Breakthrough Project Portfolio Management

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Achieving the Next Level of Capability and Optimization
Murali Kulathumani
Hardcover, 6×9, 272 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60427-149-2
December 2017

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ISBN: 978-1-60427-149-2 Categories: ,


This unique text discusses why project portfolio management has been elusive to most organizations. It explains how an impactful portfolio is attainable using a back-to-basics approach that includes the use of a simplified form of earned value management called mEVM for measuring and managing a portfolio, adapting it to changing situations, and executing effective decisions. Every section of this practical desk reference provides guidance for getting your portfolio up and running quickly to achieve immediate results. Whether you already have a project portfolio, or are starting to build a portfolio from scratch, this breakthrough book will show you how to obtain a high-performing project portfolio without investing in expensive tools.

Key Features

  • Sequentially covers the essential capabilities of an effective portfolio and provides a logical construct of how the different capability areas interact
  • Provides a complete understanding of all the building blocks of a portfolio, the critical success factors needed to achieve desired results, and the nuances involved in implementing them
  • Introduces a pioneering mEVM methodology and articulates various strategies for implementing it within an organization
  • Explains how to effectively monitor and manage the performance of a portfolio, the important task of balancing a portfolio, and how to ensure the realization of project benefits
  • Presents a detailed look at portfolio governance including how to ensure that it provides successful direction for the portfolio
  • Explores the important relationship between the portfolio office, CIO, and finance department and supplies effective funding strategies for project portfolios
  • Addresses problems portfolio managers often face when trying to roll out capability enhancements in their organizations
  • Describes levels of maturity in each of the important areas of portfolio management and demonstrates how to benchmark your organization’s level of attainment, plan for improvements, and continuously graduate to the next level of capability to achieve world-class performance
  • Examines the characteristics of an ideal portfolio manager, strategies for staffing the portfolio office, putting the ideal reporting structure in place in the organizational hierarchy, as well as the role played by the business in enabling the success of portfolio management
  • WAV offers a Capability Measurement Tool Kit—available from the Web Added ValueTM Download Resource Center

About the author(s)

Murali Kulathumani, PMP, has over 20 years of IT management experience. He has successfully managed large project portfolios at leading Silicon Valley firms such as Cisco, Symantec, and Kaiser Permanente. Murali has extensive knowledge of the full spectrum of portfolio capabilities. This leading expert also pioneered a simplified form of earned value management, called mEVM, which has been well received by industry practitioners and a number of organizations. In fact, it has become the standard at a billion-dollar business unit of a leading health care provider in the United States.

Mr. Kulathumani has a technical degree in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University and an MBA from Purdue University. Murali earned the Project Management Professional (PMP)® designation from the Project Management Institute and he is a Certified Scrum Master. He is a published author, consultant, trainer, professional speaker, and has also taught courses as an adjunct professor at Purdue University and the University of Phoenix.

Murali has witnessed first-hand the turnarounds that can take place with proper guidance. This motivated him to share his expertise and to formalize this body of knowledge in the form of a book that explains in detail how to effectively manage project portfolios in real-world practice. His goal is to help practitioners and companies that have been struggling to implement portfolio management because there hasn’t been enough guidance about which success factors deliver the greatest impact.

Table of Contents

Section I – Key Components of a Portfolio Process

Chapter 1 – The Mission Critical Role of the High-performing Portfolio

Chapter 2 – Portfolio Intake and Assessment

Chapter 3 – Portfolio Annual Planning

Chapter 4 – Portfolio Funding Strategies

Chapter 5 – Portfolio Performance Monitoring

Chapter 6 – Portfolio Rebalancing

Chapter 7 – Portfolio Benefits Realization


Section II – mEVM

Chapter 8 – Introduction to mEVM

Chapter 9 – The Artifacts of mEVM

Chapter 10 – Aggregating mEVM Data for the Enterprise

Chapter 11 – Measuring Strategic Attainment Using mEVM

Chapter 12 – How to Rollout mEVM to the Enterprise

Chapter 13 – Why mEVM Works


Section III – Implementation Strategies for the Real World

Chapter 14 – Common Portfolio Problems and Solutions

Chapter 15 – Portfolio Information Systems 

Chapter 16 – The Politics of Portfolio Management

Chapter 17 – Portfolio Governance


Section IV – The Support Systems that Decide Success

Chapter 18 – Role of the CIO

Chapter 19 – Finance

Chapter 20 – Portfolio Rollout and Change Management

Chapter 21 – The Portfolio Office 

Chapter 22 – The Business




“Many companies have spent a great deal of time and effort on project portfolio management with little ROI to show for it. We finally have a true guide for executives looking to bring sanity, maturity, and visibility to their IT investments.”

Marilyn Weinstein, CEO, Vivo, Inc.

“This is very exciting new book in the sense that it will greatly enhance any CIO’s efforts to improve their company’s portfolio capability maturity.”

Greg Taffet, CIO, US Gas and Electric, Inc.

“If you want mission critical advice for managing your large-scale projects into a strategic portfolio, this is a must-read. Business strategy needs successful execution and this book gives real-world advice.”

Cynthia Nustad, Chief Strategy Officer and former CIO, HMS

“Managing a portfolio of major business investments is one of the most important aspects of the CIO’s job. This book is a great resource that help CIOs ensure that their organization’s dollars are prudently invested and reap appropriate returns.”

Larry Bonfante, Founder, CIO Bench Coach, Award-winning CIO and Author