PortfolioStep Process Overview

The PortfolioStep Portfolio Management Process has a life cycle that consists of four major sequential phases or activities. These are: Prepare; Plan: Execute; and Harvest. These phases in turn encompass the ten steps described in this PortfolioStep process. The harvesting activity refers to the reaping of the benefits, assessing their value and feeding the findings back into the preparation phase of the process, in order to establish continuous improvement, and thus completing the cycle.

Hence, PortfolioStep™ is a repeatable process of preparing for, planning, executing and harvesting the value of work as a business portfolio. However, you cannot start the planning and executing portions of the process without understanding two fundamental areas.

  1. You must grasp the nature and extent of the work that you want to manage as a portfolio. Once this is defined, you will have established the scope of your portfolio

  2. You must reach agreement on the things that are important to your organization so that you have the context to make work prioritization and balancing decisions

PortfolioStep takes all of this into account and does not assume that you have any of the prerequisite information ahead of time. However, you can see from the illustration above that managing a business portfolio ultimately involves the whole organization if the true value of the portfolio management effort itself is to be realized in the value of the benefits derived. As we shall explain later, we characterize this "whole organization" in three parts:

  1. Executive

  2. Project Management

  3. Operations

The reason for this separation is because each group has a very different management responsibility and perspective that you need to understand to see how comprehensive portfolio management fits into the whole organization. It means that you must have full cooperation between all three if you are to reap the full benefit of portfolio management.

PortfolioStep Life Cycle

PortfolioStep (PS) and its life cycle consists of ten "steps" that may be viewed as "steps", "phases" or "stages" depending on the terminology used in your organization and these steps are best summarized in tabular form. The following table shows each of the steps in the PS model, where the responsibility falls in the organization, and the TenStep practice that should be followed to execute the step.




TenStep Practice


PortfolioStep Setup


Executive management & PortfolioStep


Identify Needs & Opportunities


PS function



Evaluate Options

PS function



Select Work

PS function



Prioritize Work

PS function



Balance and Optimize the Portfolio

PS function



Authorize the work

PS function



Plan & Execute Work

(Projects, Programs, & Other Work)


TenStep, LifecycleStep, SupportStep & PMOStep


Report on portfolio status

PM &Operations

TenStep, LifecycleStep & PMOStep


Improve the portfolio
(Launch products, harvest benefits, feedback and change strategy)

PS function, Operations
& Executive

Executive management, Operations &

Figure 300.0-1: The complete PortfolioStep Portfolio Management Process

Each of the steps listed in the table are consistent with the sequence recommended by the Project Management Institute's standard and form the basis of separate chapters later in this process description. For consistency with the PMI terminology, these chapters are titled and numbered as follows: Categorization (310); Identification (320); Evaluation (330); Selection (335); Prioritization (340); Portfolio Balancing (345); Authorization (350); Activation (355); Portfolio Reporting & Review (360); and Strategic Change (370). For an overview of these steps, please see 300.3.1 Brief Description of the Ten Steps.

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