Check our proven 4-step approach to absorb new priorities or reduced capacity
Neither Threon nor me personally will tell you how to update your organizational strategy based on COVID-19 impacts. We never pretended that strategy definition is our business and we prefer to stick to our core. For the last 20 years, customers and their senior management call us when their organization struggles to get their strategy delivered. And as Threon stays out of strategy definition, you better think twice if your strategy advisors (Low touch economy, digital, customer experience, …) try to tell you they can also help you in the strategy realization part. In times like these, only hire consultants on their core expertise, don’t pay them to experiment themselves. Reason why we bundled 20 years of Threon Portfolio Management expertise into a 4-step approach that shares our best practices from the past, from situations similar to this one.
Portfolio management challenges based on COVID-19 impact
> Your project portfolio is out of balance because either (sometimes both) :
- New priorities were added to the portfolio as a consequence of COVID-19 short- and mid-term impacts and learnings.
- Capacity to execute the portfolio was reduced
> Your Mid-term resource management doesn’t have a high maturity so you cannot easily provide one consolidated view on what each of your critical project resources is working on.
> Your Senior Management really wants some new priorities to be implemented and is willing to chose between projects … if only you can support them in showing what needs a decision.
If you don’t meet any of the characteristics above, high and urgent compliancy pressure on your organization might be another reason to keep reading (characteristics are the same you urgently need oxygen in your portfolio).
Our 4-step approach to re-launch your portfolio
Let me guide you to the 4 steps we have used in the past to quickly (4-6 weeks) rebalance any portfolio that is lacking transparency and prioritization:
Step 1 : Kick-off and scoping – Properly onboarding your stakeholders never is a waste of time!
But let’s do more than just a meet-and-greet if the clock is ticking: use the kick-off meeting to align with your key stakeholders on the relevant scope of this exercise. We define (=limit) scope on two levels:
A. Strategic projects versus local initiatives: Agree not to spend precious time on every small enhancement somebody in the organization wants to do. Reserve like 20% of your capacity for small enhancements and keep these out of the exercise: limit yourself to your strategic projects that often take 80% of all capacity anyway.
B. Critical competences only: No time to get philosophical on whether critical means more important (it is NOT the same); we just know that the speed of portfolio delivery will depend on the availability of a number of competences that are scarce. If so, limit your exercise to estimating these critical competences only and not all work in your portfolio.
| Step 2 : Identification & evaluation - Again we want to go quickly so we advise our most pragmatic steps to initiate a portfolio selection:|
A. Identify: We build a common view on all existing projects and new project ideas with a minimum of reference data per item.
B. Categorize: We ask each project or idea owner to link his project to a strategic category of comparable projects (Growth, Efficiency, Risk, …)
C. Evaluate: We score the value contribution of each item on the value it brings within its own category only. Pre-defined kick-out criteria already eliminate a number of ideas already at this phase (e.g. Minimum IRR, minimum growth contribution,…)
Step 3 : Estimate 6-month resource demand – The least sexy, most demanding but often most critical step is this one: how to visualize the global demand for a number of critical resources for the 3 or 6 months to come?
A. Complete but high-level and thus feasible and reusable: don’t drown in the swamp of details if your organization is not used to scheduling already ! A high-level master plan will do the job !
B. Without introducing new tools outside PMO: remember we want to go fast; make sure you know how to consolidate data centrally but don’t use new tools outside PMO, gather info via a simple excel or other known tools.
Step 4 : Selection & roadmap – Time to conclude and build a reliable, ambitious but feasible roadmap for the coming months:
A. Allocate budget to your different categories
B. Select projects within each category based on value contribution
C. Check feasibility of your “preferred” portfolio against your portfolio constraints : critical resources, budget, scope dependencies.
D. Visualize and commit on your roadmap to roar out of recession !
Benefits on short-, mid- and longer term
- Your stakeholder commitment -both management as project teams – will immediately get an enormous boost if everybody believes that bottlenecks were solved and that the roadmap CAN be achieved !
- The master plan that was built doesn’t have to be a one shot but can be maintained during the months to come, creating trust amongst stakeholders that uncertainties popping up afterwards can and will still be tackled.
- Use the urgency of this exercise to test how far your organization want to go on the level of scheduling and resource management, maybe to realize that this more high-level and pragmatic approach is all your organization needs, also on the longer term.
A similar challenge ahead? Contact us!
- Is this a proven approach ? Absolutely !
- Can we do this in 4 to 6 weeks ? Absolutely !
- Is it advised to take some guidance ? Sorry, but yes. Each of the steps contains pitfalls you only learn by experience so if you want to go quickly, you best take a minimum of guidance.
Problems convincing your organization or doubting yourself on how to get started, contact us and discuss !