Thursday, 13 September 2007 12:51

Are all the arrows pointing in the

Written by Mike Lecky
Mike Lecky’s Monthly Blog

When it comes to keeping things moving in the right direction project managers could use a little help. Frankly, so could CIOs.

For project managers the challenge often is getting the right people at the right time.
For CIOs it’s about making sure the right projects are pursued at the right times.

People and projects. Two different sets of arrows in the company quiver. One common objective: to align project investment to strategic goals.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were one single thing that could help both causes deliver on this objective?

Recently I spoke with a newly appointed CIO who observed that, when it came to IT-enabled investments in the business, there was no clear project roadmap, no decision premise and no visibility across the organization.

Hmmm… maybe if you throw enough money in, the worker bees will figure it out and something will come of it.

But of course that’s not what this CIO had in mind.

The idea - the project portfolio management idea - is to align investment with corporate strategy, and this means selecting the ‘right’ projects and prioritizing them accordingly. It means balancing available resources against business imperatives. It means adjusting project priorities to stay aligned with a continuously changing business environment.

It means other things too; mostly it means keeping all the arrows pointing in the ‘right’ direction, even when the target moves.

This is the aim of that CIO. This executive intends to keep project spending in line with the direction of the business.

Dreamer? I think not! A little structure and some process around maintaining a prioritized project list can go a long way to bridging the gap between strategic goals and getting the ‘right’ people working on what is best for the company.

That’s the one single thing to keep both sets of arrows, projects and people, aimed in the right direction; aimed in the same direction. A single sheet posted as a guide to all.

It’s a simple principle. Keeping it simple is important. Good thing senior management is starting to recognize this!

So how does this help project managers?

People are not like worker bees. We don’t simply and efficiently re-direct ourselves in synchronized buzzing harmony when things must change. We need a structured means to vector us. Project portfolio management gives everyone a premise to weigh decisions about work, and a basis to negotiate shared resources. What better way is there to get operating managers and project managers on the same page when it comes to re-directing resources to new priorities?

It’s win, win, win all the way! Project managers get a prioritized list of projects to gauge resource management decisions. CIOs get a defendable investment roadmap and a way to dynamically align projects to business objectives. And shareholders. Well, they get more value for their investment dollars.

 

 


Mike Lecky is a consultant at The Manta Group, a management consulting company specializing in IT governance, Project and Portfolio Management, Service Management, Risk and Compliance. Mike has degrees from the University of Waterloo (BScEng), The University of Western Ontario (MBA) and the University of Liverpool (MScIT). He worked for 12 years in aerospace electronics and as a Project Engineer managed several general aviation and US Military contracts. He teaches project management online with the School of Applied Technology at Humber College. Now, with over 25 years experience, he is a PMP and an information security professional (CISSP) and has a broad range of program and technology implementation experiences in the high tech and service sectors. Mike can be reached at mike.lecky@mantagroup.com.
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