Project portfolio management often seems complex because some managers overcomplicate it to amplify their value. While it's no walk in the park to master, getting started and making initial impactful changes to the organization is very achievable.
Selecting the right initiatives to do is not as easy as it seems.
Expectation = select whatever brings the most $$$!
Reality = low-risk/low-return or high-risk/high-return? Revenue time horizon? Enable new future directions or earn more $$$ now? Sidetrack to grab a time-limited opportunity or pass? Leverage existing competences or develop new competences? etc.
Figuring out what to work on - especially when the organization is trying to accomplish many things at once = portfolio management.
I'll start with the biggest misconception I hear all the time.
Project portfolio management is not "project management but big". They are entirely different disciplines.
Project management is about delivery. Make a plan and execute on it.
Project portfolio management is about effectiveness and maximizing value. Select and prioritize the right initiatives to do the right thing at the right time.
Doing the right things is as important - if not more important - than doing things right.