“By shifting their emphasis from command-and-control project reporting structures to strategic portfolio analysis, PMOs assist their business partners by providing insight on portfolio strategies to facilitate improved selection of critical initiatives.”
In the first workshop in this series, we discussed how your organization can shift toward continuous planning, using your current annual planning and demand management processes as starting points. In part 2, we will venture into how you can fuel decisions with data by improving and increasing your data insights. Let’s begin by covering an obvious but crucial point:
Data is everywhere.
Too often, organizations are in the position of having either not enough or too much data at their fingertips, and this is a case where more is not necessarily better. It can be easy to become overwhelmed by data, to the point you may feel like you’re drowning in it. But data shouldn’t be a burden, and the PMO has the opportunity to bring it to life.
Three methods to fuel decisions with data and make the PMO a strategic partner.
In order to make key trade-off decisions and ensure everyone is on the same page, you musthave access to and understanding of your organization’s strategic KPIs (key performance indicators). Start by viewing the PMO as a business partner, rather than simply an executor of work, and provide solutions that equip the PMO with data insights that enable them to effectively tie the current state of the portfolio to strategic initiatives.
Further, understand your audience. When enabling stakeholders with the right data, begin with looking at “who” in order to best drive the “what.” Only then can you ensure your stakeholders are getting the information they need, with just the right amount of data. To get started, follow the three methods listed below:
- Create constant feedback loops. You want managers and stakeholders to be constantly in-tuned with the state of the portfolio. Therefore, they need such feedback loops to effectively monitor portfolio status for ongoing operations and deliverables—they need the appropriate data in their inbox each reporting period. Not only is this critical for portfolio health, but will establish a common “language” throughout the organization regarding progress and outputs that makes communication and decision making much easier and more consistent.
- Visualize investment decisions. This means initiating forward-looking planning for roadmap tradeoffs. What’s the benefits of visualizing such decisions? Well, for one, data is easier to digest and understand when it is presented in a visually appealing format—it encourages more thorough and informed decision making. However, it can take forever to manually transfer data into such formats like PowerPoint. This brings me to my second point, which is to adopt an automated solution that allows you to take the manual process out of the equation and instead quickly generate and distribute various scenarios for planning sessions. You’ll be amazed by the unlocked insights you can retrieve from a simple and visual presentation of data.
- Take advantage of storytelling dashboards. View these dashboards as interactive data stories. They allow you to conduct stakeholder analysis, data exploration, highlight and show KPIs, and construct interesting, interactive analytics. Plus, the interactive nature of the dashboards encourages stakeholders and executives to explore and engage, not to mention they allow customers to also provide better insights to executives. Let the data lead you to the answers, rather than the other way around.
Traditional formats easily conceal true impacts of investment decisions.
Don’t continue to be blind to such impacts. Trust me, you have the data, you just need a simpler, more accurate and thorough way to present and analyze it. The PMO is key to this transition, so rather than continuing to view it as only an executer of work, it’s time to make the PMO a strategic partner.
If you need to advance reporting in your organization, I encourage you to register for the second workshop in this series, “Reporting and Analytics: Fuel Decisions with Data,” for more information and tips on how to get started. Stay tuned for parts four and five of the PMO at hyper-speed workshops, and check out part 3, “Project Management Software to Boost Your PMO into Hyper-speed” right now, where I cover how the PMO can support the various different work styles within your organization. While waiting for the final two parts of this series, read up on how Planview Enterprise One can help you better manage your data, and register for a free demo today.
Eight Steps to Optimize Strategic Portfolio
Strategic Plan: The Strategic Portfolio Management Handbook
February 1, 2018
By Margo Visitacion with Matthew Guarini, Jeremy Swire, Andrew Reese