MAF707 Investment and Portfolio Management Assignment

MAF707 Investment and Portfolio Management Assignment

MAF707 Investment and Portfolio Management Assignment


The subject matter of dissertation during the first week majored on the pertinence of system thinking to project, program and portfolio administration/management, consisting mostly of the system engineering body knowledge (SEBoK). Moreover, within the main subject matter, other mini topics overlaid were the introduction to system engineering and a follow up of its utilization and implementation (Beringer, Jonas & Georg Gemunden, 2012). During this week of study, I did manage to grasp lots of information technology on the engineering body in addition to the rudimentary definition in connection to the topic (all things pertaining systems and portfolios).



The steps are undertaken or the manner through which anything is performed is referred to a system this involves all the relevant steps required for the system to perform. Collection of entities work together in order to achieve a given set of goals, at the same time, system thinking implies making clear the standards and links in the pertinent or sub parts of the system. When to it comes to a project, this refers to a chain link of almost similar blueprints of ideas that are carried out within a specified timeline that has got its own extension of limitations and prices, whilst a set of instructions that are meant to carry out/ execute specific tasks in a computer refers to a program. On the other hand, loose sheet of paper that is humongous and cased which can be used to carry maps and drawings is known as a portfolio.

Eilam (2012) asserts that the recognition and proper administration of commination that may come up as a result of overreliance and relationships may be dealt with due to the advantageous nature of system thinking, program and portfolio administration when carrying out a project. Furthermore, it creates more platform and gleaming opportunities for invention and innovation which arises skepticism and thus propels quick adjustments and adaptations. In addition to these, it has brought communication to another level where businesses can flourish due to proper and enticing product design.


Given the fact that system thinking refers to standards and principles in the connection the whole system components, it is important to note that portfolio management and utilization of programs when carrying out projects has got no disadvantage due to the conditional transition of data creation. This implies that for the system to fully function, it needs to be directive and project oriented (Eilam, 2015)



During the second week of learning, the main subject matter of discussion was to recognize the various tools of system thinking. That can be utilized by project managers to help them manage and be able to monitor the performance of their projects/ ability to solve arising problems within the project and also how this tools can also inhibit task performance in the project. From my own research and acquisition of information/knowledge in concern to system engineering, have realized that the most commonly used system tools include conceptual model, graphical analysis, matrix, input-output, functional failure , morphological box among others.

Due to the underlying abilities that system thinking has, it contains mechanisms and tools mentioned earlier that can be used by project administrators to understand and how the project flows and the techniques to be utilized during the execution of this projects. Furthermore, these tools aid so much in the know-how of computer facsimile models that are basically used in experimenting to know the level of difficulty of the undergoing project. More so, it is used by project managers to communicate with each other with the aim of solving high level problems that may bring the project to a halt (Eilam, 2012)


Despite the fact that these system tools are advantageous and do help project managers to a greater extent, they still possess some element of disadvantages that can be problematic to project managers who tend to use them more regularly. Given the fact that these system tools are inherently dynamic to changes that occur due to innovation and invention in the technological world, they tend to bring about adversity to administrators as they are regularly changing. This becomes a problem since it is not an easy task to adjust more often to the changes that are happening fast. This may furthermore lead to communication breakdown when the project is running thus becoming cumbersome to monitor the performance and keep truck of the ongoing projects. In this case, project managers need to prepare a blueprint of a project based workflow that entails all the possibilities and how to curb the m before starting their projects. This is important since it helps to curb any eventuality before it occurs thus leading to proper handling of emerging complications (Ahmed, 2018).

c. LO3


During the third week of study in this course of system engineering, attention was drawn to the main topic being evaluating the importance of system engineering to matters pertaining projects. In this case I took great time to learn and understand how system engineering can be of great importance to any given company especially when it wishes to carry out projects that are based on programs. Likewise, it was also necessary to relate the relevance of system engineering to the management of portfolio and how it can be linked with other technologies to bring about proper workflow in project management.

With this in mind, it became my obligation and key interest to comprehend the way system engineering function and how it can be utilized in an organization with the stocks of competence to ensure smooth flow of work and project. It is quite important to know that system engineering is basically meant to make sure that at all cost the client rather the customer’s needs are met. This therefore means that when dealing with system engineering, it is necessary to ensure that all client platforms are successfully modified to bring about easy usage (Eilam, 2015). This may include the following areas of concerns; regular affirmation and design, quality products to customers. This majorly consists of enhancing the platform to be more reliable to the consumer.

