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One-pagers and playbooks – Enrich Consulting

Publicerad By Dr. Richard Sonnenblick
Sample playbook (click to enlarge)

Sample playbook (click to enlarge)

Over the years, we have seen again and again that how you present information is just as important as the information itself. Cram too much information on a screen or a page, combine nonessential and essential facts in one display, or fail to annotate a graph with important contextual information, and you have all the ingredients for an unproductive conversation.

Many of our clients need to quickly review summary information for a large number of opportunities. In these situations, distilling the most important information down to a single page can make all the difference. The one-pager should not only jog the stakeholders’ memories about each project, but also update them on the most important news and changes. After reading a one-pager, a decision making team should be able to place each opportunity in one of the following buckets:

  • Definitely fund/continue
  • Definitely do not fund/defer
  • Flag for a deeper conversation

In the example shown above, we aggregate some qualitative information (scores on several different dimensions, including competitive intensity and benefits), some quantitative information (costs and headcount), and some narrative information (description, value proposition, etc.).

What belongs on your group’s one-pager? It depends on the story you need to tell. For example:

  • Your division has typically had trouble articulating market needs, and bridging the gap between technology (“we have thousands of patents”) and product (“we just need to convert technologies into products…”). Thus, your one-pager should include concise statements about segments with unmet needs, value propositions, and customer willingness to pay.
  • Your division has historically favored line extensions over risky endeavors. Thus, your one-pager should include statements about the disruptive capability of each project, and the maturity of both the technology and the market.

Now that you have clarified the story you want to tell, consider which of the following pieces of information should make it onto each one-pager:

  • Operational health based on a combination of schedule planned vs. actual and budget spend down. A simple graphic that depicts the total budget and percent spent to date is often very helpful.

Graphic concisely depicting spending and schedule status for the current milestone/phase

  • A medium sized graphic with revenue and costs, in table or chart form is appropriate for later stage projects. Don’t make the mistake of creating financial statements for very early stage projects, where they may convey a false sense of precision.

Sample cash flow summary

  • A comparison of the current project to other similar projects using graphs or charts. In the example shown, the scatter plot supplements the current project (large circle) with data from other projects under consideration (small circles). You might compare project scores, project risk, quantitative benefits, or technology maturity.
Visualizing one project's scores in the context of the larger portfolio

Visualizing one project’s scores in the context of the larger portfolio

  • The date the report was generated, and the date this project was last modified.
  • If your project teams enter realistic ranges for critical inputs (and not just point estimates), consider adding a small tornado diagram.
Sample cash flow summary

Sample cash flow summary

  • If your executives are very concerned about changes in project disposition since the last review meeting, consider adding a waterfall to highlight changes in cost, risk, and value since the last review.

A waterfall shows the input changes that affect NPV between scenarios or since the last review meeting

It should be obvious that there is no one-size-fits-all criteria for a one-pager; they differ dramatically from company to company, or even perhaps division to division within a company. But, can the same be said project to project? I am a firm believer in the idea that in order to ‘sell’ a project to management, you need to tell a story, and not simply hand-off an NPV.  The story for each project is unique (think about the story that would motivate funding for Pintrest, and compare it to the story for Kickstarter, for example). The challenge here is creating a one-pager format that can begin to convey the rudiments of a story for almost any of your opportunities, and provides a bridge to the bespoke story for that project.

In order to bridge the gap from one-size-fits-all to specific story, we have seen successful one-pagers include a top-three list or two. For example:

  • top three value differentiators of this project
  • top three recent wins/biggest successes
  • top three risks of this project (and the plan to resolve/mitigate those risks)

These lists provide a jumping off point for a deeper, more compelling story, and provide a glimpse into that story even on the one-pager itself.

As an online report, the one-pager should be linked directly to everything that tells the story: a concise narrative about the dimensions of the business model, detailed workups of the project’s costs and benefits, a history of changes for the project over time, and fields that allow users to leave comments and authorize funding. At the portfolio level, you can create a document (PowerPoint or Word) with a  single page summary for each of the projects in your portfolio.

If you aren’t using a single-page summary and portfolio playbook as part of your process, consider whether it would add sufficient value to be worth the effort. I hope you can immediately adopt some of the suggestions I’ve offered up here to good effect. What are the most useful or most talked-about pieces of your one-pagers and playbooks? What have I omitted?

Relaterade inlägg

Skrivet av Dr. Richard Sonnenblick Chief Data Scientist

Sonnenblick, Planviews Chief Data Scientist, har många års erfarenhet av att arbeta med några av världens största läkemedels- och life science-företag. Genom denna djupgående studie och tillämpning har han framgångsrikt formulerat insiktsfulla prioriterings- och portföljgranskningsprocesser, poängsystem samt finansiella värderings- och prognosmetoder för att förbättra både produktprognoser och portföljanalys. Sonnenblick har en Ph.D. och MS från Carnegie Mellon University i teknik och offentlig politik och en BA i fysik från University of California, Santa Cruz.