Like the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the expo is a collection of projects whose collective purpose benefited the nation and fulfilled the government's strategic objectives.
The expo and the Olympics were part of a national portfolio aimed at achieving countrywide political objectives for boosting the economy. Both were planned and executed with the intent to cultivate high-tech skills and knowledge aimed at ensuring growth and competitiveness in the future.
For example, the Chinese government required every contractor carrying out individual projects to employ Chinese workers, including certified project managers. This has ensured that enough skilled workers necessary for national development have been trained.
By the end of 2009, the number of PMI certified project managers in China was 29,414 -- the second-largest number in the world.
The physical legacy these programs left is also notable.
Unlike games or exhibitions hosted by developed countries, both the expo and the Olympics were accompanied by massive infrastructure developments -- and not just the renovation or improvement of existing facilities. The Shanghai Expo re-developed areas in decline, and brought infrastructure and facilities to previously undeveloped areas.
Apart from the huge venues, China built airports, restaurants, hotels and 11 high-speed railways. Development plans also incorporated expanding and improving the service industry of Shanghai.
These projects, combined with the outcome of other national programs and projects, help advance the government's goal of growing and developing the national economy.
"Projects produce deliverables; programs output benefits so as to sustain, advance or achieve organizational objectives; while portfolios ensure the alignment of the diverse objectives and independence of programs and projects to organizational strategic objectives," according to page six of The Standard for Portfolio Management.
And that's exactly what the Shanghai Expo 2010 did.