Furthermore, from what I have learnt concerning the nature of system engineering, unlike the olden days where major decisions were done manually without analysis of current, past and coming issues, system can help in making better and more informed decision since it can be used to keep track of past reports and current. With this information at hand in the organization, it can be compared thus giving a clear picture of the direction the project should take for it to go smoothly (Ahmed, 2018).


Another advantage that system engineering contains is the ability to facilitate learning. There is no more need for the directors and managers of a project to struggle learning manufacturing away from their projects. The systems provides an opportunity to all members of the organization to learn as it contains platform that enables them to learn new knowledge and put it into practice immediately.

The absence of system engineering especially in project management can be chaotic seen project managers may end up mismanaging their projects. In this case, system engineering is rudimentary/basic to the administration of any given project and portfolio. It can be used by the administrators of the project to increase their level of competence in administration of projects at hand. To sum up, system engineering entails proper management and application of project based work for enhanced management of technicalities.

e. LO4


Week four majorly focuses on the procedures and apprehension within system engineering. It also concerns itself with how (SE) can be used to help administrators of projects to manage and arrange their schemes appropriately. This in turn made me to develop interest in learning more about the application of systems approach and how it can be utilized by administrators of projects to recognize a niche/opportunities or adversities that may come along. This in turn will facilitate the organization using this kind of technology to arrive at better and more informed choices that may take the organization to greater level.


When it comes to system engineering, the main points and major concepts of concern involve what should and must be done by the system, (Wasson, 2015) this may entail the design and assessment of the appropriateness of the system. In connection to this, other sets of standards that should be considered when looking for the best system to use are the ambience of the system, the worth of the system together with the integrative or multidisciplinary based on the philosophical system design. When it comes to methodologies rather procedures, they involve fields such as software programing, assurance of the quality processes in addition to system engineering that are mostly interspersed into measurable and predetermined lifestyle.

Project managers are at a greater age of benefitting since systems approach allows them to characterize and come up with profits due to its ability to sense what might occur thus giving it opportunity to stretch the profits and aim at the major goal of developing the overall population. More so, it opens opportunities for those in charge of the projects to be able to keep track of profit and loss thus ensuring that they can maximize on the benefit reviewed(Wasson, 2015).

Project managers furthermore find it much easier to manage their project by using systems approach to curb the adversities facing them. This is capable since systems approach has the ability of recognizing and characterizing problems through the use of system thinking, thus, building and assessing various solutions thus coming up with a viable solution mix. Given the fact that choices and preference should be considered before selecting a system to be used by the project manager, it is important come up with a system approach that can clearly meet the project’s specification to minimize the extent of problems found and improve the success during execution of the project.

f. LO5


In the case of week five, the main subject matter of study involves the analysis and synthesis of the advantages of setting aside appropriate project administration and utilization of systems with the aim to achieve the scheme (Willcocks, 2013).with this in mind, it became my biggest concern to get the knowledge understanding of the advantages through which proper selection of projects to be undertaken and how they can be useful to project administrators in curbing critical adversities and impromptu decisions. After a wide load of research and doing of assignments, it helped me understand the basis of selecting (PMIs) that helps to promote those in the business of selling software.

Many are the factors that affect the selection of good project systems. These factors depend mostly on the utilization of the system in line with proper know how of the masterplan and effective problem solving technics. Making it easier to see the raw information, fast and easy updates, compatibility, and the ability to sustain the whole project till its conclusion/ ability to integrate the system with other system that are used to manage projects.

Project managers should also consider the opinions that are given out by the vendors of the software rather the engineers who develop them for the clients use. They should also consider whether the system can access sufficient network across the globe. In turn, they can be able to minimize the amount of setbacks arising from the usage of the system Kerzner (2013).

The major topic dealt with during the sixth week is to describe a certain project, program and portfolio administration (PPPM) use of program software that can lead to more knowledge acquisition and proper decision making. After a number of researches and accomplishing of various assignments on system engineering, I did synthesize and tried to analyze the factors that hinder the achievement of goals that are set forth to be realized by a set of instructions meant to perform a certain task and achieve its stated goals.

For better achievement of stated goals for a given project, it is necessary for the PPPM to appropriately make the right decisions that are timely. Through the use of algorithms that enables for selective delivery that are timely and based on finance. This means that every system approach should aim at ensuring that the mother organization rather the firm utilizing the technology is at a competitive edge against other organization competing with it in the market arena. This means that the system should ensure that the organization is aimed at achieving its sets of objectives.

