Who's who in portfolio management: An overview of roles, responsibilities and practices

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Koh, A. (2011). Who's who in portfolio management: An overview of roles, responsibilities and practices. Paper presented at the Oceania Computer Audit Control Security conference: CACS 2011, Brisbane, Australia.

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© Copyright Aileen Koh, 2011


Portfolio management has been acknowledged by the project management community as a tool for optimizing the organizational returns from project investments by improving the alignment of projects with strategy and ensuring resource sufficiency. It aims to optimize the outcomes from project investment across a portfolio and it is also regarded as the governance method for selection and prioritization of projects or programs. Organizations that do not align their project portfolio with organizational strategies and governance will tend to increase the risks of running projects that are low priority initiatives. As a result, there will be critical resource shortages, and investments will not be optimised. Therefore, application of the techniques of portfolio management within the context of organizational governance provides reasonable assurance that the organizational strategy can be achieved.

Portfolio management, however, presents a challenge for middle managers to manage its processes, people and practices. The portfolio management role is supposed to be pivotal in planning and controlling complex project landscapes more effectively and efficiently. Literature indicates that the roles and practices of portfolio managers vary and need to be adapted to organizational situations.

This paper presents the qualitative study, using an inductive interview based approach with six portfolio managers from six organizations in Australia. The results from the qualitative study are used to validate the research model developed on the basis of previous research and develop the constructs for the concept of portfolio context and the roles, responsibilities and practices of portfolio managers. This study paves the way for an empirical study on the managerial and theoretical implication on project portfolio management.

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