A Practical and Holistic Approach to Engaging Stakeholders in Project Portfolio Management


By Huma Sohrwardy, PgMP, PMP, CSM

Texas, USA

  1. Introduction

This paper presents a practical and holistic approach to engaging stakeholders in Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and using effective communication touch points to achieve successful outcomes. Maintaining transparent communication is a key factor in successfully engaging stakeholders in the process.

Organizations with active project sponsors are more likely to have better project outcomes (PMI, 2013). The stakeholder engagement touch points need to be timely, relevant and most importantly, provide value. Ensuring clarity and understanding of overall purpose and vision including the resulting benefits is an effective approach.

Stakeholder Management best practices offer a variety of approaches from being very formal and structured to being informal and flexible. The key is to find one that best fits an organization’s level of project portfolio management maturity, cultural environment and overall constraints.

The paper briefly emphasizes the importance and context of stakeholder management in project portfolio management and highlights the communication flows and interdependencies between portfolios, programs and projects to present a practical and holistic approach for PPM stakeholder management. The focus is on presenting a consolidated view of key stakeholder engagement in the PPM context than on the specific stakeholder engagement techniques.

The paper is divided into three main sections. The first section describes a high level overview of the PPM core areas, information flows and stakeholders and sets the context for the stakeholder engagement approach. The second section emphasizes the importance stakeholder engagement in PPM followed by a Stakeholder Engagement approach in the third section.

  1. PPM Process, Stakeholders and Information Flow Overview

This section provides a high level overview of the PPM core areas, information flows and stakeholders. It highlights the key PPM stakeholder engagement touch points.  PPM is the coordinated management of portfolio components (i.e. sub portfolios, programs and projects) to achieve specific organizational objectives (PMI, 2008).

The high level PPM process typically encompasses the following core areas as described in Figure 1. These are:


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Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 7th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2013.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and UT Dallas.

About the Author 

flag-usahuma-sohrwardyHuma Sohrwardy, PgMP, PMP, CSM   

Dallas, Texas, USA

Huma Sohrwardy is an experienced IT practitioner with 20+ years of experience in the use and management of Information Technology as a means to delivering business goals and objectives. She has extensive experience in the Healthcare IT, Finance, Manufacturing and public sectors and has worked as a consultant for the Australian Federal Government. Huma is the principal consultant with HZ Technologies, LLC (HZT). The company provides Project Portfolio Management solutions to small and medium sized organizations. HZT is a registered vendor with the Texas State and Federal governments. Prior to starting a career in consulting, she led a PMO in Healthcare IT. She is an avid reader and in her spare time volunteers at the PMI Dallas Chapter. She runs the Chapter’s Book Review Program and has recently started its first Book Club. She has been a guest speaker at the Applied Project Management Forum at University of Texas Dallas. Her presentation on “PPM Implementation” can be accessed at the Jindal School of Management website.

Huma can be contacted at [email protected]