Skip to content

Portfolio Management: Taming Change

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
The book Taming Change with Portfolio management: Unify your Organization, Sharpen Strategy and Create Measurable Valu is very informative. I received the paperback advance reader’s edition. I’ve been stumbling around it for a while. The hardback formal print run has now been completed and the book is (just).
Terry Doerscher and Pat Durbin have created a comprehensive guide to portfolio management. This guide covers the basics of managing a portfolio with common resources and funding. But it goes beyond that. They write that they are looking at these subjects from a wider perspective, applying portfolio management to organizational changes to manage these change events, deliver exceptional growth and create measurable value.
Durbin and Doerscher basically say that you can manage your entire business using a portfolio management approach. Why is a broad model of portfolio management necessary? We have seen organizations that are more flexible as a result of changing business models.
According to the authors, portfolio management can be used as an overarching business principle.
Use the right decision-making tools
Identify and show how individuals and their actions fit into the larger picture
Assess and measure effectiveness
Performance improvements are possible in the future.

This book is more in-depth than any other I have ever read, even Simon Moore’s excellent book. Moore discusses how to create strategic project portfolios. Durbin and Doerscher focus on the impact portfolios have on organizations.
This approach is interesting for project managers, but PM’s will find it less relevant to their daily work than Moore’s book.
Small-sized managers of all levels will find it difficult to follow the principles, which are often applicable to large companies. If you are a project management company, you can’t have a corporate portfolio.
However, the majority of the thinking will remain the same, even though it may not translate into portfolio managers. You will still need a way of assessing individual investment opportunities, managing an investment portfolio, assesing and managing the work coming in, and a delivery function to execute the work.
Taming Change is not meant to be a radical overhaul of the portfolio model. It’s evolved thinking, which takes the concepts to the next level to extract even more value.
Although there is a lot of information here conceptually, some detail is still worth mentioning. Excellent information is provided in the section on operational planning. The emphasis is on proactivity. “Leadership also has another level to manage its capacity: timing. The authors suggest that operational planning might need to consider slowing down or spreading out the execution of the entire portfolio of initiatives.
Chapter 15 explains that portfolio management processes are not sufficient to deliver products, services, or assets.
Taming Change is a mix of conceptual and practical approaches to portfolio management. It was not an easy read for me, but it was challenging. It wasn’t something you expected to find it easy to get your company to deliver repeatable results.
Here is my summary of the top ten books on change management.