, projects & operations that are possible Portfolio components have above mentioned feature(s)

#9. Portfolios have an organizational scope that changes with the strategic objectives of the organization so explain in your answer(s) what was the scope and how it changed (most often it does) with strategic objectives of org
#10. Portfolio managers continuously monitor changes in the broader internal and external environment so explain in your answer(s) how you were monitoring the changes
#11. Portfolio managers create and maintain necessary processes and communication relative to the aggregate portfolio so explain in your answer(s) how you were communicating and using what processes
#12. Portfolio success is measured in terms of the aggregate investment performance and benefit realization of the portfolio so explain in your answer(s) how they were measured and what was the benefit realization
#13. Portfolio managers monitor strategic changes and aggregate resource allocation, performance results, and risk of the portfolio so explain in your answer(s) how they were monitored including portfolio risks

#14. Portfolio managers may manage or coordinate portfolio management staff, or program and project staff that may have reporting responsibilities into the aggregate portfolio so explain in your answer(s) how as a portfolio manager you were coordinating the portfolio staff

#15. Portfolio Management balances conflicting demands between programs and projects, allocates resources (e.g., people, funding) based on organizational priorities and capacity, and manages so as to achieve the benefits identified.  Explain in your answer(s) how you were balancing conflicting demands

#16. In your answer(s) try including references to Portfolio Charter, Portfolio Strategic Plan, Portfolio Roadmap, PMO, Portfolio Governance, Portfolio Sponsors, Portfolio Risk Management Plan, Portfolio Risk Register, Portfolio Communication Management Plan and how they were used in your Portfolio wherever applicable.

Sample points that could be used in your answer(s)
·       Establishing and maintaining a framework, governance model, and methodology (policies and procedures) for portfolio management to achieve organizational strategies and objectives.
·       Guiding the selection, prioritization, balancing, and termination of portfolio components to ensure the alignment with strategic goals and organizational priorities.
·       Providing key stakeholders with assessment of portfolio component selection, prioritization, and performance, as well as identification of portfolio-level issues and risks that are impacting performance.
·       Measuring and monitoring the value to the organization through portfolio performance metrics and targets.
·       Supporting senior-level decision making by ensuring timely and consistent communication to stakeholders on progress, changes, and impact on portfolio components.