You Need Flexibility to Get from Strategy to Execution

August 14, 2020 | By Greg Bailey

Here are some ways to know whether your organization has strategic flexibility:

  • You have created strategic options through acquiring and coordinating flexible resources.
  • You can respond effectively to a changing and competitive environment.
  • You can pursue alternative courses of action in response to shifting conditions.

When you can identify a wide range of alternative systems and processes to use your resources, you increase flexibility while reducing time and cost.

 “…the traditional strategic management objective of choosing a single ‘best’ plan of action is likely to be an unrealistic objective in an uncertain environment.”

“Preparing for an Uncertain Future” by Ron Sanchez

It can sound too good to be true when many multi-project companies are still faced with these persistent challenges:

  • Widely varying productivity rates of resources
  • Shared resources that may not be available in a timely manner
  • Increasing workloads
  • Commissioning too many “priority” projects at once
  • Lack of visibility into resource conflicts
  • Unidentified constraints and workarounds

To compensate for all these difficulties, organizations usually resort to multi-tasking, which not only slashes effectiveness by 20-40%, but also leads to chronic overloading, burnout, diminished competitiveness, increased turnover, and lower creativity.

We’re left to wonder, How do we approach current resource challenges and achieve that ideal strategic flexibility?

Real flexibility comes from optimized resource planning. Regardless of industry, the one certainty all PMOs face is an uncertain environment that is competitive and ever-changing. In these conditions, they must continue to prioritize, schedule, and fund projects.

Organizations need to know when projects can happen, which all depends on who is available, at what capacity, and with what real options.

No matter how clear your strategic vision or how established your methods of multi-criteria scoring or stack ranking, prioritization within a multi-project portfolio requires intense resource management: allocating scarce resources, sequencing and timing work, building in time to hire, acquire, and onboard, all while remaining flexible in the face of uncertain futures.

Put simply, without resource planning, business strategy cannot be executed.

 “…a firm’s strategic flexibility–that is, its set of strategic options—depends jointly on the inherent flexibilities of the resources available for use by the organization and on the organization’s flexibilities in applying those resources to various uses in pursuing alternative courses of action.”

“Project Portfolio Management” by Zohar Laslo

Read the full white paper, “Scenarios Hold the Key to Strategic Flexibility,” to learn more about how resource management is the key to helping organizations maintain agility while avoiding wasteful investments, improve their project success rate, and achieve their business goals.

Abstract: Overwhelming research indicates that Strategic Flexibility is the gold standard for Project Portfolio Management, equipping organizations to respond effectively to a changing, competitive environment with strategic options and flexible resources. To achieve Strategic Flexibility, organizations must have optimized resource planning that balances resources against operational risks and avoids wasteful investments. Without resource and capacity planning, even the most visionary strategy cannot be executed. The following white paper presents multiple principles from the current research on how to achieve Strategic Flexibility via resource management scenario building.

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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