Michael Joseph Menard

the author. the message. the power of a book.


A Fish in Your Ear: The New Discipline of
Project Portfolio Management


By: Michael Menard


Extended Book Description


Section one, "Choosing," describes the dilemmas facing executive leadership today. Some of these problems will be recognizable, and others hidden. This section explains the critical role project and portfolio selection plays in any organization’s growth. In short, it’s important, it’s complex, and it’s difficult. The good news is, new holistic advances in human decision-making together with process design and advanced technology, are coping with ever-increasing complexity. The first two chapters that constitute “Choosing” are written primarily for executive leadership. Grasping the need for a holistic view and avoiding traps is the intention here. Some executives may want to skip the following section which goes into more depth about dynamic process design, data visualization, and portfolio optimization.

Section two, “New Discipline,” is written for the project portfolio management (PPM) practitioner. Some prior project selection knowledge is expected. But an effort has been made to jettison jargon in favor of accessible and plain English. The concepts are presented as simply as possible, without loss of integrity. For the PPM-practitioner-in-a-hurry, chapter seven, on portfolio optimization, is the critical segment of the book. For you, if you read nothing else, read this chapter.

Section three, “Humans,” is a road map of how to drive necessary change in human perception and behavior in order to build, integrate, and sustain a PPM capability.

In short, Michael Menard’s extensive experience delivers a “soup to nuts” program for the project selection process: thorough, comprehensive, and meticulous. And since modern business is a project-based world, one would assume that corporations spend the majority of their time perfecting the project selection process and Menard’s detailed, step-by-step guide is merely a reference point. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth. Every day smart managers and executives make poor decisions when it comes to the selection process and it has proven to be the most difficult area for most corporations to master. Yet if Menard’s compelling case that project selection is more critical to business success than strategic planning is true, how is this situation allowed to continue?

Not surprisingly, due to the inherent difficulty and the lack of focus on improving this process it is something executives and managers don’t do well and therefore are ill-equipped to improve on what they know. In some respects, you can say they are taking shots in the dark. This is why the selection process remains the least understood and most often mismanaged aspect of business today. Menard, however, has now and forever put an end to this dilemma as he has written a breakthrough guide for executives and managers to abruptly change the course of their company—permanently. Beginning with the informative and entertaining history and evolution of cognition and decision-making, author Michael Menard presents a uniquely effective and proven way to clarify and select portfolios of projects that lead to capital-efficient, profitable growth. In clear, engaging, and sometimes witty language, he shows decision-making teams how to maximize project choice, design, and integration. It also sheds light on how the current economic environment is sending leaders “to the bunkers.”

A comprehensive examination of the most critical area for improvement in the majority of corporations today, Menard’s systemic approach outlined here has helped many of the world’s top companies dramatically improve their project selection process. The next competitive advantage for any corporation looking to improve their capital-efficient profitable growth, A Fish in Your Ear: The New Discipline of Project Portfolio Management is the ultimate guide for executives and managers to dramatically improve their project selection process.