Portfolio Management in Bio/pharmaceutical R&D

The Project Management Institute maintains “The Standard for Portfolio Management” (e.g. second edition, 2008) which is a trans-industry guide.  The book lists all executive functions that impact the corporate project portfolio which include the following functions. 1  Below is an enhanced list of functions.  Portfolio Management is what senior management makes of it.  If one or more persons in your company manage the following functions, then you company practices portfolio management.

  • Categorize and provide portfolio views of projects
  • Evaluate project progress against milestone criteria
  • Select and approve projects for inclusion in the active portfolio
  • Approve projects for advancement into the next stage
  • Select and approve projects for removal from the active portfolio
  • Identify and analyze portfolio risks
  • Develop and monitor portfolio risk responses
  • Prioritize projects
  • Balance or align the project portfolio to current prioritization and strategy
  • Develop and execute portfolio adjustment action plan
  • Review and report portfolio performance with respect to prioritization and current strategy
  • Review and report portfolio resource alignment with prioritization and strategy

The persons performing these tasks may not have a portfolio manager job title or work in a department of portfolio management.  There may be duplicate positions based on stage of Discovery or Development.   And some of these persons may be located in Finance, Corporate Strategic Planning, Resource Management, or report directly to the head of R&D.  Some of these functions may have been delegated to managers of line departments.  It is important that the individuals who perform these tasks communicate with each other.  If no one in the group of managers can say that his or her group performs most of these functions, there could be alignment problems with portfolio management in your company.

  1. Section 3.0 The Standard for Portfolio Management, 2nd Ed. P. 35, Project Management Institute, 2008