I'm studying the PMBOK Guide together with Head First PMP. I'm confused about the distinction between portfolios, programs, and projects. If I have only one project, do I still have a portfolio?

3 Answers 3


According to the PMBOK, a Portfolio is a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work. So, with only one project, strictly speaking, you also have one portfolio. Also you probably wouldn't call it that...

Portfolio Management then becomes the centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work. So, with only one project, there's really nothing to do here. It all comes down to managing the single project.

The idea behind Portfolios is to leverage synergy effects between projects and to manage multiple projects. Hence, it makes no sense to speak about Portfolios with only one project. The concept is not appropriate for that scenario.


Just to make it a bit clear between Portfolio and Project Management

Portfolio referred to as :

"Doing the right work"

Project Management referred to as:

"Doing the Work right"

So in the Portfolio case you try to get all the projects be evaluated, selected, prioritised and then allocate resources to it. Portfolio process impacts the Project as reprioritisation and maybe termination of the project as well or setting it to be on hold.

Hope this may help


Short answer: Yes

Long answer: Yes, never care what they do or think.

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