Tag archives for Change

Business Fusion and Performance via PPM

TAKEAWAY: Project & portfolio management (PPM) has come along well in recent times, primarily by IT in the course of building business-IT relations. In some cases this PPM discipline can be viable to strengthen the enterprise.

Kudos to the IT community for putting new structure and discipline around project & portfolio management (PPM). Not only does PPM present the opportunity to build business-IT relations and alignment, PPM can be used to inject all manner of goodness into business capabilities and performance at large.

PPM sits at the junction between the business architecture and the underlying business model – the performance crossroad. A progressive adoption of PPM can be a gatekeeper, reinforcing positive change and behaviors. Approach it as  IT or IT governance only and you might be missing some attractive opportunities.


PPM is typically adopted to promote transparency and understanding in terms of how IT is to be developed and deployed in support of business objectives. The basics include things you might expect or use within a program management office (PMO), addressing such as project criteria and prioritization, funding allocation and appropriation, and deliverable specification (and satisfaction) in context of business requirements. PPM brings some formalization to business-IT interactive processes and gets everybody on their toes.This typical application of PPM can help keep a spot light on the chronic worry of IT spending, the percentage spent on sustain versus new development, etc. Importantly, it also helps protect against the usual reasons IT projects don’t live up to their expectations.

Then one day there can be an epiphany. PPM is really working well as relates to the IT projects and portfolio. So why can’t this structure and efficiency be applied to the corporation’s wider interests, to all the classes of projects and the associated investment portfolio? Is there existing redundancy, and if so, is it really needed and can it be afforded?

Consider that many projects are undertaken to establish new capabilities. And when it comes to establishing those capabilities in business operations, the business-IT fusion has to be there. And this fusion is much more flowing and probable and effective if it has been established and in evidence from the top down.

The suggestion is that PPM can grow beyond IT in scope and benefits. To do so it has to be a dynamic exchange characterized by good communications and structured control. Artfully executed, stronger business-IT fusion can begin to creep in, and the PMO function is elevated to the enterprise. This could bring it to the point where all things are more aligned, and where there is less tendency for “shadow IT”.

While the benefits of progressive PPM can be seen on a project basis, benefits can go up and some forms of complexity can go down when the discipline is applied to the enterprise portfolio. By doing planning and prioritization in one spot, it can foster an atmosphere of trust and ownership, and facilitates good cross-functional learning. PPM can become a center of knowledge and expertise, providing an excellent forum to drive to common terminology and practices, such as lean. Positioned and defined this way, PPM can be used to deliberately manage change. It can be used as the company’s focal point for definition of key processes and their associated key performance indicators (KPIs), and merged with process automation.

Business-IT integration is always going to happen in some fashion. PPM, especially when applied as an enterprise enabler, just makes it more predictable and productive. PPM might start for IT oriented purposes, but can be extended for wider business interests. PPM as suggested might be one of those crawl-walk-run propositions, probably starting with a rigorous self-examination that assumes a willingness to take on some challenging realities.

Freebies to Apply Competitive Strategy

These things are not only free, they’re important. Regardless of where you sit in the company or how big it is, one size fits all. There is no schedule – you can do these now or anytime. It’s up to you. And good for you if they’re already habit.

Think Strategically

Put yourself in the place of the business owner, be and act like her/him, maybe with a magic wand. Think about the big picture. Don’t be consumed by tactical thinking. Look outward, with a customer and market orientation.

Understand Customer Needs

Know your customer, and your customer’s customer.  Understand what your customer is trying to do, how they are doing it, how they measure success, and how others measure them.

Uncover Innovation and Value

Be committed to continuous learning. Learn to learn, and do it. Network, formally and informally, and interact with all levels of your teams. Forge strategic partnerships and alliances. Be a hub of communication with an attitude of plenty.  Be involved and demonstrate endless curiosity. Develop personal relationships and commitments. Don’t be afraid to show you care and that you don’t know everything.

Execute and Work to Closure

Work to scale with your customer, giving them what they need now, knowing that you can build on it. Get value-adding things done in the here-and-now, with consideration for your customer’s specific situation and abilities. Done right, this is more a sense of purpose and conviction than urgency.

Embrace and Promote Change

Never forget that the things above (really everything) has to be done in context of constant change. You have to be in touch with change and facilitate it. Make time and build a reasonable working understanding of what it takes to change organization, culture, and technology at various levels. Don’t fight it – you cannot win.

Quality Deployment via the Business Blueprint

Quality deployment is both a challenge and an opportunity. Prime among the challenges: getting beyond tactical reactionary approaches and establishing a clear role and expectations for Quality. Quality represents a proven powerful opportunity, at a time when cost cutting options might be exhausted, even as performance expectations continue to rise.

image by tungphoto

The importance of quality has always been acknowledged. A high percentage of businesses  reference quality directly in their strategies. Sometimes it’s little more than intuition that places quality at the center of many company value propositions – quality at the affordable price.  It becomes consuming for  companies if they experience the the effects of poor quality – it takes the form of crippling high costs and damage to reputation and image. All companies are susceptible.

So, who can argue with quality? An isn’t this what the customers want to hear? Following are answers to these rhetorical questions that might be insightful, and  recommendations of how to realize the real and strategic value that is available through progressive quality deployment. …click here to read more

Business Transformation: How Is Product Development Competitiveness Changing?

It might be insightful to look back at how product development competitiveness has evolved in the past, and to consider what might be emerging now in this regard. For complex highly-engineered products, the progression could look like this. At the start of the new century, many  companies started considering product lifecycle management (PLM). Now as we head into 2012, there is expectation that the product development function will step up (transform) for the vitality and good of the enterprise. This is how I see it at this point.

…click here to read more