How product managers can master product portfolio management

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Portfolio management is a crucial aspect of product development that helps organizations strategically allocate resources, balance projects, and align their product innovation efforts with overall business goals. By understanding the essentials of portfolio management, product managers and leaders can better position their ideas, defend resources for their projects, and contribute to the organization’s success. This article explores the fundamentals of portfolio management, its goals, and frameworks for structuring portfolios, and provides insights on aligning product innovation projects with organizational strategy. It also discusses the importance of portfolio management for product managers, the characteristics and goals of portfolios, and the common approaches to linking portfolios to strategy.


In the world of product development, portfolio management plays a vital role in helping organizations prioritize projects, allocate resources effectively, and ensure that their product innovation efforts align with the overall business strategy. As Peter Drucker famously stated, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation.” Portfolio management is the key to driving successful innovation and creating products that customers love.

For product managers and leaders, understanding the essentials of portfolio management is crucial. It not only helps them better position their ideas and defend resources for their projects but also enables them to contribute more effectively to the organization’s success. By mastering portfolio management, product professionals can ensure that their organizations focus on creating the right products that drive innovation and deliver value to customers.

Understanding Portfolio Management

What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of projects or products that a company invests in and manages strategically. These projects may or may not be related to each other and can be categorized based on various criteria, such as new product ideas, enhancements to existing products, fixes, or research and development initiatives. The portfolio represents the organization’s investment in innovation and its commitment to creating value for customers.

The Role of Portfolio Management

Portfolio management is a decision-making process that involves continuously reviewing and revising the list of active projects to ensure that resources are allocated optimally and aligned with the organization’s strategy. It aims to maximize the value of the portfolio, balance projects based on predetermined criteria, and maintain the right number of projects to avoid spreading resources too thinly.

Portfolio management operates in a dynamic environment where projects are at different stages of completion, and there is no certainty of success for each individual project. However, by managing the portfolio effectively, organizations can increase the overall odds of success across the full range of projects and products.

Why Portfolio Management Matters for Product Managers

Product managers play a critical role in driving innovation within their organizations. They are responsible for creating products that generate revenue, satisfy customer needs, and contribute to the organization’s growth. Understanding portfolio management is essential for product managers for several reasons:

* Positioning Ideas: By understanding the principles of portfolio management, product managers can better position their ideas and align them with the organization’s strategic goals. This increases the chances of securing support and resources for their projects.

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