In line with the difficulties that face the PPPM, the following are part of the major hindrances and setbacks that can deter the realization of intended outcome. To begin with, the presence of to many similar initiatives that work together to achieve the same objectives. This may be a hindrance since the programs might end up overwriting each other thus coursing the project to come into a standstill or halt. This may further deviate the direction of the project since it can turn into unwanted component that may change the set of instruction into virus or rather reduce the performance speed of the system.

A problem that may also hinder the achievement of the stated objectives in the system is the presence of certain initiatives that have totally no connection with the intended project. This case may arise due to the lack of specification by the project manage to the vendor or the engineer of the work. Such kind of problem may also cause the deviation of the project thus leading to absolutely different results. It may also cause poor management and monitoring of the projects performance.


Sometimes it may become very hectic to achieve certain objectives due the absence of projects that should facilitate their achievement. These strategic objectives that lack projects can be stressful especially when the manager is not in a position to come up with an effective project base layout. When dealing with a certain type of initiative, it is very important to stop fantasizing and consider all the factors that can emerge in the course of carrying out the project and. This involves substantiating all factors and avoiding excessive optimism of advantages and estimation of costs.

In this case, there ought to be a considerable set of recommended ways that should be utilized by any given project to achieve their stated objectives. These steps may involve coming up with admissible goals for a specific organization at hand. Moreover, the initiatives should closely linked with the project plan and should fulfill the goals stated in the organization of the project. This means that the initiatives should have absolute connection the business plan.

The system should also give room for the specification of the project. This means that the system should not contain so many related initiatives that may end up overlapping each other. The very essence of using this initiatives should be to ensure that the project can be tracked and does not deviate from the objective it was meant to achieve.

g. LO7


In week seven, the subject of discussion emphasizes the evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of the various electronic and manual project program portfolio management (PPPM) application systems. The studies also highlight the utilization of PPPM applications systems throughout the project. Through the reading I am in a position to recognize and understand how projects take place in regards to the project management, the life cycle, work structures or coordination, program, portfolios and sponsoring organizations. Furthermore, I also learned and understood the merits and demerits of electronic and manual PPPM application systems and the interfaces which are significant to various organizations in regards to portfolios.

A project life cycle is majorly in five phases which entails the project initiation, planning, execution, management/ control, and closure. Project initiation is the first stage of the project where the project’s feasibility and value are carried out (Rahman, Muhammad Nouman Shafique, & Rashid, 2018). The project management managers puts two evaluation tools at this stage which determines whether the project will be pursued or not. One of the tools is a feasibility study which entails assessing the project’s goals, coast, and timelines and also decides if the execution should occur. It checks and balances the project requirements with the existing resources to check if pursuing it is of the essence. Business case document is a tool that estimates the potential economic benefits of the project and justifies its need.

Project planning is done after the project gets the green light. It requires a plan that keeps the team on budget, time and guides them. The plan should lead on how to obtain finances, obtain resources and procure project materials. The plan also provides the project team with leads to giving quality outputs, communicating to stakeholders, managing suppliers and managing risks. The plan ensures the project team is prepared for obstacles during the project life cycle.

Project execution is a stage that is mainly dependent on project management. It heavily relies on the project planning and guarantees customer satisfaction. At this phase, the plan is put into motion and its core work implemented. The project managers ensure project execution by allocating resources and assigning tasks.

Monitoring and control occur at the same time with execution, therefore, mainly combined with implementation. Monitoring of the project progress is done as the team implement the project plan. Project closure is the last phase and is done when the project teams deliver to the customer a finished project and communicate to the stakeholders the completion and handing documentation to the customer. Lessons learned are also conducted.

When the project is between the project-based organizations (PBO) and the operator, its life cycle can change (Hurbean, 2013). This is because PBOs are capable of responding hastily to clients changing needs and adapt to developing trends in production. PBOs are also in a position to handle risks associated with the project.

The significance of the project life cycle is highlighted in portfolios, work systems, and scheme management. The project life cycle is guaranteed in the initial phase, defining the project goals and ensuring that there is a plan before implementing the project.

There are two types of PPPM application systems which include manual and electric. The manuals ones have merits like, reducing risks in private projects, providing value to stakeholders, ensure proper use of human resource and assist in making good decisions. Manual systems have demerits like time-consuming due to low speeds in capturing records. Electronic PPPMs are advantageous due to high speeds of capturing data; there are accuracy and reliability of data, aids sharing of data and has a better recalling ability. Electronic PPPMs are disadvantageous in that, they are not comprehensive in the project life cycle and its challenging to integrate several toolsets with varying databases.


