A Portfolio Management and Benefits approach

to improving the Health and Wellbeing of people living in the Mid West of Ireland

‘A Step in the Right Direction for the Health and Wellbeing of the Mid West 2018’



By Seamus Woods

Chief Projects Officer, Portfolio Management Office
Mid West Community Healthcare



PMO Vision: Right projects the Right way by 2020


Mid West Community Healthcare

Mid West Community Healthcare is one of nine Community Healthcare Organisations areas across Ireland and provides services to the people of Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. Community Healthcare is the name we give to the range of health and social care services provided by the Health Service Executive outside of the acute hospital system.  The Mid West Community Healthcare area has a population of 384,998 as per the 2016 Census. This is an increase of 5,671 which represents a growth of 1.52% on the 2011 Census.

A Portfolio Management Office (PMO) was set up in April 2017 to provide support to the Senior Management Team in building an effective change portfolio, aligned to the organisations strategic objectives and ensuring appropriate governance is in place to better authorise and manage the on-going initiatives.

A Portfolio Framework ‘Vision to Reality by 2020’ (See Appendix I) was developed and agreed at an early stage to oversee and manage the organisation’s Portfolio going forward and to provide assurance to the Chief Executive Officer that the Portfolio was balanced and being implemented in an appropriate fashion.

As can be seen from the Portfolio Framework, the initial stage gate was to be underpinned by a clear strategic approach. The development of a Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the Mid West Community Healthcare Organisation provided an early opportunity to consider such an approach.

In meeting our PMO Vision of ‘Right Projects Right Way’, the challenge in developing a Health and Wellbeing Strategic Plan was to:

  • Create a Portfolio of projects that the Mid West Community Healthcare Organisation believe would optimise the delivery of its vision for the health and wellbeing of the community,
  • Select projects that were more likely to have maximum strategic contribution across all aspects of the strategy and organisation and not just service performance,
  • Ensure a Portfolio review process to check progress against the strategy.

In many organisations, even when there is a clear organisation strategy, there is the practical complication of choosing both the right initiatives and choosing amongst competing initiatives in order to determine the right portfolio that will achieve the strategy itself. This dilemma is sometimes further complicated by ensuring not only the right initiatives are chosen but also that there is a balance of projects across the portfolio to ensure that the key stakeholder outcomes are delivered.

To meet these challenges and to progress passed Gate 1 of our PMO Portfolio Framework, two key portfolio approaches were applied:

  • A Strategy Mapping Methodology (Kaplan and Norton),
  • A Benefit Realisation Management Approach to inform outcomes/measures (Gerald Bradley).

The Approach to developing the Mid West Strategic Plan

The Health and Wellbeing approach, set out in the Healthy Ireland Framework 2013, is to enhance the capacity of people and communities to maximise their health and wellbeing. Given the multifaceted impact of wider social issues on health and wellbeing, health services alone cannot address the complex health related problems in society today, therefore the approach will require involvement and collaboration with other sectors, agencies and communities. The people of the Mid West will be better supported to improve their health and wellbeing by services working together, using a prevention model that focuses on partnership work and the use of local services to build the capacity of people living in the community and therefore improve their health outcomes. To be truly effective, solutions are needed at a local level that are built upon the foundation of prevention and early intervention.


To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Woods, S. (2018). A Portfolio Management and Benefits approach to improving the Health and Wellbeing of people living in the Mid West of Ireland – ‘A Step in the Right Direction for the Health and Wellbeing of the Mid West 2018’, case study, PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue IX – September.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pmwj74-Sep2018-Woods-step-in-the-right-direction-case-study.pdf


About the Author

Seamus Woods

Dublin, Ireland




Seamus Woods, IPMA-A, PMP is Chief Projects Officer, Portfolio Management Office, Mid West Community Healthcare, Ireland. He was previously an Assistant National Director (Senior Portfolio Manager) in the Irish Health Service Executive and a faculty member of the Irish Institute of Project Management. He has over 30 years of experience at Senior Management level within the Health Services and more than 25 years’ experience of project management and change management as a practitioner, instructor and leader.

Working initially in the former Mid-Western Health Board he held senior roles at Board, Strategic and operational levels across a range of services. With the advent of the new health Service Executive in 2004 Seamus set up and led a national projects office for the community services sector .In 2010 he was seconded to Children services to programme manage the setting up of a new national Children’s Agency (TUSLA) and its associated Reform programme. He returned to the Health Service Executive in 2013 as Head of Portfolio Management for the Health Reform Programme.

Seamus can be contacted at [email protected]