Exploring the readiness of private sector organizations in the UAE to implement and benefit from Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Organizations use projects to implement their strategies and to create services and products for their customers. Also, many organizations initiate projects to adopt to the market changes and meet customer demands in order to be more competitive in their market. A Multi projects environment is more difficult to manage than having only one project to handle. Project Portfolio Management (PPM) can play an important part in this regard. The purpose of this study is to identify the success factors to be considered before implementing PPM in organizations and to explore the readiness of UAE private organizations with respect to these success factors. In order to achieve this, a literature review was conducted including studies and researches concerning PPM implementation. In addition several interviews were done with project stakeholders including project managers, project sponsors and business heads from various management levels in five different private organizations in Dubai using open ended questions. The findings show that most of the organizations are not ready yet for PPM implementation with respect to the success factors. The findings showed that most of the organizations do not have a full inventory of all their projects running which can open a door for duplicate projects. Further, the findings indicated that not all organizations have their projects mapped to the organization strategy, so projects may get initiated without direct relation to the strategy. Also, it was clear from the findings that not all organizations have in place one point of control to manage all the organization’s projects e.g. a Project Management Office. Furthermore, it was clear from the findings that not all organizations have a standard procedure for projects selection. The procedure might exist in the organization, but it varies from one department to another. Besides, it was found that organizations in the UAE have some of the PPM functions in place such as project selection, resources allocation and reallocation, projects prioritization and reprioritization but none of them track the project benefits after delivery. Also, the findings revealed extra success factors which were not identified from the literature that can help towards successful PPM implementation. The findings showed several factors related to culture which can have a positive impact on PPM implementation. These factors include enforcing a culture of accountability and ownership, promoting a culture of consolidation and adopting best practices and promoting culture of process efficiency. Moreover, the findings showed the importance to consider rigorous project selection and post review of the project benefits after the product or project launch. The study came up with several recommendations for the organizations in the UAE for a successful PPM implementation. This includes mapping projects to the organization strategy, cascading the strategy to the lower level managers and employees, deploying the concept of Project Management Office(PMO) as one point of control for all organization projects, enforcing rigorous project selection and evaluation process , enforcing culture of accountability and ownership among managers, promoting culture of process efficiency in the organization and post review of project benefits after the project delivery.
private sector organizations, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), United Arab Emirates (UAE), project managers, organization strategy