A model is the basic representation of a system to enhance the understanding of the actual system. Lev and Bayer (2004) note that modeling help because they serve different purposes such as, providing a character for the existing system, assist in training the users, aid in integrating the hardware and software, synthesis of the system design and evolution of system design and capturing knowledge. Those with responsibilities with implementing the projects benefit from the model because it provides the different aspects of the system’s features like cost, structure, function, performance, properties, and behavior. After studying and utilizing the mandatory readings, I understand portfolio management and project selection which entails how to compare and select projects, project portfolio management and random project assessment, and review. I have been able to understand the organizational perspective of portfolio management according to Project management institute (PMI). The organization has to have a vision at the top which is created to a mission and its strategies and objectives. It then identifies the varied portfolios which structure the business they carry out. This is translated into programs and projects which enhances the final product value.



In week eight, the discussion focused on how application systems used for project management have assisted managers in managing changes and monitoring performance. Through the readings, I understand project management application systems, the meaning of performance and managing changes. I also have a better understanding of the merits and demerits of application systems. Project application systems are computer-based programs that are designed to document and plan project activities, solve project issues, form schedules, control costs, manage risks/ threats, share information and organize human resource (Talib, Khelifi, & Jololian, 2010). Project application systems have a disadvantage in that, they are unreliable and lack transparency.

The topic is applicable to project management through the project’s performance monitoring and effectively making of appropriate changes. In a project, its performance is monitored and this aids in showing challenges related to coordination, clashing of resources and costs overturn. Change and project management disciplines interlink throughout the project implementation. Kerzner (2013) points out that through change, there is a transition to get to new future state after moving from a current state with an aim to enhance performance to better them than the current state. Change management to a project takes the incoming strategies and does not change with inventions, therefore, improving the current state. When successful, the change is characterized by an effectively designed solution that is established and conveyed, adopted and embraced by the impacted project team. Changes to projects are critical compared to those done to portfolios and programs, therefore, forming a key topic in the terms course.


The issue about Deep-water horizon and BP Texas City oil spill that caused the deaths of eleven workers, the most appropriate initiative to take ought to be stopping the leaking of the oil. BP Texas City should then clear the oil to save the marine life. At one point it was the largest oil operator in the Gulf of USA, but since then it has never recovered. The oil spill damaged the lives of fishers, and marine wildlife, a tragedy that has caused the company. It has barred from getting contracts from the US government.

A portfolio would be suitable for CQU group assignment for infrastructure and effective control. The BP 2010 accident has affected the company. The effective use, control, and availability of PPPMs have resulted in the computer-generated distribution of projects (Rahman, Muhammad Nouman Shafique & Rashid, 2018). Globally it makes a significant difference as their choice of operation broaden, raising their success chances.



In week nine, the topic focuses on proposing an application system that will support and enhance the successful execution of a project in varied industries. Organizations from their PMISs require various aspects. The application system should enhance collaboration between the project management team since this ensures that management and skilled workers can access appropriate information to work flawlessly. The PMISs are required to aid the project stick to a schedule to meet deadlines. They should enable tracking the project into precise details such as costs, risks, and labor resources. The application systems ought to enhance communication to allow successful completion of the project by enabling accountability by having the records kept in a central location.

PMISs are used to deliver varying information. Individuals managing projects use the application systems to dispense information via manual and electronic means. The PMISs are used by both upper and lower managers to communicate seamlessly. During planning, Hurbean (2013) reiterates that the information is used for estimating costs and creating budgets. The information is also used to create timelines. In project implementation, information is used to compare actual activities and baselines. There is also collecting financial information, material information and keeping information for reporting purposes. Given the fact that system thinking refers to standards and principles in the connection the whole system components, it is important to note that portfolio management and utilization of programs when carrying out projects has got no disadvantage due to the conditional transition of data creation. This implies that for the system to fully function, it needs to be directive and project oriented (Eilam, 2015).

It is critical to share information to manage a project to its success. The information must flow from the top management to the skilled personnel. Information from skilled staff must also flow back to the senior management. Talib, Khelifi, and Jololian (2010) denote that through the PMISs critical information ought to be shared and information relating to the project should be relayed to the application system. The information about the project progress, deliverables and breakthroughs should be communicated through the system’s interface to the various project stakeholders. The information shared to the stakeholders enables them to be aware of the issue described and act accordingly.

