A series of blogs about Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) wouldn’t be complete without a post stressing the importance of continuous or adaptive planning. You may think you’ve heard it all before, but you really haven’t. Because what is being promoted as the concept of continuous planning, and what many organizations have tried to embrace, isn’t continuous planning at all. And it certainly isn’t adaptive.
Most organizations just use the same annual planning processes and apply them more frequently – usually quarterly, with business cases that are more sales pitch than objective analysis. Reviews assume that prior decisions will be validated unless things are a long way off the rails because it takes a long time to shift focus and direction. And there’s insufficient understanding of the larger operating environment to drive significant change anyway.
Rethinking what planning really is
But if you truly want to adopt continuous planning, then you’ll need to actually change how you plan. This of course assumes that you’ve already embraced the trimodal reality of traditional, agile and informal project delivery, and you’re ready to expand your delivery models from traditional projects and programs to include products and capabilities. Because there’s a lot of work being done in a lot of different ways and it all needs to be planned.