Sustainability, The Fourth Pillar of Project Portfolio Management – A Holistic Approach
Business leaders recognise that accomplishing tasks through projects allows them to maximise benefits by objectively addressing their organisational constraints, capacities and capabilities. They also acknowledge that sustainability is becoming an essential ingredient for long term economic success. There does, however, remain the key question, what exactly is sustainability and how best to integrate it into the organisational practices, particularly the project environment. This paper pursues the premise that sustainability is strategic and distinct from functional and tactical project management processes. Integrating the principles of sustainability into project management should, therefore, deliver limited outcomes or lack a comprehensive solution that is flexible and adaptable to different business models, functions and situations. Project portfolio management (PPM) on the other hand has a much wider application and perspective. It bridges project management with the overall organisational strategy, goals and objectives. Not only is PPM strategic but it is a continuous process, unfettered by the limitations of individual projects or programmes. This research, therefore, proposes a conceptual framework that incorporates the principles of sustainability in PPM that is unrestricted by industry, allows prudence in resource management, stakeholder management, and validates transparency and accountability. This implies that PPM should extend beyond its current confines of selection and management of the project portfolio to include processes leading to corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting and influences development of best practices which can then be recycled into improving project management and delivering sustainable outcomes.