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The Project and Portfolio Management S.C.A.D. Model
By Steve Romero

A recent analyst study found that 75% of organizations are “doing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM).” My immediate thought when I saw this finding was, “I wonder what people meant when they replied they were doing PPM.” I spent most of the past five years traveling around the world visiting one PPM-challenged organization after another. In visiting those organizations, I encountered countless approaches to and variations of PPM. Though the differences in this critical enterprise discipline were all over the map, I did encounter some common circumstances. I found PPM to be:

  • almost always driven/sponsored by IT/CIO
  • addressing only a subset of PPM capabilities
  • addressing only a subset of Enterprise investments
  • spotty, with business unit-specific implementations
  • almost always “relegated” to IT
  • not thoughtfully and thoroughly implemented
  • devoid of passionate process ownership and management

As I travel the world delivering presentations, I am continually asked about future trends for the discipline. They are valid inquiries given I continue to hear more claims about how PPM is changing. People are talking about the evolution of PPM but I don’t think I am on the same page with many who think PPM is evolving. The trend I am seeing, as well as the change, is that organizations are finally starting to do PPM, correctly.

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to talk about the future of PPM and how it might progress and how much more it could contribute to enterprise success. It is my favorite of the IT Governance processes and I am convinced few business processes have a greater influence on meeting enterprise goals. It is just hard for me to dream about the future of PPM, when the present is far from what it should be.

Every study I have seen shows PPM is still generally immature in enterprises today. In my experience, these studies are absolutely correct. Though almost every organization will lay claim to doing PPM, few are actually doing it correctly. Many of these organizations will continue to flounder until they address the PPM SCAD model I describe in my book, “Eliminating ‘Us and Them – Making IT and the Business One”. To do PPM correctly, there are four questions that must be asked and answered:

  • Should we?
  • Can we?
  • Are we?
  • Did we?

Should we? Is the investment in the best interest of realizing our strategy?

Can we? Does our organization have the capacity and capability to undertake the investment?

Are we? Once approved, are we making the progress required to realize the projected value of the investment?

Did we? Once completed, did the investment deliver the expected value?

Sound and mature PPM processes answer each of these critical questions. I say sound and mature because doing PPM right doesn’t happen on Day-1. It takes time and perseverance. Sound and mature PPM requires scads of executive sponsorship and accountability, scads of business and IT involvement, and scads of data. And don’t be fooled by its simplicity, the model entails scads of complexity.

So when folks ask me about “PPM 2.0” I find it difficult to engage in the conversation because I am still lamenting the absence of “PPM 1.0.” When people ask my opinion on the next trend in PPM my forecast is that every enterprise will be doing it, correctly.

In the meantime, I have scads of venues to visit, scads of presentations to deliver, and scads of people to meet. I look forward to it because those organizations who have mastered PPM are reaping scads of benefits. So please let me know if you have examples of organizations using PPM to ask and answer each of the questions in the PPM SCAD model. I would love nothing more than to hear scads of success stories.

Steve Romero is a published and globally recognized IT governance evangelist and IT business value activist. His mission is to help enterprises realize the full potential of their IT investments for strategic and competitive advantage. He speaks around the world to companies in every business sector, federal and state government agencies, industry organizations, students, and information technology and business luminaries to identify and communicate leading advances in business governance and business management of IT. You can read more from Steve on

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