According to Gartner, by 2021, 100% of ITPMOs that fail to shift focus toward speed of delivery will be disbanded. That’s a frightening reality, especially considering less than 1/3 of executives currently believe their organizations effectively execute on strategy. How can the ITPMO focus on improving speed of delivery when the organization can’t even deliver on, or even form, strategic plans? Strategy is the first step in the process to achieve continuous planning and improve speed of delivery.
Before we jump in, be sure to catch up on the previous parts of this series: “Project Management Software to Boost Your PMO into Hyper-speed,” “Fuel Decisions with Data by Making the PMO a Strategic Partner,” and “Shift from Annual to Continuous Planning to Enable Agility.”
Steer your organization with strategic planning
Of the few organizations who do focus on strategy, 50% of their strategic initiatives fail. Why is this? Why does strategic planning continue to be so foreign and difficult? It shouldn’t be, as there is no longer a need for traditional PMOs. Instead, PMOs must evolve to the enterprise level and become “change enablers”—they must be able to take on a broader perspective, to take the strategies of their organization, then build a plan to address them. It’s time for them to embrace strategy as top priority.
Move from a traditional to an enterprise PMO
An enterprise PMO, as opposed to a traditional PMO that focuses on projects, scales integrated portfolios across projects and ensures alignment between strategy and performance. Take it one step further, and you have an Enterprise Strategy Realization Office (SRO), capable of enabling strategic decision making. This order of succession must be completed for PMOs to be able to operate at hyper-speed—they must move from projects to portfolios to continuous planning. Strategic, annual portfolio planning all turns into continuous planning as the PMO adapts plans and priorities to be able to adjust for change.
Now, this is much easier said than done. Many organizations only think about strategic planning once a year, although there is a shift occurring, as 50% or more are now conducting monthly, quarterly, or another period of planning. But the concept of an Enterprise Strategy Realization Office may still seem foreign and, quite frankly, unobtainable. However, it is possible. The PMO simply must be ready.
Are you ready to make the shift?
Your organization too can effectively execute on strategy by first starting with strategic plans. Define who is responsible for creating these plans to eliminate any disconnect between strategy, annual planning, and effective portfolio management. Develop a hyper-focus on strategy, separating it from individual projects to be able to translate that strategy back into how your organization is delivering and interacting with customers. It’s simple, just follow these four steps.
Focus on strategy, not projects.
- Turn your organization’s strategies into actionable plans.
What are your top five strategic goals? How should they impact your bottom line? How do you plan on achieving those goals? Really focus on creating a plan that you can translate into future projects and iterations. Take your strategy and associate it to the products and services you deliver, thus begin thinking about a strategic portfolio rather than simply a product portfolio.
- Fund strategy, not the department budget.
Fund programs from strategic targets rather than aligning projects to strategy as a means to justify them. Simplify and streamline the annual plan with a top-down strategic budget, allowing a roll-up of any carry-over work that needs to be completed from the prior year. Bottom-up plans only include this carry-over work, limiting your ability to effectively execute on strategy.
- Deliver strategy through Agile programs.
First, break down programs into iterations. This will not only give you the ability to deliver more frequently, but you can also fund such programs iteratively, allowing you to measure achievements and benefits before funding any further iteration(s) in a program. Then, create a portfolio of iterations and programs that you will manage across strategies. This is crucial. You want to measure the benefits, the strategy of such programs, not the way people are doing work. Leave that part up to the teams.
- Create a continuous planning process.
Once you have your strategic plan, you want to be able to measure and monitor it. Do so by focusing on the benefit-realization of each iteration, then rolling them up to the program level. Did you achieve the results you wanted to achieve? If not, you’ll know not to continue investing in that strategic initiative. This knowledge is why strategic planning is so important—without understanding how successful a program or iteration was, you can effectively prioritize and allocate funding and capacity.
Think about funding products and services, not just work
Consider what you want your organization or PMO to be. Translate strategy into actionable plans and define your goals to adequately measure and monitor progress. Eliminate the traditional bottoms-up detailed plan and adopt a top-down annual planning process that is all about funding from a strategic perspective. This way, you won’t wind up as one of the PMOs being disbanded by 2021 for failing to shift their focus toward their speed of delivery—you’ll be soaring above the competition instead.
To learn more, register for the full webinar, “Steer Your Organization with Strategic Planning,” and see how Planview can help by signing up for a free demo of our solutions. Stay tuned for the final part of this series, where we will investigate how you can leverage people, teams, technology, and capabilities planning, work, and resources within a common portfolio across the enterprise.