People-Centered Strategic Portfolio Management

November 5, 2020 | By Samantha Varner

Donna Fitzgerald of ProSymmetry presented at the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference on October 8, 2020

Your organization’s resource management tool is designed not only to manage your operations, but also to facilitate your strategic planning and execution. According to Donna Fitzgerald, Chief Product Evangelist at ProSymmetry, only about one-fifth of company initiatives actually get completely executed before a new strategy is set. In her presentation at the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference, Fitzgerald urges organizational leaders to transform how they think about, manage, engage, and structure their people. Because “people are the new money. Money itself isn’t going to execute your idea. You need people and skills,” Fitzgerald states.

Focusing on the people

Use a strategic portfolio as your company’s “value planning tool,” is Fitzgerald’s first step toward a people-centered approach. Traditionally, leaders define strategy as a series of goals, and people propose projects to contribute to meeting those goals. But, Fitzgerald argues, no one project, no matter how well designed, can target multiple strategies the way we expect them to. Therefore, we need to get back to what we think of as value. How does the organization define value, and do achieving the stated goals bring us to that value? Once you’re guided by your value, you need a resource management tool that brings visibility and control over resources, money, and time and that is flexible enough for you to manipulate your strategy. Tempus Resource, Fitzgerald mentions, is powerful enough to weight your portfolio toward one strategy while still executing another.

“People are naturally agile as long as you set them up for success.”

-Donna Fitzgerald, ProSymmetry

From there, Fitzgerald advocates for some new approaches to Resource Capacity Planning. This is “the silver bullet for productivity” because burnout is just one of the many reasons people are not at optimal productivity. Even before COVID-19, they’ve been asked to do too much across too many places, without clear goals or a sense of accomplishment. Some best practices for capacity planning include, whenever possible: never putting a person on more than two major assignments at a time; structuring and balancing their time between work for enhanced focus and prioritization; providing adequate time and space to think about problems and use colleagues as resources; and including them on roadmaps so they understand their place, value, and contributions.

Building a culture for success

Finally, we need to rethink our company cultures to encourage and build stronger networks, and truly see our people as the key to strategy execution. Fitzgerald lays out four concrete steps to create cultures more conducive to productivity and collaboration. They include decentralizing decision-making; focusing less on formal rules and more on principles; creating a high degree of permeability; and establishing collaborative partnerships. All of these culture strategies are built toward what we know matters to people: belonging, autonomy, competence, answers, and safety.

“Culture is built one conversation at a time.”

-Donna Fitzgerald, ProSymmetry

When we build an adaptive culture with a foundation of networks (knowledge, relational, and organizational), we prime our most important assets—our people—to innovate and collaborate while also thriving. What’s truly exciting, reflects Fitzgerald, “is that today we have to tools to make your thinking and your networks all visible.”

To learn more about how Resource Portfolio Management can help your organization transform and optimize company culture, contact ProSymmetry, makers of Tempus Resource. And be sure to check out all of our speakers from the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference.

To watch the replay of Donna Fitzgerald’s full presentation, “Strategic Portfolio Management in Three Easy Steps,” simply fill out the form below:


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