Title:Project Portfolios in Dynamic Environments: Organizing for Uncertainty
Author:Yvan Petit, PhD, MBA, PMP and Brian Hobbs, PhD, MBA, PMP
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More and more, businesses are looking at portfolios to provide the organizing structure for implementing strategy. But, as the focus widens from project to portfolio, more factors come into play, adding to the uncertainty that can confound the best of efforts.

Project Portfolios in Dynamic Environments: Organizing for Uncertainty is a comprehensive report of research that addresses this important, rising issue. Authors Yvan Petit and Brian Hobbs present the results of their investigation in a report that significantly advances the theory and also offers tips for practice.

Currently, those applying project portfolio management tend to focus on the selection, prioritization, and strategic alignment of projects. Little attention is afforded the potential disturbances to project portfolios such as new projects, terminated projects, delayed projects, incorrect planning due to high uncertainty, and changes in the external environment. Yet, these factors can have highly disruptive, even show-stopping influence. This research seeks to answer: How is uncertainty affecting project portfolios managed in dynamic environments?

The authors adopted an uncertainty management rather than a risk management perspective. Traditional risk management deals with events, a scope simply too narrow for the matter at hand. They also used “dynamic capabilities” as a framework to study the management of project portfolios. In this framework, resources and capabilities must be constantly reallocated and re-optimized to adapt to changing environments. Initial research showed that this, too, was inadequate, so the authors developed an enhanced model that provides more flexibility to meeting changing environments.

The text is a masterpiece of research reporting. Rigorous and detailed, it may be a challenge to nonacademic readers. But this is not intended to be a casual, airport read. It is a serious presentation about serious things. In the end, it provides a new and better understanding of complex matters and a foundation for further research.

The literature review is a tour de force on current thinking. It is not just a summary of what has been done, but a solid, complete foundation that underpins the research that follows. Detailed descriptions of the conceptual framework and mythology also aid in understanding of the subsequent research and data collection.

Results are plainly presented and include implications for both theory and practice. At the end of the book, as throughout, a rich set of graphics illuminates complex discussions with clear pictures that simplify and clarify. This is a report to be read—and to be used—now and in the future.
Publisher:Project Management Institute
Date Published:2012
PMI Product ID:00101338401
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