This is the management of a group of projects which have been grouped into a portfolio.
Why? Projects are often grouped into portfolios when they are too small to require or justify a dedicated separate project management structure.
Thus one project manager may be responsible for delivering a group of projects, which don’t necessarily have any consistent factor or interdependency (hence, not a programme). The portfolio is likely to consist of a regular changing group of projects - as one is completed and delivered, another initiates to take its place within the portfolio. Hence each project is likely to have very different timescales and delivery dates, objectives, constraints, stakeholders and teams.
But each one is a project, requiring proect management.j
Which is harder, Portfolio or Programme Management?
It’s a matter of opinion.
A good portfolio manager, who’s never managed a programme, will find programme management hard. But equally, an adept programme manager with little experience of portfolio management will decide that programme management is definitely easier!
Portfolios will comprise of a number of unrelated change activities, the portfolio manager needs to be an adept project manager, highly flexible, and comfortable in a pressured, multi-tasking role. But as each component of the portfolio is only a comparatively small project, the portfolio manager must get their job satisfaction from “keeping the balls in the air” rather than the more in-depth challenge of the more complex projects and programmes.