A Song for Portfolio Management

I completely forgot that I recorded this song about portfolio management 5 years ago! I recorded it in the style of Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) for a conference and I stumbled upon it a few nights ago – it made me chuckle.

Even though its 5 years old, I thought now is a good time to share it again because AXELOS will be publishing my white paper very soon, “The Ying Yang of Portfolio Management”  comparing PMI’s Standard for Portfolio Management, and AXELOS’s Management of Portfolios.

One of my key points in the white paper is the need for people to use the magic of both standards together rather than focusing on one of them.  With that in mind, the sentiments in this song are perhaps more suitable for every portfolio management professional today, more so than they were 5 years ago.

If your ears can’t handle the mono-tone vocal genius in this song for the full 5 minutes, you can read the lyrics below.

Everybody’s Free To Use Portfolio Management…and download this song if they want it, enjoy.




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Lyrics: Everybody’s Free (To Use Portfolio Management)

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2011, use portfolio management

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, portfolio management would be it. The long term benefits of using portfolio management have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advise has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience

I will dispense this advice, now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your portfolio office.  Oh never mind you wont understand the power and beauty until its managed by a true professional.

Trust me, in 12 months you’ll look back at your projects and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how many benefits you thought laid before you, and how unrealistic they really were.

A portfolio delivery strategy is not as fat as you imagine.

If you’re not managing your portfolio risks, worry.  And know that not actively managing your portfolio risks is as dim-witted as trying to create a portfolio dashboard using bubble gum.

The big troubles in your portfolio are apt to be the things that were highlighted months ago but nobody made a decision, the kind that creep up on you with a red rag status on some idol Tuesday.

Pick one stakeholder every day and stay hello.

Don’t be wreck less with existing projects, but don’t put up with wreck less people that cant prove their projects add value.

Categorise, don’t waste your time on projects that don’t support your corporate strategy, you’ll find some that will, you are bound to find some that don’t. If they don’t stop them, because in the end its all about their contribution to your strategic objectives.

Remember the communication plan, forget the politics, if you succeed in doing this tell me how.

Keep your portfolio governance document close to you, but throw away your old consultancy invoices.

Prioritise, maybe its mandatory, maybe its not, maybe it will enable something else, maybe it wont, maybe there’s no business cases, maybe your projects are the best in the world. Whatever stage your at don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either.  Your portfolio investment choices are about to improve and so is your organisation.

Respect peoples energy, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or people that don’t believe in it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever know.

Plan.  People need to see a picture of the future, it gives them direction. They will follow you.

Do not fear portfolio reviews they will only help you get better.

Get to know your Direction Group, it wont be long until they’ve moved onto their next job.

Be nice to secretaries, they are the best link to stakeholders and the people most likely to get you into a meeting when you really need it.

Understand that people come and go, but if the portfolio process is good enough it will hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps between project delivery and business as usual.  Because the older you get the more you realise that your all one big team and everyone wants the same thing.

Visit your stakeholders more than once, only leave them when their happy.

Meet all your project managers once a month, don’t leave them before you bought them a bevvy.

Benefits, accept certain inalienable truths.  Cracking benefits management properly is tough, some people wont want to do it.  You too will get frowned upon for challenging them, when you do, you to will realise that you are not wrong.  All benefits must be measured, benefits must have business owners, and people should know portfolio management basics.

Know portfolio management basics, don’t expect anyone else to support you.

Maybe you have a big PMO, maybe you have a big budget, but you never know when either will get cut.

Don’t take too long to create your portfolio delivery roadmap, or by the time its published it will be old news.

Be careful whose advise you buy and make sure they have made some big mistakes in their careers. Experience is a form or nostalgia, learning from it means showing off your war wounds from the past and being proud of them… but trust me on the management of portfolios.

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