October 12, 2023
min read
Last updated:
October 19, 2023

Enterprise project portfolio management: what is it?

October 12, 2023
min read
Last updated:
October 19, 2023

Enterprise project portfolio management: what is it?

Whether you're a seasoned project portfolio management professional or new to the field, Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) is a concept that holds great value for businesses aiming to achieve transformative results. Let's dive in and figure out exactly what EPPM is.

What is enterprise project portfolio management?

Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) is an all-encompassing approach to managing and overseeing a collection of projects within an organisation. It goes further than project management by providing an organised and strategic framework to prioritise, execute, and monitor multiple projects at the same time. EPPM aligns these projects with an organisation's overarching business goals and strategies. 

Key elements of EPPM include:

  1. Strategic alignment: EPPM makes sure that all projects are in line with the organisation's strategic objectives. This alignment guarantees that resources are allocated to projects that contribute most significantly to the company's mission and vision.
  2. Resource optimisation: EPPM improves the allocation of resources, such as personnel, budget, and equipment, to maximise efficiency and productivity across projects. Resource planning avoids giving too much resource and ensures that resources are used where they are most needed.
  3. Interdependency management: EPPM accounts for the connections among projects. It ensures that projects work together and do not conflict or overlap in a negative way. The focus is on achieving synergy among projects rather than isolated success.
  4. Decision-making support: EPPM allows for effective decision-making by providing real-time visibility into project performance, risks, and progress. It offers data-driven insights, helping organisations make informed choices about project investments and adjustments.

What makes enterprise project portfolio management different?

EPPM differs from traditional project management by focusing on a broader scope. Traditional project management primarily deals with managing individual projects separately, ensuring their successful completion.

EPPM takes a more strategic approach. It's similar to managing an entire school year's worth of assignments, where the emphasis shifts from individual projects to aligning these projects to your overall grade. Each assignment is contributing to your overall school grade (the bigger goal). 

EPPM helps prioritise projects by assessing their relevance to these larger objectives, making sure that resources are used efficiently and that teams collaborate effectively. Essentially, traditional project management addresses the pieces of a puzzle, while EPPM focuses on putting those pieces together to form a complete picture, helping organisations and institutions make informed decisions to achieve their primary goals.

What is an enterprise project management office?

There are different types of Project Management Offices (PMO), with one being Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO). This is a centralised unit within a large organisation responsible for overseeing and managing all the projects the organisation is involved in. It acts like a control centre, similar to the HQ of a large business, making sure that projects are well-organised, on schedule, and making efficient use of resources. 

The EPMO has a strategic role, like top-level executives, it aligns projects with the organisation's overall goals. In essence, the EPMO serves as a vital coordination and oversight unit that helps manage complex, large-scale projects within an organisation.

Enterprise project portfolio management software

Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) software is a comprehensive set of tools designed to help organisations manage and optimise their project portfolios. Unlike traditional project management software that focuses on managing individual projects, EPPM software is tailored to handle a multitude of projects and programs simultaneously.

Here are the key capabilities of EPPM software:

  1. Portfolio management: EPPM software provides a top-level view of all projects and programs within an organisation. It helps in the selection, prioritisation, and management of projects to ensure they align with the organisation's strategic objectives.
  2. Resource management: It assists in efficiently allocating and managing resources, including personnel, time, and budget, across various projects. This ensures that resources are used in the best way.
  3. Project management: EPPM software includes robust project management capabilities for planning, executing, and monitoring individual projects. Project managers can use these tools to maintain control over timelines, budgets, and deliverables.
  4. Financial management: It helps in tracking project costs and budgets. This feature is vital for controlling expenses, monitoring financial performance, and ensuring projects stay within budget.
  5. Risk management: EPPM software allows organisations to identify, assess, and ease project risks. It provides a structured approach to minimise potential issues and challenges.
  6. Reporting and analytics: EPPM software creates comprehensive reports and dashboards that offer insights into project portfolio performance. These reports help in decision-making and communication with stakeholders.
  7. Collaboration and communication: Many EPPM tools include features for team collaboration, communication, and document sharing, ensuring everyone involved in a project is informed and connected.
  8. Scalability: EPPM software can scale to accommodate organisations of different sizes and complexities. It's suitable for small businesses with a few projects and large enterprises with extensive project portfolios.
  9. Security: Given the sensitive nature of project data, EPPM software should typically include robust security measures to protect project information and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. 

How to set up EPPM

Setting up EPPM is a complicated process. It involves a combination of planning, software implementation, and cultural changes within an organisation. Here's a simplified overview of the key steps involved: 

  1. Assessment: Start by assessing your organisation's readiness for EPPM, which you've already partially addressed. This involves evaluating your strategic alignment, project management practices, and technology infrastructure.
  2. Set clear objectives: Define what you want to achieve with EPPM. It could be improving project visibility, better resource allocation, or alignment with strategic objectives.
  3. Choose the right EPPM software: Select EPPM software that suits your organisation's needs. Consider factors like scalability, ease of use, and integration capabilities.
  4. Project Management Office (PMO): Establish or enhance your Project Management Office (PMO). A PMO ensures that EPPM aligns with your business goals and project execution practices.
  5. Data management: Prepare your project data. Ensure it's structured, organised, and up-to-date. This data will be important for reporting and analysis.
  6. Software implementation: Implement your chosen EPPM software. This involves configuring the software to your organisation's specific requirements, setting up user access, and integrating it with other tools if necessary.
  7. Training: Train your staff on how to use the software effectively. Ensure that team members understand how to input data, manage projects, and extract the information they need.
  8. Change management: EPPM often requires a cultural shift within an organisation. Employees need to understand the value of the new approach and embrace it. Communicate the benefits of EPPM clearly and address any resistance to change.
  9. Rollout: After successful testing, roll out EPPM across the organisation. Monitor its performance and make adjustments as needed.
  10. Continuous improvement: EPPM is an ongoing process. Regularly review and analyse your projects, processes, and the use of the EPPM software to make improvements.
  11. Feedback and adaptation: Encourage feedback from users and stakeholders. Be prepared to adapt and refine your EPPM system as your organisation's needs and priorities change.

Keep in mind that EPPM setup is a big step. Tailor these steps according to your organisation's size, complexity, and goals.

Top tips for selecting EPPM software

We know it can feel complicated and maybe even overwhelming to choose an EPPM software for your organisation. These top 5 tips should be considered to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Understand your business needs: Start by clearly defining your organisation's objectives, project management processes, and resource management requirements. Understand the specific challenges you need to address with EPPM software. Knowing your needs will guide your software selection as it really is different for every business.
  2. Scalability: Choose software that can grow with your organisation. Ensure it can handle your current project portfolio size and complexity but can still accommodate the future growth of your organisation. Scalable EPPM software ensures you won't outgrow your system and avoids having to go through the whole process of finding a new software solution again.
  3. Integration capabilities: Check whether the EPPM software can seamlessly integrate with your existing systems, such as CRM, ERP, or HR software. Integration streamlines data sharing and reduces manual data entry, increasing efficiency and accuracy.
  4. User-friendly interface: Opt for software with an intuitive, user-friendly interface. A well-designed interface reduces the learning curve for your team and makes adoption far more likely.
  5. Vendor reputation and support: Research the vendor's reputation and customer support. Read reviews and consider the vendor's track record for delivering quality software and providing responsive customer support. A reliable vendor can be essential for ongoing assistance and updates. Keep this in mind during the process of getting to know more about the product too.


These tips will help you navigate the process of selecting EPPM software that aligns with your organisation's goals and enhances your project portfolio management capabilities.

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