Portfolio Manager, Early R&D and Scientific Computing

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc (US) Boston, MA

About the Job

The Portfolio Manager, Early R&D and Scientific Computing is a leadership role within the Technology Program Management Office reporting directly to the VP, Technology PMO, with dotted line matrixed reporting to the VP, Scientific Computing and Shared Services supporting Research, Pre-Clinical, and Pharmaceutical Sciences (RPPS). The Portfolio Manager will have both strategic and execution delivery responsibilities for the Scientific Computing program and project portfolio.

The Portfolio Manager will work closely with the VP, Scientific Computing and Shared Services and the team leads, as well as their business clients and product owners. The Portfolio Manager will ensure that the cross-functional portfolio of technology programs and projects is prioritized, sequenced and adjusted appropriately in alignment with business-driven strategies, goals, and objectives.    

The Portfolio Manager will be responsible for overseeing and managing the execution of the technology portfolio for the Early R&D and Scientific Computing group.  This includes responsibility for:

  • Portfolio, Program and Project Governance
  • Scope Management
  • Schedule Management
  • Resource Management
  • Financial Management
  • Risk and Issue Management (including cross-functional impact assessment/mitigation)
  • Dependency Management (both within the portfolio and externally)
  • Integration Management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Communications and Change Management
  • Business Adoption and Acceptance / Client Satisfaction

The Portfolio Manager should expect to be heavily involved in presenting and monitoring status, anticipating challenges, unblocking issues, managing dependencies and providing business sponsor and stakeholder transparency for programs and projects within the group’s technology portfolio.  The Portfolio Manager will also be responsible for directly managing larger, strategic initiatives to ensure successful delivery.

The Portfolio Manager is responsible for establishing and managing the PMO team (program managers, projects managers and business analysts) serving the Early R&D and Scientific Computing group to drive program and project execution.  This will include working closely with the VP, Technology PMO and both HR and Sourcing to hire highly skilled PMO employees and consultants. When projects are implemented by external consulting teams, the Portfolio Manager will be responsible for managing the Program and Project Management resources from that external team and ensuring that these important initiatives are accurately reflected in PMO management systems and reporting.

The Portfolio Manager will actively recruit, manage, coach and mentor a growing team of employee and consulting Program and Project Managers, as well as business analysts as needed. This team will report to the Portfolio Manager and the PMO organization centrally and be aligned to support the Scientific Computing and Shared Services group. Each new team member will be required to have relevant experience in Early R&D and Scientific Computing in addition to PMO experience. Building and coaching this PMO team for the Scientific Computing and Shared Services team will be critical in building a highly collaborative, client focused PMO that understands both the client perspective and the technology being implemented and is well positioned to facilitate innovation and highly successful delivery outcomes. 

The Portfolio Manager will also serve on the PMO Round Table, which will work with the VP, Technology PMO to establish / improve PMO processes, systems, tools and standards that will enable portfolio management and execution delivery at scale, with a focus on providing standardized actionable management reporting, near real-time transparency and successfully managed and executed business-driven outcomes across the portfolios. The PMO Round Table will ensure that program and project level retrospectives or “lessons learned” activities are conducted with a focus on continuous service improvements within the PMO and the Technology organization.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

Knowledge and Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of experience in Project Management
  • Experience working in Research, Pre-Clinical and / or Pharmaceutical Sciences settings with a focus on laboratory systems and projects driving drug discovery
  • Subject Matter Expertise in Portfolio Management, PMO, SDLC and governance best practices
  • Demonstrated proficiency in managing large-scale, complex programs and projects
  • Training and experience with Agile practices
  • Working knowledge of GxP regulations is desirable


  • C-suite level presence and drive
  • Proven capabilities in building and leading high-performing project teams. Ability to effectively organize and motivate cross-functional teams in diverse locations to achieve goals and implement a common vision
  • Experience successfully recruiting, training, mentoring, coaching and managing PMO team members
  • Excellent presentation skills and ability to clearly and succinctly express ideas
  • Experience facilitating portfolio, program and project meetings and effectively holding team members accountable for status, deliverables and the timely escalation of blockers
  • Successful track record of managing vendors and vendor-implemented packaged software


  • Exemplify a highly collaborative mindset
  • Build strong relationships with peers and colleagues across the Technology organization, and with key business clients
  • Actively anticipate, track and plan for risks and issues, dependencies, resourcing and contingencies
  • Function as a trusted advisor to the VP, Scientific Computing and Shared Services, clients and stakeholders
  • Build strong relationships and gain trust
  • Understand business strategies, values, goal and objectives
  • Effectively facilitate portfolio prioritization according to business values and goals
  • Communicate status, risks and issues in a direct and timely manner
  • Escalate issues in a manner that is effective and direct
  • Work with PMO Management and peers to drive innovation and best practices within the PMO, optimizing processes, systems, tools and reporting


  • Demonstrate an analytical, objective, and strategic mindset and a drive to learn new technologies
  • Analyze processes and systems, identifying potential for change and championing opportunities for improvement
  • Possess an in-depth understanding of technology solutions implemented in the past


  • Experience practicing portfolio prioritization and project backlog grooming methods
  • Experience with Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) tools and reports
  • Understanding of the principles of finance and cost benefit analysis (e.g., capitalized, amortized and expensed costs, opportunity costs, soft and hard dollar benefits, payback, ROI, ROE, NPV, etc.) 

Preferred Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

  • Biopharmaceutical or biotechnology experience
  • Advanced degree (MBA, Masters in Operations Research or similar discipline)
  • Experience with high-growth stage companies
  • Agile CSM, PSM or similar certification and hands-on experience
  • PMP or Prince2 certification