Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Semantics of the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) Course

This week, we thought it would be useful to spread some of the joy regarding the development of the new PMI Portfolio Management Professional certification (PfMP), which will add a portfolio level to the PMI's suite of qualifications.

"What is portfolio management?" I hear you say. Well, the official definition from the PMI is "a component collection of programs, projects or operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives." The APMG define it as "the totality of an organisation's investments (or segment thereof) in the changes required to achieve its strategic objectives." Basically, making sure you are doing as much of the right stuff as you can – and demonstrating that you are doing it.

Want one of these? Steve Butler's got the lowdown 
on how to get one. (Courtesy: pmi.org)
To put it in simpler terms, consider a car. You have a nice bright shiny new car. It is of no use to you unless you have the skills to drive it…that is your project management layer – or the ability to maintain it or have it maintained…the operations layer. That enables you to get from A to B.

But what is B? Where are you going? If you are taking three kids to school, it is no good having a sports car. If you are moving furniture around, it's no good having a little four seat saloon car. So the vehicle is programme management layer – it's no good being a really good driver (the project management layer) with really good skills as a car mechanic (the operations layer) if you don't know where you're going.

The final part of the picture is how you are going to get there – if you like, the SatNav bit. How can you most efficiently get to where you are going without sitting in traffic for hours on end, or running out of petrol. Conceptually – the world of portfolio management! It's all about saving money, getting more value out of what you are doing – more bang for your buck. If you consider programme management as "doing the thing right"… portfolio management is doing the right thing.

So the PMI is in the final stages of producing a certification to demonstrate someone's ability and experience at the portfolio layer. What's the point? Well, portfolio management is being adopted more and more - across industries and across the globe. So, there is a corresponding demand for more knowledge, resources and professional recognition. The PfMP credential is intended to validate and demonstrate a practitioner’s knowledge and experience. It will also differentiate practitioners from their non-credentialed peers, and, because it is transferable among methodologies and industries, it helps make them more marketable. It will complement existing qualifications such as the MoP and provide the first globally-accepted credential for the role of a portfolio manager.

We've written before about PfMP, including a useful set of FAQs about how to attain the certification.
Be sure to check out PMI's literature on PfMP development as well.

Steve Butler is Head of Delivery at p3m global. He was a Co-author of the PMI Standard for Portfolio Management, 3rd Edition, and has been a key contributor to other recent PMI publications, including OPM3, 3rd Ed., and Software Extension to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition. earning special distinction as the only co-author based in the UK. Join the PMI Portfolio Management debate on our LinkedIn Group page - hosted by Steve - today.