Welcome! To our 2nd instalment of 'Ask the Trainer,' where we take a quick tea break with one of our SPOCE lead trainers to answer a few of the burning questions posed to them by you, our clients and delegates. This month our pitstop Q&A session is with one of our seasoned trainers and delegate favourite, Julia Gosse! Bringing a ray of sunshine to any classroom...

Question 1: What are the key advantages to using the Axelos Management of Portfolio (MOP) approach?

Answer: Doing the right things and doing them in the right way, that’s the MoP mantra.

The terms of reference for any senior management team include setting the strategic direction of the business. The question is, how far do they actually know that the projects and programmes they are investing in are taking the organisation in the right direction?

Doing the right things in order to deliver the benefits required from the strategic direction requires review of what you are currently investing in, looking at the gap between where you are and where you want to be and identifying what you could invest in to fill the gap. This will often require a fair amount of prioritisation. MoP includes different techniques that can be used in identifying the optimum portfolio of programmes and projects that is achievable within your resource and funding limitations.

Doing them in the right way to optimise the chances of delivering the required benefits to the organisation requires mature project and programme management practices. This is where the Axelos best practice Managing Successful Programmes and PRINCE2 can be applied to help deliver change while obtaining real, measurable business value.

MoP provides another big advantage plugging the big black hole that benefits management often falls into at the end of a project or programme. It is able to take up the benefits management gauntlet and review the benefits expected by the organisation well into operational use.

Question 2: What made you want to focus on portfolio management in your career?

Answer: It was a natural progression from project management to programme management and from programme management to portfolio management.  As a consultant I give advice on delivering programmes and projects effectively and often the first question to ask is why are you doing this and where does it fit in your strategic plan. I was at an organisation, which shall remain nameless, where they are in the ridiculous situation of not being able to close a project because no one knows who authorised it, crazy, or what! Too many projects are ill conceived, with little or no alignment to strategy. My work also brings me into contact with great practice out there which inspires and excites me. The variety of different environments that I get the chance to work in is enormous. In just one month I have worked for a recruitment company, a space exploration company, a large financial institution and waste management for a local authority. I am always learning which l love.

Question 3: What tips do you have for keeping the momentum going after the excitement of initial implementation wanes?

Answer: Don’t try and tackle all of the issues in one go. A staged or incremental approach is often best. Keep it on the agenda for senior management focus. You can’t implement full portfolio management quickly, it takes time to fully embed it but you can make a difference in the short term, learn from it and further enhance and refine your processes.  The trick then is to keep it sustained and to keep measuring the difference portfolio management is having. Not only are you measuring the benefits that the outputs and outcomes of your projects are delivering, you also need to measure the benefits that portfolio management itself is delivering.

Question 4: Who would benefit from MoP training?

Answer: Those involved in a range of formal and informal portfolio management roles encompassing investment decision making, project and programme delivery, and benefits realisation.

It is relevant to all those involved in the selection and delivery of business change initiatives including: members of Management Boards and Directors of Change; Senior Responsible Owners (SROs); portfolio, programme, project, business change and benefits managers; and business case writers and project appraisers.

About Julia Gosse

PRINCE2®, PRINCE2 Agile®, Agile PM, APM (PFQ & PMQ), MoP®, Accredited Trainer

Julia is a highly experienced and senior member of the SPOCE Project Management Ltd Training Delivery Team. She has a wealth of experience in the Project management training delivery and has the delivery of a number of PM approaches under her wing including MoP.

Over the past 25 years she has provided project management consultancy and training to a wide range of organisations both public and private sector, including a number of overseas assignments. She has gone on to undertake a wide variety of consultancy and implementation roles with various SPOCE clients including the development of project and portfolio training with; Poole Council, Ordnance Survey, Moorhouse Consulting, Oxford University and British Airways, to name but a few.

Julia holds a Bachelor of Education Degree.

What people say about Julia...

"Julia was patient and excellent throughout" Nick, British Army

"Brilliant trainer, someone who everyone would like as a mentor." Kevin, LDN

"Course trainer was both helpful and excellent" Marcin KN


SPOCE Project Management Limited is a global leader in delivering best practice training for project programme and risk management. They offer a wide range of courses which can be tailored to suit any form of training need. For example, public courses e-Learning, blended learning and client workshops.  SPOCE is the flagship training provider for PRINCE2® and MSP® and were APMGs first ever training provider.

For more information

Call: 01202 736373

email: clients@spoce.com