Strategic portfolio management

How to give your portfolio a GPS function?

Project Management Offices (PMOs) traditionally focus on implementing the organization’s projects as efficient as possible. This is changing. A Threon survey (2020) found that PMOs want to step up their game in the field of strategic portfolio management. More specifically, we notice a growing interest among our clients and the market to invest in a Strategy Realization Office (SRO). How you do this? And who to talk to? This blog tells you all about it!

“A Strategy Realization Office (SRO) is a type of PMO with a strong focus on strategic portfolio management. It brings effectiveness and guarantees you are focusing on the right projects”.

“If a classic PMO helps your project engine to run better, an SRO is the GPS that gives your portfolio the shortest route to reaching its objectives”, – Jeroen D’hulst, SRO expert Threon.

In this second blog we explain:

  • What are the key activities to set up an SRO?
  • How to define an SRO’s mandate?
  • Where to place the SRO in the organization & who to talk to?

Setting up an SRO

We suggest some of the key activities to cross of your list in your first year of setting) up an SRO:

  • Set-up the new processes to carry out the SRO mandate. If necessary, organize training for the SRO staff
  • Ensure strategic objectives are clear and transparently communicated within the organization
  • Map all projects coming from your strategy (top-down) and bottom-up initiatives. This creates awareness about the need to prioritize
  • Assess how your projects contribute to your business goals. This involves defining prioritization criteria and coming up with a prioritized project list
  • Plan a review at the end of the year to verify whether you need to adjust your course

Let us take closer look to some of those steps…

Define your mandate

Identify high-level expectations. What is it exactly that you need help with? Do you miss a reliable overview? You need to filter the many project requests you receive? Or do you find it difficult to prioritize projects in case of resource shortages?

Once you figured out where your SRO can provide most added value, it is time to dive into clear activities. Define (informal) activities that help you bring focus in your portfolio. At threon, we use an SRO maturity assessment for this purpose.

Afterwards, you consolidate the identified activities in an official mandate or SRO charter. This way, it is clear what everyone expects from the SRO and it will avoid future discussions about competences. However, it is important to regularly review the SRO mandate to take your organization’s changing needs into account!

Choose your SRO location Who are your important stakeholders?

If you want your SRO to support the realization of your strategy, it needs to be placed closely to where your strategy is defined. For this reason, you can find the SRO most likely at corporate level. If you are working in a large organization with departments that have their own strategies, the SRO can also operate at departmental level.

Mandate, location, … got it! But…

Who are your important stakeholders?

Business leaders and relevant department heads will be your SRO’s main ‘clients’. Therefore, you need to involve them from the beginning to shape the SRO’s value proposition and set-up the new processes to support the SRO’s activities. After this set-up, it is crucial to build a partnership with them, so the SRO fully understands the business’ needs and strategic objectives. Only this way, it can support their realization.

You already have a PMO in your organization? No problem!

SROs are often introduced in organizations that already have a PMO. Therefore, it is crucial to use a strong change management approach and clearly define the SRO-PMO relationship to overcome the following challenges:

  • Existing PMOs may oppose transferring some of their competences to a new SRO
  • An unclear SRO mandate can give rise to competence challenges later on. For example, should a company’s strategy for digitalization be managed by the IT PMO or the SRO?

These are questions we are happy to support you with. Get in touch and we’ll tell you all there is to know about SRO!

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