A Quick Comparison of Top Down/Bottom Up Approaches to Project Portfolio Management

Henry Bennett

It begins with objectives – what marketplace opportunities exist for an organisation’s capitalisation. It moves forward with project implementation – realisation of the monetisation.

It’s the in-between’s that bare the complication. Project selection aligned with business strategy, detailed cost/benefit forecasting and risk analysis. And the daily details entailed with project resource allocation and proactive management.

Visibility accommodating both strategy to project (top-down) and project to strategy (bottom-up) is a necessity today. Also, all involved need standardisation of reporting, collaborating and assessing aspects of projects they’re associated. Cloud-based automated project portfolio management (PPM) is the most productive facilitator of this, enabling a real-time environment where all is captured and communicated via permission-based access scaled to a user organisation’s preference.

Top-down, having an overview of all projects on one dashboard provides confirmation activities commence and continue according to strategy. This ongoing view of each portfolio project enables informed decisions to be made regarding prioritisation, go or no-go stage decisions, when and if to reallocate resources across the portfolio. It provides a rich understanding of potential consequences (good ones and otherwise) of every change in scope, with drill down capabilities through each project as beneficial.

Bottom-up facilitates standardised notification and reporting processes for resource use with project management, ensuring capability and availability as necessary. This is where the Cloud-enabled collaboration happens – those on a project team are able to document and share aspects they’re working on, keeping everyone in the know. People realising their contribution’s fit within the project help keep all informed, motivated and empowered. Project managers and executives are kept aware of progress, as well as potential pitfalls, both beneficial to planning.

Whichever of the two views an organisation tends to lean, it’s functionally useful to have a SaaS facilitator enabling both. All the PPM tools needed are there, to plan, allocate and view, from strategy through to success.