Sustainability, The Fourth Pillar of Project Portfolio Management – A Holistic Approach


  • Javed Afzal Mohammad University of West London United Kingdom
  • Yu-Chun Pan NCH at Northeastern United Kingdom



Sustainability, Project Portfolio Management, Project Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability Reporting, Best Practices, Process Maturity


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.

Author Biographies

Javed Afzal Mohammad, University of West London United Kingdom

Javed Mohammad has an MSc with Distinction in Applied Project Management (University of West London) and is a graduate of the Pakistan Military Academy. He has 28 years’ experience working in the technology sector within sales, commercial, project management and product development in the UK, Europe, Middle East and South Asia. He is an ex-mountaineer, loves travelling and an avid reader of history.

Yu-Chun Pan, NCH at Northeastern United Kingdom

Yu-Chun is an Associate Professor in Digital Transformation and Project Management at New College of the Humanities (NCH at Northeastern). He leads the BSc (Hons) Project Management with Digital Technology and co-leads the MSc Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist degree apprenticeship programmes. He has a MSc in Strategic Supply Chain Management (University of East Anglia) and a PhD in Business Informatics (University of Reading). He is also a qualified PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments), PRINCE2 Agile, MSP (Managing Successful Programmes), and P3O (Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices) practitioner. Prior to joining NCH at Northeastern, he was a Senior Lecturer in Project Management at University of West London (UWL), where he led a number of digital degree and higher apprenticeship programmes. Yu-Chun is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was nominated for the National Teaching Fellowship in 2019.


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How to Cite

Mohammad, J. A. ., & Pan, Y.-C. . (2022). Sustainability, The Fourth Pillar of Project Portfolio Management – A Holistic Approach. The Journal of Modern Project Management, 9(2).