Project and Portfolio Management

What is a Project?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as "a temporary group activity designed to create a unique product, service, or result." A project has distinctive elements which distinguish it from ongoing work or business operations.

The PMO defines the criteria for a project as:

  • Requires commitment to project goals, objectives, timelines, and deliverables
  • Is temporary with a distinct beginning and end
  • Is defined by specific deliverables
  • Is conducted by a temporary team that exists for its execution
  • Has a single project manager who is responsible for its success
  • Has a project sponsor who is responsible for the strategic level ownership of the project
  • Is defined by identifying the starting point, the goal/objectives and the route between them
  • Is funded and/or resourced 

What is Project Management?

Project management is, fundamentally, about people working collaboratively to get things done. PMI describes project management as "the application of knowledge, skills, and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It is a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals."

PMI's A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) identifies the recurring elements of project management processes and knowledge as: 

  • Processes: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor & Control, Close. These are included in the seven life cycle phases of UNH's project management methodology.
  • Knowledge draws on ten areas: Integration, Cost, Human Resources, Stakeholder Management, Scope, Quality, Communications, Time, Procurement, and Risk Management. Managing all of these areas is important, of course, but project management brings a unique focus formed by the goals, resources, and schedule of each project. 

What is Project Portfolio Management (PPM)?

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the continuous process of identifying, selecting, and managing a portfolio of projects in alignment with key performance metrics and strategic business objectives. Governance oversight is critical to help an organization acquire and view information about all of its current and proposed projects, and then sorting and prioritizing each project according to criteria such as strategic value, regulatory compliance, impact on resources, cost, and so on.