IT Project Portfolio Use Rising with Recovery

July, 2014

Since the beginning of the U.S. economic recovery in 2011, IT organizations have faced rising demands for limited IT investment dollars. One of the results appears to be a slow and steady rise in adoption of IT PPM disciplines.

As shown in Figure 1 from our study, IT Project Portfolio Management Best Practice Adoption, the percentage of IT organizations using some form of PPM rose from 48% in 2011 to 63% in 2014. The rise over the four-year period is significant and indicates organizations are seeking ways maximize their return on investment in IT.

IT Proj port Fig  1 - IT Project Portfolio Use Rising with Recovery

The adoption rate in 2011 is a low point over the period. While our data only goes back to 2010 when we began tracking this practice, the decline from 55% in that year could be recession-related. During the recession many projects were put on hold, and long-term planning became a lower priority than more urgent pressures to reduce cost. Since then, the adoption of this practice has been on a steady rise.

Project portfolio management is a set of formal processes and tools for analyzing the entire portfolio of projects to see how best to achieve an organization’s goals within various constraints such as budget, schedule, predecessor projects, or risk tolerance. The goal of IT PPM is to improve IT investment decision-making, analogous to the goal of managing a portfolio of investments, and assess the success of those decisions. Advocates argue that by viewing IT initiatives as a portfolio of projects, organizations will make better choices over which projects are best aligned with the company’s strategic goals and be better able to optimize the mix of projects.

Our study finds that the majority of organizations have adopted some form of IT PPM, and this practice is embraced by organizations across all sectors. However, there is room for this practice to grow and mature: less than half of those using PPM claim to be fully implementing this discipline. In the full study, we look at PPM adoption trends across time and industry. We also cover some of the software tools available for managing ongoing projects and recommend best practices for selecting tools and getting value from them.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our management advisory on this subject, IT Project Portfolio Management. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).