A business strategy gives you the advantage over your competitors; puts you a step ahead of the game. Good strategies help you compete, help you be an attractive option from a customers perspective. It can improve the long-term prospects of a business through structured foresight and planning. You can take advantages of opportunities or prepare for those tough times around the corner.
But how do you make sure that what you do day-to-day, supports your strategy?
How do you ensure that what you are working on contributes to attaining your goals? Often the answer I will get to that question is ROI.
Unfortunately, ROI can be very focussed on the bottom line, and usually overlooks harder to measure metrics such as customer satisfaction improvements, staff satisfaction, staff retention and so on.
How about Business Cases?
Business Cases can often fall down at the stage they are assessed. Often in isolation, and often using highly subjective measures, prioritisation of business cases can be fraught with issues. Executives can “game” the system for instance. I’m sure we all have examples of “pet projects” being put ahead of other, more meritorious activities.
So how do you solve this? How do you take your strategies; your objectives and balance them with the intangible benefits? How do you review Business Cases on an even playing field?
Balancing and analysing the view of each decision-maker is crucial. I have found the easiest way to do this, is through Project Online. Now, this is where the fun begins.
Let’s create some imaginary strategic drivers.
- We will put our people first
- We will be disruptors in our industry
- We will improve profit through innovation
- Sustainability will always be front of mind
Now let’s stop and think about the type of roles that usually assess and agree on these drivers.
- HR Managers
I think it is safe to say that across these functions, there would be significant disagreement about which strategic driver is more important. HR would prioritise projects that contribute more to the people driven drivers; finance towards the profit and more tangible drivers, perhaps.
It is because of these differing viewpoints, and often the power struggles that go along with them, that pet projects can arise.
Using the Portfolio Analysis functionality in Project Online allows each role to decide the relative importance of each driver. That is, it creates a view of how important each driver is to each role.
For each project in the portfolio, it’s contribution to each of the strategic drivers is captured.
Finally, to keep the financial guys happy, you record your portfolios overall budget.
Now we have all of that information in the system Project Online can now do it’s magic behind the scenes to present you with a view of your “bang for buck”.
It will present you with a view of which projects should proceed on the basis that they will contribute the most towards your organisational goals for the available budget!
Even better still - if some projects are mandated, or if priorities change with market conditions, projects can be forced in or out and Project Online will calculate the best project to drop from your portfolio.
And there we have it! A way to bring multiple views together, remove the guesswork, and ensure all opportunities are judged equally. Most importantly though, you can have confidence that your activities are contributing as much as possible towards moving your business forward.
You can also take it a step further from there and add a resourcing, capability and capacity view, along with running what-if scenarios. But that’s a bit too much for now, I’ll cover that off in my next article