In this talk learn how the Project/Programme Portfolio Office can support their business in recognising and handling uncertainty. Learn how the PMO can coordinate the balance and flow of initiatives through each stage of the delivery lifecycle, through to delivery of value.
Implement means to execute. Governance means to rule and control. This suggests implementing governance is a top-down deterministic approach to management. Such approaches are no longer fit-for-purpose.
Leaders and delivery teams should co-create approaches to ensure alignment and synchronisation. This talk is about collaborative approaches which support teams to deliver value.
Increasing your organisation’s competitiveness
This Business Agility talk addresses how organisations can handle market pressure and opportunity. It covers:
- Closing the gap between vision and execution
- The ambidextrous organisation and portfolio management
- Determining which initiatives provide a strategic fit with the vision
- Mindset and ways of working
- Reducing the delay between alignment effort, execution and ROI
- Governance, execution and enablers.
Business Agility is an enterprise-wide mechanism to rapidly sense, respond and deliver the right business initiatives that will benefit an organisation and its customers.
To increase business agility, an organisation needs to promote the qualities of collaboration, alignment and synchronisation amongst its teams and departments. This creates cohesion to the organisations strategic goals.
Governance processes should be built around these qualities since it affords individuals and teams a great degree of freedom to pursue the organisation’s goals and outcomes. It will also help close the gap between strategic direction and day-to-day team execution.
Consider scaling team frameworks such as Scrum to create ways of working that promote these qualities.
Regardless of background, seniority or specialism, teams and individuals from across the business should have the freedom to collaborate. Collaboration can extend beyond the business to include business partners and clients.
Managers should help the business to reorganise so that cross-functional teams of specialists, regardless of department, can work as single teams to rapidly experiment and deliver business outcomes.
All individuals should understand and be aligned to the organisation’s mission, vision and strategic direction. Each team and department should have clarity of the business outcomes that are currently being sought.
Leaders should enthuse and align their colleagues; managers should create the environment and ways of working with their colleagues which reduces misalignment.
Creating cross-functional and co-locate delivery teams can greatly improve business agility. However, despite this, often a single team cannot deliver products and services on their own. Often many teams need to be involved, which necessitates the synchronisation of effort across many teams.
To illustrate this Klaus Leopold gives a useful analogy which I’ve expressed as the following:
A customer wanting to have a letter written, where each team works independently by controlling a row of keys on a keyboard. Typing the letter would be uncoordinated, slow and frustrating.
To improve time to market, it’s inevitable that teams need to interact. So, rather than teams independently hitting their keys at speed, it’s better if each team slows down, coordinate and collectively hit the keys at the right time and sequence.
When working with organisations and clients, this is my reasoning and a suggested approach
For the sake of brevity, I won’t dive into detail here. Neither am I suggesting this a one-size-fits-all approach; this is a generic approach that should be customised to the client.
- In order for an organisation to compete it needs to establish (or reaffirm) a clear market differentiator that appeals to their customers/clients.
- The market is changing rapidly. There’s plenty of emerging threats and opportunities, some are known, some are unknown(able).
- The organisation needs to identify the cash cow operations & services that need to be maintained and improved; these drive revenue. This creates one side of what’s termed the Ambidextrous Organisation.
- They also need to retire operations & services that no longer drive revenue or are no longer a strategic fit.
- Critically the organisation needs to seek new operations & services for new or existing customers/clients. This creates the other side of the ambidextrous organisation. In reality, only a few ideas are credible to scale to become the new cash cows.
- Points 3, 4 & 5 should establish a continuous balanced flow of initiatives. This enables the organisation to continuously sense & respond to ensure ongoing market fitness. This creates a Lean Enterprise
- Especially for Point 5, since there’s a huge amount of uncertainty, the ways of working, organisational structure, success criteria and leadership style is different from what’s needed for Point 3.
- To seek new viable operations and services, the organisation needs to be especially outcome driven, with flexible ways of working, an experimental approach supported by leaders, close co-discovery with stakeholders, close collaboration with customers/clients, where potentially many strategies and solutions are vetted.
- This ability for the organisation to sense and respond is in keeping with The Agile Business Consortium’s definition of Business Agility.
Where to start
To develop and carryout changes of such significance and depth requires the direct involvement of the leadership team. The following slides provides a high-level view of what such an engagement is likely to cover.
- The Ambidextrous Organization by Charles A. O’Reilly III and Michael L. Tushman
- Lean PMO: Managing the Innovation Portfolio by Barry O’Reilly
- The Agile Business Consortium’s definition of Business Agility
Thanks to Luca Minudel for helping me strengthen this article.