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Three General Types of Portfolios
By Dr.Russell Archibald

As indicated in the figure below, a project portfolio consists of the programs and projects supporting a given higher-level strategy. There could be only one overall corporate project portfolio, but it generally makes more sense to define more than one portfolio on a strategic basis in large organizations to reflect product line, geographic or technological divisions of the organization, industry or market. Combe and Githens (1999) identify three general types of project portfolios:

  • Value-Creating: Strategic or enterprise projects.
  • Operational: Projects that make the organization more efficient and satisfy some fundamental functional work.
  • Compliance: “Must-do” projects required to maintain regulatory compliance.

Others have defined other types of project portfolios that reflect the specific organizational and industrial environments that are involved (OGC MSP 2002, Pellegrinelli 1997, Dye and Pennypacker 1999).

Schematic of Strategies, Projects, a Program and a Project Portfolio

Schematic of Strategies, Projects, a Program and a Project Portfolio (Archibald 2003, p 13).

Dr. Russell D. Archibald, PhD (Hon), MSc, Fellow PMI and APM/IPMA, PMP, is one of the six founding members of the Project Management Institute. Now semi-retired, he has many years of management experience in engineering and operations with a variety of major US corporations in Europe and South America as well as the US. He has made major contributions to the understanding of project management, is author of the best selling 2003 book “Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects” (published also in Russian, Chinese, and Italian), has trained more than a thousand program and project managers and project specialists around the world, and has consulted in project management to clients in 14 countries on 4 continents. E-mail: russell_archibald@yahoo.com. Website: www.russarchibald.com.

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