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How we help the SPO

The Strategic Planning Office (SPO) is at the heart of the ability to deliver strategic success.

The SPO ensures that all planning across the organization is integrated and aligned with strategic priorities.  It manages the maintenance and evolution of those plans for all work types and all portfolios through the continuous adjustments that are inevitably required.

SPO Role Summary

The SPO’s success is predicated on its ability to deliver against the following strategic imperatives within strategic portfolio management:

Owning the roadmap to success

The SPO is the custodian of the multi-year strategic roadmap for the organization, defining strategies across a series of investment periods and decomposing those strategies into the various major initiatives that the organization should invest in.  They must then be able to analyze each of those investments to identify the prioritization and sequencing of all strategic work in order to optimize strategic success while optimizing all available people and financial resources.

Using a dynamic approach to planning

In the modern world those plans can’t be fixed.  They must be capable of responding to emerging trends in technology, to new threats and opportunities, and to ever shifting customer demands.  Successful organizations must also be capable of anticipating these changes and acting proactively.  That requires a dynamic approach to planning – one that continuously adjusts the work being done to optimize alignment with the goals and objectives.  The goals themselves must also be able to evolve with minimal disruption to optimize organizational performance, and potentially entire strategies will evolve based on changing circumstances.

Managing dependencies

The SPO must own that fluid environment as the engine that drives all other strategic work.  It drives the continuous and adaptive planning model, as well as the funding process to ensure that the right projects are being prioritized and delivered at all times, regardless of how much change is occurring within the operating environment.  That must also consider all dependencies across all areas of work to ensure that adjustments to prioritization, funding and resourcing always result in optimal performance against strategy.

That performance must be defined and measured and the SPO must be accountable for establishing the outcomes that are expected and the metrics that will be used (financial and other) to confirm that those outcomes are being achieved.  The SPO must also track progress against those metrics and use that tracking to drive further updates to the plan if performance is deviating from expectations.

Model the impact of every decision

This will drive change into all portfolios that will have potential impact on many dependent areas.  As a result, the SPO must be able to model the impact of every potential decision – conducting detailed portfolio analysis so that the best decisions can be reached and the implications of those decisions are managed effectively.  And that must be applied to all investments – not just the discretionary investments that are the focus of each planning cycle, but also the investments in infrastructure, applications and capabilities.

The SPO’s main relationship is with the SRO or strategy realization office.  That’s the execution arm of planning and the two roles must be in close alignment.  The SPO also works closely with all LOB executives to ensure the right focus in every business area and with the office of the CFO to effectively manage both the cost and benefit side of the strategic investment ledger.