Hi PPM practitioners! In my last blog, I highlighted some of ways we often hinder agility by over-engineering our PPM solutions. In this blog, I’d like to balance that negativity with a few positive reminders about the importance of staying true to the core values that PPM can bring to your organization. This isn’t about tool jockeying or wrench turning, and it isn’t about drowning in tons of meta data. It’s about knowing the value that PPM can bring in linking execution with strategy, helping you achieve your target business outcomes, and eliminating barriers along the way.
While value can come in lots of shapes and sizes and can be influenced by lots of internal and external factors within the organization, I’ve highlighted a few of the core PPM values that should be foundational to all. Have the courage to take an honest look at them and ask yourself, “Did we get it right? Are we providing value to the business and making progress toward delivering outcomes in a more responsive way? If not, why not/what are the barriers?”
Core Value 1 – Portfolio Transparency
At a minimum, portfolio transparency is important because it enables the organization to keep a close pulse on where and how valuable human and financial resources are being invested and whether they are fully aligned to business strategies and priorities.
- Are we capturing all the work or are there pockets of work that consume valuable resources and go under the radar?
- Do we have an ideation process in place to responsibly capture, track, and plan new opportunities? Can we realistically plan, prioritize, and deliver them or do they get stuck in the proverbial black hole?
- Are we working on the right things? Do they align to the organization’s strategies, goals, and financial targets?
- Do we have the capacity to deliver on our commitments? Are we lacking critical skills?
- Which initiatives should be outsourced, purchased, or developed in house?
- Do our initiatives have measurable deliverables and outcomes that are paced and tracked at a cadence that will ensure we don’t miss our window of opportunity for real value?
- Can we align our initiatives to key corporate assets for a total view of IT cost?
- Can we model change and if necessary, easily and quickly respond?
Core Value 2 – Financial Transparency
Financial transparency ensures that stakeholders have visibility into investment cost. This will have limited value if it isn’t interlocked with portfolio transparency.
- Can we easily track spend variance to budget at both the portfolio and investment levels?
- Are we burning funds at a faster pace than we are delivering planned outcomes? More importantly, can we identify and correct before negative impact?
- Are we categorizing work to enable the organization to incur maximum benefit from capitalization/accounting practices?
- Are capital and operating funds properly aligned to our portfolio?
Core Value 3 – Capacity and Demand Transparency
Capacity and demand transparency isn’t about keeping resources under a microscope. It’s about making sure the organization has the right skills, at the right time, to deliver target outcomes.
- Are resources working on the right things/aligned to portfolio plan?
- Do we have the right mix of staff/skills required to deliver planned initiatives?
- Do we have insight into both opportunities and other inflight/committed staffing requirements?
- Do we know how much of our staff it takes to keep the lights on vs. other strategic and tactical work?
- Do we have a sustainable process that makes it easy for DevOps managers to collaborate and staff initiatives in a timely manner?
- Can we model future capacity?
Core Value 4 – Outcome Transparency
Outcome transparency isn’t necessarily about capturing lots of meta data about projects, enhancements, and other keep-the-lights-on activities, building complex stage-gates that often result in execution/delivery bottlenecks, and/or mandating detailed status reports that take days or weeks to prepare, assemble, and distribute (yesterday’s news is old news). It’s more about making sure you can maximize team and work performance in a way that enables the organization to continuously deliver value in the most optimized way.
- How quickly can we pivot when priorities change, with minimal disruption?
- Can we track and measure outcomes, whether they are planned, in progress, or delivered?
- Do outcomes measure up to promised value?
- Can we easily track risk exposure?
- Do we make it easy for stakeholders at all levels to gain the necessary insights from work being performed, from ideation through execution/delivery?
- Do we have simple guidelines in place to know how best to deliver work? That might mean leveraging agile/scrum-type concepts for some work, while taking a waterfall or hybrid approach to others.
- Are working teams empowered for delivery and do we adapt the right level of governance without creating bottlenecks?
- Do we gain insight from historical work?
These are just a few of the core values of an effective PPM solution—there are many others. I hope they give you a little food for thought and can help keep you from veering off the beaten path. Whether your IT organization’s biggest barrier to delivering value-added outcomes is speed, focus, efficiency, adoption, or something else entirely, I challenge you to use CA PPM to take a step toward getting back on track.
Which of these (or other) PPM core values speak to you, and which do you find most challenging? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Readers interested in more detail around CA PPM can check out DocOps. I encourage you to participate in the best-in-class site, where you have access to your peers, events and support. You can also reach out to CA Services for information about CA PPM and individualized business outcome references and analysis. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or contact me directly via email and Twitter @kdobsonppm.