While there are similarities between a project manager and a project portfolio manager, they’re different positions with different responsibilities. Let’s take a look at what a project portfolio manager is, what skills and education the position requires and end with a sample job description to help you fill that position.
What Is a Project Portfolio Manager?
A project portfolio manager is a professional who develops and implements portfolio management processes. A portfolio is a bunch of projects and the project portfolio manager has to allocate resources across all the projects in the portfolio efficiently and deliver on the strategic agenda of the organization that has governance over the portfolio.
This requires project management software. ProjectManager is award-winning project portfolio management software that helps project portfolio managers plan, manage and track their projects in real time. Our software gives them features such as resource management and portfolio dashboards that give project portfolio managers a real-time window into workload, cost, time and more metrics to help them steer the portfolio towards its strategic goals.
Project Portfolio Manager Skills
Project portfolio managers need both hard skills and soft skills in order to do all that their job requires. Communication skills are paramount, whether it’s directing teams or reporting to stakeholders. They need analytical skills to collect and understand the data gathered from the portfolio. They should be decisive, work independently and understand project portfolio management methodologies and processes.
Project Portfolio Manager Education
Project portfolio managers are expected to have at least a four-year degree in business administration or a related field. They should know how to use computer information systems and have educational experience in project management. A graduate degree is often required.
Project Portfolio Manager Job Description
For a more in-depth look at what makes an ideal project portfolio manager, below you’ll find a sample project portfolio manager job description. Employees can cut and paste it onto job boards, editing it as needed to better fit the type of project portfolio manager they’re looking for.
Looking for a project portfolio manager who has strong communication and leadership skills to manage a portfolio of projects and deliver the goals and objectives of our organization. The ideal candidate will be a self-starter, independent but also a team player. They will need to allocate resources across a wide range of projects in order to deliver all within their allotted schedule and budget while meeting quality standards.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Establish strategic portfolio plan
- Coordinate the planning and initiation of portfolios at various levels of completion
- Monitor progress, budgets and schedules of portfolio
- Communicate with portfolio and project stakeholders
- Supervise the work of project managers
- Develops criteria for evaluation portfolio and proposals
- Creates rules and procedures for making portfolio decisions
- Compiles and distributes portfolio status reports, budget expenditures, etc.
Requirements & Qualifications
- Knowledge of portfolio management methodologies
- Ability to manage portfolio activities to meet goals
- Graduated from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in the field
- Preferred project management professional (PMP) or portfolio management professional (PfMP) certification
Experience managing project portfolios for at least five years.
Senior Project Portfolio Manager Salary
The annual salary for a senior project portfolio manager can vary depending on where the job is located and the amount of experience the candidate has as well as what industry the company is in. On a national average, the salary for a project portfolio manager is $139,030, which includes the base pay and benefits.
Video: What Do Project Portfolio Managers Do?
What are the major responsibilities of a portfolio manager? That’s the question that Jennifer Bridges, PMP, asks and answers in this short project management tutorial video.
Before answering the question of what a portfolio manager does, Jennifer first defined what a portfolio is. Generically, a portfolio is a collection of several different things. In the context of business, portfolios can be a group of programs or projects, or even groups of other portfolios, with their own programs and projects within.
In larger organizations, with highly structured vertical operations, portfolios can be managed by defined teams and formal “portfolio managers” or PMOs within the organization. In smaller organizations, there might not be a defined title or role of “portfolio manager,” but there very well may be senior managers who are handling multiple projects all under a particular strategic initiative or industry vertical or product line.
So portfolio management is an important way to implement strategic initiatives, and that is part of what a portfolio manager does. But that’s not all. Portfolio managers also:
- Manage one or more portfolios (groups of projects or programs)
- Align programs, projects and operations to strategic objectives
- Measure, rank and prioritize programs and projects. (These are obviously roles usually filled on the executive level.)
Portfolio managers need software to manage all their projects and make sure each is getting the resource it needs when it needs it. ProjectManager is portfolio management software that has portfolio dashboards and roadmaps that show you all your projects in one place. Roadmaps are like Gantt charts with every project on one timeline. You can zero in on resources, durations of tasks and much more. The real-time portfolio dashboard gives you a high-level view of all your projects, including time, cost and more displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts. There’s no time-consuming configuration necessary as with lightweight tools. It’s plug-and-play! Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
Pro tip: It’s important for portfolio managers or teams managing multiple projects to set up the tools that provide visibility across all projects. Watch Jennifer Bridges, PMP, explore key tools for portfolio managers and how to select the right tools for your organization.
Thanks for watching!
ProjectManager is award-winning software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track projects in real time. Our collaborative portfolio management platform connects everyone from the office and allows portfolio managers to oversee all project details in one place. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.