Move beyond a set-it-and-forget-it annual planning model to a more agile, continuous planning approach.
An agile approach does not necessarily mean 100% Agile execution. The Tri-Modal reality makes traditional planning obsolete. What’s needed is a portfolio management technique that allows you to control all work throughout the year, regardless of how it is executed.
Continuous planning is a dynamic approach to project planning that constantly assesses events, both internal and external, to help drive decisions and adjust the plan. In practice this planning model relies on data inputs, triggers, and alerts to dynamically update the plan based on both outside influences like changing economic conditions and internal factors, like a shift in strategy.
The traditional annual ‘set it and forget it’ approach to planning relies on a static plan, created once per year, primarily driven by the needs of the enterprise financial team. Once approved, the plan goes into execution-mode, with scant attention paid to changing variables like market demand or a shift in strategy. If the static plan is never revisited in light of these changes, the initiatives risk not being aligned with enterprise strategies.
Organizations and their practitioners are growing increasingly frustrated with the old, static approach to annual planning. PMOs need to be armed with tools and planning techniques to dynamically adjust plans as variables change. The old set-it-and-forget it approach doesn’t provide an organization with the agility needed to turn on a dime and adapt to changing variables or evolving market conditions.
Smart organizations are choosing to move to a continuous or rolling-wave planning model that supports quarterly, annual and multi-year planning and re-planning. This technique, when married to the right program-driven or capability-driven investment approach, ensures the organization is able to effectively manage near-term and long-term roadmaps of investments which are always aligned to strategic imperatives.
A more dynamic process allows you to continuously assess your inflight portfolio performance, conduct cost vs. benefit analyses and make both near-term and long-term changes to ensure all investments align with strategy. When done right, this process provides all stakeholders – including the strategy, finance and execution teams – with the right controls to assess the value of each investment without impacting any team’s ability to execute the way they want to.
To master strategic portfolio management you must first acknowledge these key imperatives: