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Mapping the Road from Investments to Value Realization

(Part five of a series on the forces helping to drive a tactical to strategic transformation of the PMO.)

Effective planning and execution of strategic initiatives requires that processes, technology and implementation all be synchronized with company strategy. Organizations that ignore these dependencies risk not being able to implement even moderately complex programs.

Project Gantt charts are helpful, but are ultimately insufficient to manage enterprise investments. Organizations can no longer simply roadmap project tasks and the associated expenses without also considering and testing the business impact. Success requires both ingenuity and execution, and for this, we need a new tool.

So what can help an organization holistically understand the “time” relationship between a proposed investment and the business/technology impacts and outcomes? It’s called the “roadmap of change”, a tool based on a requirement that the roadmap be extended well beyond the planning phase and into the execution phase. The organization must be able to create and analyze different implementation alternatives, evaluate duration-scope-cost and assess resource tradeoffs on-the-fly.

Specifically, a roadmap tool should help address:

  • Feasibility – Is the plan coherent and the system stable? How difficult will implementation be?
  • Sequence of execution – Where should we begin? How does that sequence affect success?
  • Pace – Can the organization move slow or fast? Which initiatives must end at the same time?
  • Stakeholder management – Are the insights from all stakeholders appropriately considered?

Up to 60 percent of projects fail to reach their intended goals. Success depends on managing, optimizing and testing “time” relationships between a proposed action and the business or technology impacted. Clearly, these increasingly complex business and technology investments require increasingly sophisticated planning tools, and roadmaps are a crucial component for success.

The roadmap helps us understand where we are going. But things rarely go 100% according to plan. The key to ensuring that execution continues to be aligned with strategy – even in the face of unforeseen developments – is to adopt a reallocation methodology. I’ll discuss that in my next post.