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Responding To A Mandate For Business Transformation

Every year, UMT360 participates in the Gartner PPM Summit. This year’s event was held June 12-14 in National Harbor, MD. As they have in previous years, the folks at ProjectManagement.com asked me to provide some observations on this year’s Summit. You can find the whole article here, but if you don’t have an account (register for free here) here’s a brief overview.

Transformation requires agility

Everyone seems to have an opinion on how PPM professionals should deal with Agile and other non-traditional approaches to managing work. The reality is that most organizations already use some combination of traditional waterfall, Agile and back-of-the-napkin execution methodologies. Faced with a mandate for rapid and aggressive business transformation, many organizations are responding by embracing tools and approaches that enable greater enterprise agility and innovation. So far so good…

But how Agile do you really want to be?

It’s at this point that many folks I speak to make a quite common logical mistake. They equate embracing “Enterprise Agility & Innovation” with the need to totally abandon traditional waterfall methods of execution and adopt a 100% fail-fast mindset coupled with agile delivery. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with adopting new ways of executing work, the fact remains that – regardless of execution methodology – most organizations still don’t have the foundational elements in place to strategically manage their portfolio of investments and ensure that all execution is aligned with strategy.

Neglect strategic capabilities at your peril!

Aligning execution with strategy requires continued investment in a variety of capabilities that go well beyond simply embracing a new style of execution. But in a headlong rush to become more “agile” – regardless of what sort of execution methodology is being employed – critical top-down capabilities are invariably overlooked. Regardless of your success in deploying new methods of execution, if you plan to really put yourself in position to drive business transformation – there are some key areas you’ll need to address, including:

  • The Bi-Modal Reality of projects across the enterprise executed in multiple methodologies
  • Aligning All Execution with Strategy with comprehensive business cases and enhanced top-down planning techniques
  • Gaining Financial Visibility & Control by automating and streamlining budgeting, tracking & forecasting
  • Optimizing Resource Utilization with intuitive ways of consolidating resource demand, allocation and capacity planning
  • Business Intelligence & Analytics to help automate and streamline reporting on project, program & portfolio performance
  • Automating & Connecting Roadmaps to manage cross project, program and portfolio independencies and connecting projects to the business and IT assets that they are transforming

There are no shortcuts!

When faced with the daunting task of driving transformation, it’s tempting to focus only on the tactical plumbing required to integrate Agile and traditional PPM. And while it’s certainly important to connect your PPM tools and Agile tools to synchronize data, that’s really only half the equation.

It’s just as critical to establish the right portfolio structure & top-down planning techniques to effectively align all execution with strategy. Organizations that take a balanced approach to developing those capabilities to help them manage both execution and strategy will, in the long run, be in a better position to respond to the mandate for business transformation.