The Business of Portfolio Management



Book Title:    The Business of Portfolio Management: Boosting Organizational Value Through Portfolio Management
Author:  Iain Fraser
Publisher:  Project Management Institute
List Price:   $44.95 ($35.95 for PMI members)
Format:  Hardcover, 166 pages
Publication Date:   2017
ISBN: 978-1-62825-372-6
Reviewer: Gus Sanchez, PMP
Review Date: April 2018



Hello readers! I attended a recent PMI Chapter meeting (San Antonio, TX, in my case) where they had a table set up in the back of the room with several books, free to anyone who would read one and submit a review. Now, I happen to be a “slow” reader. Unfortunately for me, I never mastered the art of skimming or speed reading so it’s an “effort” for me to accept this challenge – but I did! The title was just too compelling to pass up. Thus, here is my first ever book review! I hope it can be of some help to some to you.

In 2013, I had the good fortune of attending PMI’s PMO Symposium in San Diego, CA. The organization had just published a set of papers showing a huge disparity between what organizations say they wanted/needed and what they actually did. 88% of the organizations researched said strategy implementation was important and 46% said they were good at strategy implementation. However, only 17% said that strategy implementation was strategic! The language did not match the behavior! Fortunately, the symposium went on to cover many topics to help address this challenge, including:

  • “Agility: Reshaping How We Succeed in Business”, by Iain Fraser (yes, the author of this book)
  • “Results Management Office: Moving from Processes to Outcomes”, by Kelley Laird and Ed Panzarella – Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • “The Disruptive PMO: Change, Innovate and Lead”, by Ken Crawford
  • And many, many more awesome presentations (including a great keynote presentation from Daniel Pink)

This was a trigger point for me, professionally, as I fully embraced these simple-to-understand but, unfortunately, super-hard-to-implement concepts of strategic alignment and outcome/value-based work. So, as mentioned above, the book title itself was enough to make me grab a copy. Was it worth my time? Read on…

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is well organized. There are four major sections:

  1. Introduces a Value Management Framework, highlighting why your organization would want to implement/leverage portfolio management.
  2. Covers portfolio management itself. What it is, how it is used, etc.
  3. Talks about delivery techniques. That is, the components that make up a portfolio, like programs (groups of projects) and individual projects
  4. Includes tools for leaders on influencing change and helping their organizations realize the value of portfolio management

Each section breaks down into individual, well-titled chapters that are clearly outlined in the table of contents, making this book a very useful reference guide, letting you easily focus on (or return to) the section/information that pertains to your area of interest or responsibility.

The book is chock full of reference materials. While some material, like opex (operational expenses) vs. capex (capital expenses) and organizational structures (functional, matrix), could be really good for someone relatively new to portfolio management, it may not be as valuable for a seasoned professional. However, it’s all necessary to provide context. Just be aware there may be some sections that may cause you to say “I already know this”.

There are useful diagrams, a decent glossary and a few case studies, allowing you to better see/understand the principles in a practical sense. You will also find helpful techniques (you know, the kind that follow some acronym like H.E.L.P. – Humor, Excite, Listen, Praise).


To read entire Book Review, click here


About the Reviewer

Gus Sanchez

Texas, USA




Gus Sanchez is an experienced cross-functional team project leader specializing in Agile project delivery. He believes in partnering, collaborating and executing initiatives strategically-aligned with organizational goals and has a passion for sharing knowledge and business value delivery.

Gus can be contacted at [email protected]


Editor’s note:  Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the Alamo PMI Chapter in San Antonio, Texas. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Alamo Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI Alamo Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  PMI members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.   

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].