A Brief Introduction to Project Portfolio Governance

Billy Guinan
By | Updated July 26, 2021 | 5 min read
project portfolio governance BrightWork

Trying to run successful project management in an organization without knowing what projects are underway, what projects are planned, and who is doing which work is like flying blind.  

Inevitably, some projects are doomed from the start.


See how to improve project and portfolio management with BrightWork for SharePoint On-Premises [Free video demo]


An article in CIO Magazine shared two interesting anecdotes about poor project visibility:

  • A director of information services in one organization estimated that his department had 20 projects in flight. Turns out, they had 60!
  • In another organization, three project managers arrived at a planning meeting with project plans that all required 100 percent of available resources.


Situations like this are quite common in project management, making strong project portfolio governance essential.

The rest of this article will explore the importance of project portfolio governance in an organization, including a few ways a tool like BrightWork for SharePoint On-Premises can help!


What is Project Portfolio Governance?

The Association for Project Management defines project portfolio governance as:

“the selection, prioritization, and control of an organization’s projects and programmes in line with its strategic objectives and capacity to deliver. The goal is to balance change initiatives and business-as-usual while optimizing return on investment.”



Governance is tied to the overall strategy of the business and aids effective decision-making.


Project Requests and Strategy 

Just because someone has an idea for a project, it doesn’t mean it should happen regardless of where it came from.

You need to have a process in place for collecting and ranking all potential projects and weighing them up against the stated strategic goals of the organization.

That’s what project portfolio governance is all about: ensuring projects have a strategic fit with the organization. It helps senior executives to informed decisions about projects that can deliver value.


Data-Driven Decisions 

Secondly, project portfolio governance provides a mechanism to track project progress. Strong project portfolio governance will give you the visibility to know how projects are doing and know when projects go off-track.


2 Ways to Establish Project Portfolio Governance with BrightWork

1. Project Request Management

One of the most important aspects of project portfolio governance is making sure projects are aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization.  This is about picking the project that will deliver the most value and the highest return on investment.

That’s easier said than done!

To achieve this balance in an objective way, you need a project request management process.  Having a process to manage new project requests helps you manage the whole pipeline – from new requests to ranking criteria, and creating a new project site.

BrightWork has a template called the Project Request Manager for SharePoint On-Premises, which provides the tools and structure you need to manage the pipeline of new projects.

The template is split into four different states: DraftReviewPending Decision, and Approved or Rejected. At any stage, a request can be sent back to the previous step for more information.


BrightWork Project Request Manager Process


The template ensures stakeholders can track the progress of a project request through the process of drafting, reviewing, ranking, and approval.

All requests are tracked in a ‘command center’.

Project Request Management BrightWork SharePoint


Once a request is approved, the relevant project manager can use the original request to launch a new site, carrying over key information to the project. This ensures the new project has the best possible start!

The template also includes a Resource Allocation List, allowing project managers to submit an estimate of required resources with the business case. 

Senior executives can review the proposed resources within the context of the project itself and against upcoming or live projects to understand the impact on the entire portfolio.

That way, projects are sequenced in a logical way based on resource availability. 


2. Project Visibility and Reporting

The second aspect of project portfolio governance is having a reporting structure that provides visibility across all projects that are underway.  BrightWork supports a hierarchical project structure in SharePoint.

Projects are managed in individual sites, bringing all project information into one place.

 BrightWork makes it easy to report across all those sites in a single portfolio dashboard.

Portfolio dashboards roll up data from multiple projects for an ‘at-a-glance report on health’ across all projects.

With this data, senior executives can assess if the portfolio is delivering the intended value or starting to slip.

If a particular project is in trouble, users can drill down into the site to check on issues and take action.

Prefer to use Power BI? The BrightWork Power BI includes interactive portfolio dashboards and a portfolio timeline. 




Project portfolio governance is all about making sure approved projects are aligned with strategic goals and deliver value.

With a project portfolio management solution like BrightWork for SharePoint On-Premises, implementing the business processes and reporting structures required for good project portfolio governance is very straightforward. 

In our free video demo, you’ll see how BrightWork will help you to control portfolios with project request management, real-time portfolio dashboards, and resource allocation.



Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Image credit

Billy Guinan
Billy Guinan

BrightWork Demand Generation Manager • Marketing

Working with a range of B2B SaaS project portfolio management software for nearly 15 years, Billy specializes in best practices and methods of how to leverage Microsoft 365, Teams, Power Platform, and SharePoint to make project management easier. His focus areas are Collaborative Project Management and Template-Driven Project Management on the Microsoft platform. Beyond all things BrightWork, Billy enjoys reading, trying to golf, and walking his pug named Nova.

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