With sudden declines in revenue due to COVID-19, many companies need to take measures. A thorough evaluation of your project portfolio can help, to ensure continuation or acceleration of critical projects, while you put other projects on hold or cancel them. All to compensate the revenue decline. But the heightened uncertainty about the future makes this crisis even more complex. No one knows what the situation will be in a year, or even next month. So, how do you tackle this challenge? How do you assess which projects are most relevant? In this blog, I—Jochen Vos—will provide an answer to this question. We’ll look into how to assess Scope vs Timelines vs Costs, effective deployment of Agile teams and how to execute priority monitoring and ensure decision execution, taking new developments and insights into consideration as the crisis progresses.
The essence of Strategic Portfolio Management is to ensure that data in projects is maintained based on the same principles and methodology. Make sure you have a common perception on indicators like Priority, Impact and Value, as this will allow you to consolidate project data for matching and comparison. This will help you to make informed decisions. The business case is an important metric to decide if you should execute a project or not. Now more than ever, business cases should be based on general guidelines and principles. Due to the heightened uncertainty, it makes sense to limit business case timelines. Projects delivering short-term revenue or quick and significant cost reductions are important. On the other hand, do not stop long-term strategic initiatives. Vision should not be led by catastrophes, but you probably do need revisit and update it to match the new reality. Perhaps stopping is not the way to go, but postponing is a feasible option. Spending time on properly rounding off stopped/postponed projects is a sensible investment and includes documenting deliverables/parts, handing over deliverables to the organization and collecting lessons learned.
Every project consists of one or maybe two employees who make or break a project. They are the most experienced. They know all the ins and outs of the services and service history and are involved in all major projects and processes. Under normal circumstances, these people are very busy and due to cost reductions, you will become even more dependent on these people. Critical projects for your business cannot depend on a single person. That’s simply too risky. By stopping projects, it will become clear which employees, functional groups or Agile teams are low on work. Two things are important here. First, make sure you capture knowledge and second, remove single points of failure. You can achieve this by assigning additional (more junior) staff to work with the highly experienced employees. If you work Agile, the seniors should be at the center of the remaining teams. This will ensure that your organization is ready for the future.
Pulling the plug out of projects that made sense not too long ago is a difficult task, and can be a waste of budget. If starting these projects made sense back then, even if you need to stop them now, you’ll perhaps be able to restart them in the near future. So, keep these projects in your portfolio and put them on hold. But to be sure, do properly finish them for the time being. Showing the business that you make informed decisions is important. Not just for the projects on hold, but also for the ones that continue. Keep data use to a minimum, and everyone involved in maintaining the data should adhere to the same principles. The required information includes budget, timelines, milestones, resourcing and benefits. Update this information regularly to demonstrate business case validity.
Modern strategic portfolio offices rely on Project Management Officers (PMO) to ensure projects and their stakeholders receive process support to enable project delivery (resourcing, budget, scope, timelines). This ensures project status is reflected correctly. In order for stakeholders to take their role in line with organizational governance processes, you need technology that provides them with the information they need and efficiently and effectively supports relevant processes. This will enable you to make the right decisions for your business, which is now more important than ever. After all, you don’t want to make difficult decisions based ambiguous data. The required technology will need to have a single data model, real-time data, great reporting capabilities, limited manual administration (e.g. status reporting) and provide feedback in terms of data quality, performance and possible improvements.
According to the Forrester Wave for Strategic Portfolio Management tools, ServiceNow’s Project & Portfolio Management is listed as the leader. Plat4mation is one of 5 recognized ServiceNow ITBM partners in EMEA, making us extremely experienced in PPM implementations. With our knowledge of PPM, ServiceNow and Performance Analytics, we can support you in establishing a ServiceNow implementation that supports all stakeholders and processes in strategic portfolio management. Moreover, we can help you solve the issues mentioned in this blog, with services like:
The decline in revenue most companies face.
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