Case Study: Finavia

“The project portfolio is a genuine management tool.”

The thinking at Finavia is that project portfolio management is an excellent strategic tool – as long as it is first implemented in the entire company.


Finavia began its project portfolio teamwork with Thinking Business in the spring of 2009, when five pilot projects were imported to the project portfolio. “We began organizing programs and projects with a Business Case assessment.”

“A Business Case means analytical consideration of new projects. What are their business targets and benefits? What new operational methods will they require? And what solutions and changes will facilitate the new operational methods.”

“We started working with Thinking Business by making an Enabler-Effect Map (EEM) for programs and projects,” Project Manager Jouko Lääkkö explains.

“An EEM is an excellent conversation opener. It puts the focus on the programs’ core issues and also helps with the formulation of project plans. An EEM is a visual presentation that illustrates the interactive effects of the programs’ various aspects.”

“At Finavia, the Thinking Business project portfolio application has been found to be extremely useful owing to its visual clarity. The programs and projects constituting the content of the portfolio can be examined and analyzed from the same place at a glance. Importing new programs and projects into the portfolio is an effective way to get going, already during the planning stage.”

“The project portfolio tool’s text specifications, parameters, instructions, and manual were completed during the first year. The development of the project portfolio will continue based on the practical experiences gained with it.”

“Project portfolio thinking was adopted at Finavia because its business units had their own project procedures and cultures. Project operations were fragmented and it was hard to compare projects. Senior management had difficulties assessing the overall situation and costs. Switching over to the new kind of project portfolio thinking was a significant change for Finavia.”

The project portfolio makes the work easier

Finavia has approximately 100 Thinking Portfolio users. All of the company’s Group-related programs for common services have been imported to the project portfolio and users have been for the most part satisfied with the application.

“At first, some users thought that updating the project portfolio would be a nuisance, but our practical experience with information flows has clearly demonstrated that the project portfolio has made their work easier. Trust has increased when they have experienced the benefits of the project portfolio firsthand, for example in reporting situations. The project portfolio is thus also a communications tool for project managers. If a project manager has kept his project portfolio up-to-date, he will be able to convey the status of his programs to the executive group in a matter of minutes. Lääkkö is particularly gratified that all programs can be viewed at a single glance in the Thinking Portfolio project portfolio. This is essential if the intent is to utilize portfolio management as a genuine management tool in an organization. If they prefer, users can always filter what they want to see regarding their own programs.”

“Project management has improved.”

At Finavia, the project portfolio is considered extremely advantageous, also for the reason that all of the programs currently underway in the company can be viewed quickly within a single portfolio. Project managers also have to consider the status of their programs at least once a month when updating the portfolio.

“Project operations, as well as communications to steering groups, have improved as a result of the project portfolio. Our people now have a better sense of where we are headed, and the financial units can now see more clearly see how costs are tied to the company’s various programs. According to Lääkkö, project management will solidify what were previously dispersed activities. The project portfolio will also continue to affect strategic management when the Group’s executive group adopts its overall use in decision-making, as well as in the tracking and evaluation of programs. After that, the project portfolio will be a genuine management tool.”

“Finavia Corporation is a service company that maintains a network of 25 airports in Finland and the air navigation system covering the entire country.”


Text: Meri Eskola

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