Creating a portfolio where the most important projects are staffed with the right people at the best possible time isn’t done easily. In fact, it directly raises the following questions:
1. Which initiatives and projects do we have at all?
2. Do these initiatives and projects add value to our organization and if so, how are they linked to our company strategy?
3. Which resources are required and available to execute these initiatives and projects?
4. What is the right timing to execute a project and does that result into conflicts with other projects?
In order to answer these questions and come with a solution which allows you to create the best possible and realistic portfolio you need to have a Portfolio Management framework in place. This framework should enable Senior Management to make the right decisions based on scenarios created by the PMO using the absolute minimum amount of information delivered by the project teams.
Lean PPM™ is such a framework which, supported by Meisterplan, allows you to make plans that work.
LEAN Project Portfolio Management covers the layer between Strategy and Project Management. It consists of the following four phases: strategize, collect, decide and execute.
Let’s take a closer look at these phases and explain how Meisterplan supports them.
In order to create a project portfolio, you need to know (and evaluate) the corporate strategy. Is it still in line with the vision and goals of your company? Once the corporate strategy is clear, you need to determine to which criteria investments will be measured. When the corporate strategy is translated into evaluation criteria, you ensure the objective assessment of projects. This allows you to determine their true priority and make sure you achieve your goals. Examples of criteria are strategy fit, risk level, expected revenue, required budget, urgency and payback period.
Lean PPM™ combined with Meisterplan allows you to easily create project priority scores on the chosen criteria which will be applied to each initiative or project in the portfolio. Each individual score can have its own weighting which results in a total project scoring mechanism where the highest scores represent the highest priority and biggest alignment to your strategy. Off course there will always be room for gut feeling, but via this method you know the trade-off when more subjective scores are taken into account as well.
When the evaluation criteria are in place, it’s time to collect all your existing projects and new initiatives. For each of them you should collect just the vital information required to create your plan. This information should at least contain the required budget, resource requirements and timelines. Next to this, the evaluation criteria must be addressed in order to determine the project score and with that the priority.
When this information has been collected, the new initiatives and running projects can be added to Meisterplan by the PMO. It simply allows you to create new projects, add the most important milestones, link the resource requirements and add the required financials and benefits to it. Using its Stage Gate capability, you can determine whether or not a project should be included in the current portfolio or not.
The first step in the decide phase it to review and rank the new initiatives based on the alignment with the corporate strategy. This will normally be done by the Portfolio Board, which is the highest-level decision-making committee in the Lean PPM™ framework. Once ranked, the Portfolio Board will determine which initiatives should be added to the portfolio and when. Next to that, the Portfolio Board will check the running projects and determine if they are on track and aligned with the corporate strategy. If they aren’t, the Portfolio Board can decide to remove them from the portfolio as well.
As Meisterplan is able to display information in an easy, understandable and intuitive way, the decision-making process is supported efficiently. The Portfolio Board can use What-if scenario’s which allow them to see real-time with happens with capacity and financials if new initiatives are being promoted or ongoing projects are updated or moved in time. Assumptions and guessing will be taken out of the portfolio planning process which will end up in creating realistic and achievable portfolios.
When the Portfolio Board has made a decision on the projects which will be executed and when, you need to communicate the plan and start (and continue) the execution of the projects.
Meisterplan allows you to set a scenario as the new Plan of Record which is the actual running portfolio. Next to that, it contains several reports which allow you to easily communicate the changes made in the portfolio.
It is important to understand that although it looks like a linear process, the phases in the Lean PPM™ framework will start to run simultaneously over time. Once time progresses, new initiatives will pop-up, market circumstances and business needs might change. This all requires you to regularly re-evaluate your portfolio.
Make plans that work
Now you’ve seen how you are able to make plans where the right people are working on the most important projects at the best possible times using Lean PPM™ and Meisterplan. This allows you to answer the questions we started with because now:
1. you know which initiatives and project you have running in your organization;
2. you objectively scored them to determine their value and ranked them in alignment with the organizational strategy;
3. you collected vital information to support the decision-making process;
4. you created what-if scenarios based on resource requirements compared to capacity and budgets.
Want to see Meisterplan live in action? Reach out to us and we are happy to setup a demo or a 30-day trial.