In an era of digitalization, customers are more demanding than ever. Conditioned to receiving personalized services at record-breaking speeds, customers today expect companies to keep up with their subsequent fast-paced and dynamic expectations. To survive and prosper, businesses need to quickly respond and adapt to incoming customer demands. In a project environment, that typically means delivering what customers want, when they want it, at the agreed upon cost.
Not so simple.
How can companies manage demand and capacity in this dynamic environment? In this blog post, we will explore various aspects of Lean PPM™, a streamlined project portfolio management approach, that addresses that very topic.
Understanding, Quantifying and Prioritizing Rapidly Changing Demand
The Lean PPM™ cycle is naturally dynamic. There is always a constant influx of new project ideas (Collect), decisions on the future project portfolio (Decide) and project executions (Execute). In addition, projects should be aligned with your strategy (Strategize). And all this happens simultaneously. No matter the company industry or structure, each business experiences this cycle, usually without being aware of it. In addition, new market conditions, project delays and customer requirements may force companies to change their current project portfolio plans and adapt.
In this current state of rapid digital change, adapting is crucial! This step needs to be not only streamlined but structured. Lean PPM™ can help with that. By creating project evaluation criteria initially, companies can consistently evaluate and prioritize projects against the business strategy.
This can ensure that the right projects are executed at the right time and therefore meet the changing demand. We won't dig into the details here, but you can read more about the different Lean PPM™ areas Strategize, Collect, Decide, and Execute on this page.
Combining Mixed Development Methodologies
There is such a large variety of project management methods in practice today, it’s hard to keep track of them all. The two most popular tend to be waterfall and agile project management (or mixed variations of both).
Waterfall Methodology: Waterfall project management follows a sequential order where each step of the project can only begin after the previous step is completed. This model is one of the easiest to execute and manage but may face limitations in flexibility. This model originated in the construction and manufacturing industries where projects are highly structured.
Agile Methodology: Agile project management focuses on continuous iterations that incorporate customer feedback. Projects are executed by self-organized and cross-functional teams to ensure the best possible outcome for the customer. This kind of management framework is often used by product development teams.
So which one works best? There is no clear answer and many companies actually use both! If done correctly, combining methodologies can help units or teams adapt to unexpected changes. To learn more about hybrid project management, check out this post from our blog!
Making Sense of Data Aggregated from Various Systems
Many companies use a large variety of programs and software in their daily work. Examples can be anything like Jira, Smartsheet, or MS Excel. Sound familiar? Typically, employees know the best methods for executing their projects, so this wide range of available programs is great! In fact, the problem itself does not lie in the project execution, but more in the management of a project portfolio. At first glance, understanding the whole picture and organizing your project portfolio may seem like a hopeless task when various tools are used by project execution teams. We have good news: Lean PPM™ helps out here. It gives you a framework to answer the question who is working on what projects and when.
To properly manage a project portfolio and adapt to changing conditions, managers need the ability to easily see resource capacities and bottlenecks. It is also important that managers can get an overview of all scheduled projects and how said projects relate to the greater business strategy and purpose. Lastly, managers need to quickly understand the effects of a changed plan. These functionalities make it possible for businesses to navigate a dynamic environment and meet customer demands. While Lean PPM™ equips management with a methodology for managing a project portfolio, Meisterplan supports the implementation of the methodology into daily business. Meisterplan provides an overview of projects and resources in a visual and intuitive way, including all the functionalities discussed above.
Providing Senior Management with Sufficient, Appropriate Information for Them to Make Informed Decisions
In the end, making informed decisions is the most crucial aspect of any business success.
Imagine a person making a long trip by foot, where their only guide is a compass. What would happen if the north and south poles suddenly switched? If the person making the decisions isn’t aware of this change, they will continue to assume that the poles are exactly where they were before and follow the compass accordingly, leading them in the opposite direction. To ensure that this person arrives at their destination, they would need to know that the poles have changed and their compass is no longer accurate.
It’s the same for project portfolio management. If the proper information isn’t communicated to senior management, they will believe its “business as usual” and continue to make decisions based on past assumptions. This inhibits the ability to adapt to changing market conditions and customer demands. Meisterplan supports decision making on this level via its extensive reporting features that can prepare visually appealing presentations for senior management.
All the challenges that organizations face in today’s rapidly changing environment require an informed and robust capacity and project portfolio management strategy —like Lean PPM™. This methodology makes businesses able to juggle customer demands alongside internal constraints and ultimately impact a company’s ability to quickly adapt to a changing environment in a successful way.