Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mathematical Sciences

First Advisor

Jason Merrick


A portfolio can be defined as “a purposeful combination of items” (Chien and Sainfort 1998). As the topic relates to research and development (R&D) the items in question are technologies, projects or products under consideration for inclusion in a given portfolio. As described by surveys from Cooper et al (1998), companies have widely varying practices for portfolio selection. This thesis examines existing literature to determine the key characteristics of good portfolio and portfolio method. The approach needs to handle multiple objectives, account for project interactions, and address the social aspect of decision making. The resulting portfolio should be aligned with business strategy, balanced, and of maximum value. It introduces general concepts that have been used to select single projects and reviews five specific applications and assesses them against the key characteristics from the literature. After identifying gaps in the current approaches, a comprehensive approach is proposed. This approach would (1) apply multi-attribute decision analysis at the portfolio level, (2) apply constraints for common inputs to cost such as resources, and (3) apply probabilistic methods to account for project interaction. This approach incorporates successful elements from existing approaches and addresses the two areas that are not adequately addressed with current approaches.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2009