Multilevel value creation in projects, programs, and portfolios: Results from two case studies

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Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Project Management, 2017, pp. 295 - 310
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© Cambridge University Press 2017. Introduction The management of value is an increasingly important process to meet stakeholder expectations on multiple organizational levels. Existing project management research focuses primarily on a single-dimensional perspective of value creation, such that value is either addressed from an organizational or project perspective. From a project portfolio management (PPM) perspective, a key goal is to maximize strategic value across the portfolio to ensure its alignment with organizational strategies. Therefore, seeing the multilevel nature of organizations dealing with multiple projects, programs, and portfolios is to achieve its strategic intent, the single-dimensional approach through typical project management approaches often fails to capture the complexity of value management in a strategic organizational environment. The multiplicity of influences and value expectations of different stakeholders may potentially lead to complex decision conflicts, dilemmas, compromises, and inconsistencies in project, program, and portfolio decisions. This chapter introduces value as a multilevel, multidimensional concept and explores the mechanisms for dealing with value interdependencies across different organizational levels and stakeholder groups, whose expectations of value are often contradicting. It discusses the dimensions of values (i.e., short-term and long-term strategic value, tangible and intangible) occurring at the micro-, meso- and macrolevels, represented by the project, program, and portfolio levels. It presents two case studies of organizations in two different contexts – the public and private sectors, to demonstrate how value is cocreated across these distinct, yet interconnected, organizational layers. The authors argue that project, program, and portfolio value management in organizations is a reciprocal and interdependent process in which macrolevel values (portfolios) shape and are shaped by the values at the meso- (program) and micro- (project) levels. As such, value management within organizational project management (OPM) becomes an iterative process that includes a sensemaking approach, in which the final values for different stakeholders emerge and evolve during the course of the project, program, and portfolio. Value creation is the ultimate goal of any project in an organizational setting and therefore the keystone that brings together the different topic areas discussed in this book. In particular, determining what value means for any stakeholder across the different organizational levels should be part of the strategizing process. It is ultimately the stakeholders that determine what value means, when value is created, and how organizations create value for themselves and for other stakeholders across the different organizational levels using an iterative process.
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