A suitable PMISs would have enabled British Petroleum (BP) which is an oil giant company to prevent the 2005 oil refinery accident that occurred in Texas. The accident was caused mainly due to both mechanical failures, and misunderstandings contributed by miscommunication. After a turndown in February for cleaning, the raffinate splitter was in the process of restarting on 23rd March 2005. The level sensors in the tower and the sight glass at the bottom had not been checked. Operators who were preparing for restart noted that the pressure vent valve could not be used at the control room since it was not fixed. BP pointed out that the valve that ought to have prevented restarting the unit broke down. With the failure of indicators and level gauges, the alarms also failed to go off to warn of looming risk.

It has been evident that at some point, the top managers were unable to put into use information given to them by the field team. Standard operating procedures were on a couple of instances not adhered to which also cause shortcuts, forming an order of the day. BP ought to have invested in a suitable application system. PMISs should deal with all the errors which are at some point contributed to by miscommunication between the top managers and the field team members (Rahman, Muhammad Nouman Shafique & Rashid, 2018).


After studying and utilizing the mandatory readings, I understand portfolio management and project selection which entails how to compare and select projects, project portfolio management and random project assessment, and review. I have been able to understand the organizational perspective of portfolio management according to Project management institute (PMI). The organization has to have a vision at the top which is created to a mission and its strategies and objectives. It then identifies the varied portfolios which structure the business they carry out. This is translated into programs and projects which enhances the final product value.

In the execution of a program, there are key elements that are necessary. These include identifying the project breakthroughs, dividing the milestones to tasks, communicating project progress to stakeholders and purchasing equipment required to accomplish the set goal. There is also the allocation of functions and monitoring expenditure. Kerzner (2013) notes that the adoption and use of SEBoK have ensured that there are improved changes to the facet approach of managing projects. SEBoK provides that it promotes and improves engineering practices through research and education.

j. LO 10


The topic of discussion in week ten had varied undertakings with project management application systems to ensure that they are of substantial use. A model is the basic representation of a system to enhance the understanding of the actual system (Lev & Bayer, 2004). Modeling help because they serve different purposes such as;

1. Providing a character for the existing system
2. Assist in training the users
3. Aid in integrating the hardware and software
4. Synthesis of the system design
5. Evolution f system design and capturing knowledge


The mandatory readings from the Insight Maker web and Sterman book highlight how varied models can be developed to enable the analysis of the different possible real scenarios. According to Kerzner (2013), system dynamics require principles for its successful use such as creating a model that solves a specific problem rather than to model the system. Modeling ought to be integrated into the project from the initiation phase. There is a need to focus on implementation on the first day of the project. It is critical to use models who are experts compared to those who are learners or beginners.

Discussion and conlusion

Concerning the readings and understandings, a lot can be understood from the topic of discussion. With respect to using application systems in project management, change management and checking performance, it is essential that the engineers involved have a better understanding of the PMISs being used. This should be related to the design of PMISs and how they are linked to the varied aspects of engineering applications.

In portfolio management according to Rahman, Muhammad Nouman Shafique and Rashid (2018), there is a need to organize strategic objectives, developing its strategic plan and charter. The portfolio’s roadmap also needs to be defined, developing its management and interpreting it. Portfolio management also entails developing performance management, communication management, and risk management plan. Portfolio management has aspects which require managing strategic change, optimizing the portfolio, managing portfolio value, managing portfolio risks, and information. Finally, the portfolio is authorized, and oversight is provided.

I am in a position to recognize that systems engineering provide information to give the visibility on what is going on. The systems only offer a certain amount of information, and there is a need to supplement the information with human information. I have also been in a position to understand that use of PMISs requires the appropriate backing of infrastructure with a focus on trained personnel and tools.


1. Ahmed, W. (2018). Time-Varying Spillover and the Portfolio Diversification Implications of Clean Energy Equity with Commodities and Financial Assets.
2. Eilam, B. (2012). System thinking and feeding relations: Learning with a live ecosystem model. Instructional Science, 40(2), 213-239.
3. Hurbean, L. (2013). Redefining Project Management Information Systems with New IT Services. Acta Universitatis Danubius: Oeconomica9(2), 203–212.
4. Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.
5. Lev, B., & Bayer, S. (2004). Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World (Book). Interfaces34(4), 324–326. 
6. Rahman, H., Muhammad Nouman Shafique, & Rashid, A. (2018). Project Success in the Eyes of Project Management Information System and Project Team Members. Abasyn University Journal of Social Sciences, 1–8.
7. Talib, M. A., Khelifi, A., & Jololian, L. (2010). Secure Software Engineering: A New Teaching Perspective Based on the SWEBOK. Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge & Management5, 83–99.
8. Wasson, C. S. (2015). System Engineering Analysis, Design, and Development: Concepts, Principles, and Practices. John Wiley & Sons.