Part 2: Do We Need New Networking Skills To Successfully Implement A Strategic Portfolio Management Process In A Virtual Environment?

December 1, 2020 | By Donna Fitzgerald

As part of a recent discussion on why business-roadmaps should replace project requests as part of a strategic portfolio management process, I was recounting my normal list of actions when I realized there might be a problem. (see Figure 1)

Figure 1 SPM Roadmapping Process
Figure 1 SPM Roadmapping Process

These eight steps aren’t new, and I’m sure everyone reading this has a variation of them they’ve used in the past. What is new is that making this kind of a process change in the time of Covid-19 suddenly looked daunting to me. I could still do it, BUT I think it would take twice as long, and I expect I’d find more organizations that might say they are too busy for any change.

The impact of burnout

After thinking about why our current situation is troubling me, I realized it reminded me of my tenure at Sun Microsystems. During the two years I worked there, we grew from 2,000 employees to 10,000, and each business unit operated as if they were a separate company. We were too busy to do anything other than the minimum necessary to survive the meteoric growth. COVID-19 seems to be causing the same level of burnout I saw and experienced at Sun, and what I know is that burned out people do not have the bandwidth for CHANGE.

Most organizations with a December year-end are finishing their annual planning process, so implementing a new approach this late in the process is unnecessary. What does make sense is to consider implementing it for your next quarterly or Semi-annual update.

Reframing change

With the approved projects already “scheduled,” consider creating a new roadmap based on what’s been approved. My guess is that something will have changed the moment the budget was finalized. By doing it “off-cycle” you can reframe what you are doing from a CHANGE to an experiment that you believe will help ensure that all the work that went into creating the strategic portfolio actually translates into strategic execution.

Business-roadmapping is the single best tool that any portfolio office or PMO has gotten their hands on in decades. When done correctly it speeds up the process, facilitates better decision making, and makes it easier to adjust to the inevitable changes that will happen throughout the year. The secret to success is in the implementation approach. By embedding the capability to develop a roadmap at the BU staff level, you have made it a tool for the business unit and you have effectively given ownership of the approach to the business unit.

Those who show no trust will not be trusted.
Those who are quiet value the words.
When their task is completed, people will say:
We did it ourselves.

-Tao te Ching verse 17

ProSymmetry was founded in 2007 by passionate resource management experts. Since then, we have continually strived to solve the resource management challenges that slow down, damage, and overwhelm organizations. We do this through our flagship product, Tempus Resource, which is used by Fortune 500 companies like Siemens, Airbus, Qualcomm and DELL, and was labeled a “resource management solution accessible to the masses” and was awarded the 2016 Cool Vendor by Gartner.

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