Yet again it is absolutely essential to involve all the project and program managers in the process and yet again the steps are similar to those involved in deploying project or program best practices, with one main exception at step 2:
Step 1: Define and document a standard portfolio life cycle. This is my own particular take on a portfolio life cycle diagram:
Step 2: Set up a central project database, which is essential to the process.
Step 3: Define the portfolio management processes to support the portfolio life cycle. These can be based on off-the-shelf standards such as the PMI's Standard for Portfolio Management, OGC's Management of Portfolios or a good book on the subject (such as my own Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps). This will put you on level 2 of the CMM matrix for portfolio management.
Step 4: Establish a portfolio office to maintain and develop the processes, or develop the program or project office into the role. This will put you on level 3.
Step 5: Define portfolio reporting standards and metrics and transfer them to the portfolio office to implement, support and maintain. This puts you on level 4.
Step 6: Task the portfolio office with optimising the processes and standards, which takes you to level 5.
Next week I will look at making it all happen, some resources you can use and how to go about it.