MoP® and PMI - the Yin and Yang of portfolio management

MoP® and PMI - the Yin and Yang of portfolio management

Craig KilfordCraig Kilford (@MrPortfolio) co-authored AXELOS’ global standard for portfolio management - Management of Portfolios (MoP®) and is currently writing an AXELOS white paper that will be the first to officially compare MoP with PMI’s* Standard for Portfolio Management. In this blog, Craig speaks to us about the most prominent similarities and differences between the two standards and gives us a taste of what to expect when the white paper is published this year.

How has MoP® been received since its launch and in what way is it a step forward in managing change in organizations?

Accepting that I am potentially the most biased person in the world to answer this question, I shall answer based on the feedback I’ve had over the years which is that MoP continues to be a game changer for organizations that want to successfully deliver their strategy.

Looking back, timing was a key element to MoP’s launch success: when I started writing the public consultation draft in 2007, only the enlightened few were getting excited about a standard for portfolio management; everyone else was too busy with project and programme management to care. Then the economic downturn hit and suddenly executives had no choice but to make tough decisions such as which change initiatives (projects and programmes) to kill and which to invest in.

There are two ways to make these kinds of decisions: the first is by flipping a coin and the second is by using portfolio management. The intelligent executives went for the latter – the rest are still wasting money trying to figure out the difference between their heads and their tails.

You’re writing a white paper for AXELOS on the similarities and differences between MoP and PMI’s Standard for Portfolio Management – is it not sufficient for people to understand and use either one or the other?

Let’s be very clear on this point: when it comes to portfolio management it’s absolutely the wrong approach for an organization to think it has to choose between PMI or MoP.

If executive leadership teams want to successfully deliver their organization’s strategy, they need to use portfolio management to invest in the right change initiatives, deliver those initiatives effectively and make sure the expected benefits are realized. Show me an executive leader that does not believe this to be a priority and I will show you an executive leader that should not be an executive leader.

To make this happen, portfolio management professionals need to decide if they want to be good or great.  The good ones will choose to understand MoP or PMI, the great ones will understand both. They will understand their organization, its people, its culture and passionately apply portfolio management in a creative, collaborative and energizing way.

What are the most significant similarities and differences between the two standards?

Both standards are aiming for exactly the same thing – to help organizations successfully deliver their strategies. Whilst each standard will take you to the same destination, the vehicle is different and that’s what the white paper will zoom in on.

My advice to people is to think of PMI and MoP as the Yin Yang of portfolio management. Yes they are different, but they complement each other; they are interconnected and it’s the combination of this duality that creates something more powerful than the sum of their individual parts.

Some people love PMI because of the processes and step-by-step instructions. Some people love MoP because it doesn’t prescribe processes and contains real-life case study examples which help people see what success looks like.

It’s important to remember that there are only two global standards in the portfolio management market, so if you’re serious about a career in this specialism I suggest you at least have an understanding of both.

What has been the predominant viewpoint from the community on portfolio management training?

This is a subject close to my heart. As part of writing the white paper I’ve been asking readers of my blog, Mr Portfolio Management, to send me a small paragraph highlighting their experiences of portfolio management training.

I’ve had emails from people in over 15 countries so far, many of whom highlight that portfolio management training added instant value to their day job. Secondly, they’re saying the involvement of senior executives in portfolio management training adds a huge amount of value. However, they also highlighted the difficulty for executives to find time to go on a course, which triggers conversations about the need for more flexible, bite-size learning experiences.

Results from the Project Management Benchmark Report 2015 state that only 20% of portfolio management respondents had 10 or more years’ experience. Why do you think the figure is so low?

I loved that benchmark report and was very happy to see portfolio management added to the census this year. I wasn’t surprised that there’s not many highly experienced portfolio management professionals; after all portfolio management is a comparatively new field compared to project management.

However, what is very positive is growth. The report also indicated that people with fewer than ten years’ experience in portfolio management generally had more portfolio management experience than they did PPM experience. This would suggest a migration from other markets, possibly finance, which is positive especially when you consider PMI’s recent Pulse of the Profession report that stated only 55% of organizations value project, programme and portfolio management.

In my opinion, this number will increase over the next five years and skilled portfolio management professionals will be pivotal because these people are in the perfect position to inspire executives and energize organizations to deliver successful portfolios of change.

'PMI' is a registered mark of Project Management Institute, Inc. PMI is not affiliated with AXELOS. PMI does not endorse any AXELOS Qualifications.

If you would like to provide a short paragraph about your portfolio management training experiences as part of Craig’s white paper please email him at [email protected].

Current rating: 5 (1 ratings)


27 Apr 2018 Guy Grindborg
Alternate text
MoP one of the most crucial standards in the most important area.
You must log in to post a comment. Log in