Development of a project portfolio management model

for executing organisational strategies: A normative case study



By Martin J. Smit

Johannesburg, South Africa



This research study is a normative case study to develop a portfolio management model for a State Owned Enterprise in South Africa to effectively implement and embed portfolio management best practices. The implementation of the recommendations resulting from this research will improve the maturity of portfolio management processes and contribute towards the State Owned Enterprise becoming a high agile organisation by ensuring that projects and programmes align to the strategic objectives to deliver the required strategic results. The research study also expands the theory/body of knowledge on portfolio management models and the steps to be followed to successfully implement and embed portfolio management best practices. The portfolio management model and the implementation steps can be used by other organisations as a blueprint for implementing portfolio management best practices.

KEYWORDS: qualitative research, normative case study; organisational strategy execution; portfolio management model; portfolio management best practices, portfolio management implementation steps


The purpose of research in science of engineering and technology management is to provide theoretical knowledge and practical techniques to better manage technology-based organisations to shape and accomplish strategic and operational objectives (Adapted from Buys, 2014)

Various research studies show that organisations struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-by-day implementation (PMI, 2014a & b; Morris and Jamieson, 2004; Sull, Homkes, & Sull, 2015). These studies also show that organisations are not effectively implementing and applying portfolio management best practices to achieve strategic results. Portfolio management helps organisations to manage the multitude of simultaneous projects and programmes ongoing in the organisation. Implementing and embedding portfolio management best practices ensure that the “right” projects and programmes that collectively make the greatest contribution to an organisation’s strategic objectives are selected and the “wrong” ones are stopped.

The key focus of the research study was to develop a portfolio management model that can be applied to implement and embed portfolio management best practices in a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) in South Africa. Proper implementation and embedment of portfolio management best practices will enhance effective decision-making to select, categorise, prioritise, optimise and balance, authorise, plan and manage the right projects and programmes and allocate the limited resources (e.g. funds and manpower) available to deliver strategic results effectively and maximise business value. A survey conducted by the researcher to establish the current state of portfolio management in the SOE revealed the following results:


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About the Author

Martin J. Smit

Republic of South Africa

Martin Smit
is a Project Management Specialist/Consultant/Advisor and works in the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) of a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) in South Africa. He has almost 40 years of experience in construction-, project-, outage-, and maintenance management. Martin has extensive experience in the development and application of project life cycles methodologies and best practices. He is certified as a Project Definition Readiness Assessment (PDRA) facilitator. He is also certified to facilitate learning and conduct outcomes based assessments and has developed and presented various project and outage management training courses within the SOE.

Martin has an MSc (Management of Technology and Innovation) in the domain of Project Management. He is registered as a doctoral student at the North-West University in South Africa. He is a Project Management Professional, Professional Construction Project Manager and a Professional Technologist (Engineering). He has been a speaker at various conferences and seminars. He can be contacted at [email protected].