The Project/Program Metaphor Thing Again

After a long (OK very long) break due to my diversion into Managed Services (another very interesting part of Consulting) I was prompted to respond to a comment on my metaphor for illustrating the difference between projects and programs…

To recap the original post and subsequent reprise you can find them here and here

Hi Andrew..
the difference b/w Project and program is well said.
if you can add Portfolio management to the metaphor it will be great to
see all of them together.
Commenter name: Nagabhushanam

Indeed – a very good question.

Portfolio management (in the context of projects and programs) is the process you use to decide which programs to implement, and within each program, which projects to implement. Or which ones to kill.

At the most basic level the process (I guess) should have some objective, documented, criteria (cost? benefit? risk? feasibility?)   that support the choice making process.

I am resisting the idea of trying to stretch the metaphor to include portfolio management (regional planning councils? air traffic control?) simply because engineering metaphors to cover more examples is a bit like explaining why a particular joke is funny. As soon as you do that it isn’t funny.

So I welcome any thoughts on other illustrative metaphors applicable to the world of P3M (Projects & Program Portfolio Management) – if only because a better set of metaphors makes it easier to explain the world of the Project Lifestyle to those affected by it…

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Projects have become a lifestyle in business. Lets get good at them.

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