Creating an annual plan for your business is no small feat. Getting your project portfolio in order for the new year and preparing to plan out your 2020 projects can leave you drowning in project details, budgets and required resources. This can quickly become overwhelming as you try to get a handle on next year’s projects, but don’t lose hope! If you are lost in a maze of new year planning, here’s how you can start building your 2020 project portfolio and set your organization up for success this year.
At Meisterplan, we developed Lean Project Portfolio Management™ or Lean PPM™ in response to the difficulties many companies experienced when trying to implement more cumbersome, full-scale project portfolio management. We realized that companies do not need large amounts of project data to make strategic decisions and build realistic project portfolios. In fact, requiring project managers to spend a lot of time updating or importing large amounts of data usually leads to inaccuracies or project data that is out of date. The Lean PPM™ framework uses only the essential features of PPM so your teams can focus on executing projects while creating transparency for upper management. Meisterplan is a project portfolio management software that was built with lean principles in mind and supports companies using the Lean PPM™ framework for executing corporate strategy.
Lean PPM™ is comprised of four phases: strategize, collect, decide and execute. Let’s break down the first three phases as these will help you start your 2020 plan. We’ll also explain how Meisterplan supports companies using the Lean PPM™ framework.
In the strategize phase, start by creating or evaluating a corporate strategy or corporate goals. You may already have a clear strategy (and that’s great), but in the spirit of the new year, take the time to review your strategy and determine if it still suits your company. If you haven’t put together a corporate strategy, think about what you want to accomplish this year. Corporate strategy can vary widely by company, but some common corporate goals include revenue targets, renewal rates, customer acquisition, customer retention and customer satisfaction.
Once you have decided on a corporate strategy or goals, you will select evaluation criteria that will be applied to every project this year. Translating your corporate strategy into evaluation criteria will ensure that upper management understands whether a project added to the portfolio will help them execute on the strategy. Examples of criteria can include risk level, expected revenue upon completion, required budget and resources and payback period. When evaluation criteria is aligned with your corporate strategy, you can objectively evaluate projects and determine true priority based on which projects will help you achieve your goals.
When you use Lean PPM™ with Meisterplan, you can easily create a priority project score based on your chosen evaluation criteria. You can use our preconfigured evaluation criteria or add your own criteria. You can then assign a weighting to each criteria. Meisterplan will automatically generate a priority project score. Projects with the highest scores are the projects most aligned to your corporate strategy. If you choose to prioritize projects based on more subjective criteria, you now do so knowing the trade-offs and that other projects are more aligned to your strategy.
Once you have decided on project evaluation criteria, it’s time to collect new project proposals. Oftentimes colleagues are proactive in sharing new project ideas, but you can also send out a call across your department or team for new ideas. Once you’ve received new project initiatives, each one should go through proposal coaching. In proposal coaching, the project initiator works with a portfolio coordinator to refine the project proposal and include details like budget, resource requirements and timelines. The proposal coach will make sure the proposal includes information that addresses the evaluation criteria you chose in the strategize phase.
Project proposals can then be displayed in Meisterplan and assigned a Stage Gate for new initiatives. Project initiators or the portfolio coordinator can then include all necessary information regarding the proposal with the project in Meisterplan for easy evaluation. If a project proposal is approved, it can quickly be moved to the current portfolio.
The decide phase begins with a committee who reviews new project initiatives. They will review how well aligned new initiatives are to the corporate strategy and rank them based on this alignment. This ranking of new project initiatives is then used in the Portfolio Board meeting. This is the highest-level decision-making committee in the Lean PPM™ process. The committee will review new project initiatives and determine which ones should be added to the portfolio and when. The committee will also look at current projects to determine if they are on track and that they are still aligned to the corporate strategy.
Because Meisterplan displays project information in an easy to understand and intuitive way, making decisions regarding the portfolio can be done strategically and efficiently. The Portfolio Board can use our What-If scenario planning to see in real-time what impact new projects being added or ongoing projects being updated has on the portfolio. This takes the guesswork out of project portfolio planning so companies can make realistic and achievable project portfolios.
Executing Your 2020 Plan
Once the Portfolio Board has decided which projects to include in your 2020 project portfolio, you will need to communicate the plan and begin execution. It’s important to understand that at the beginning of the year (or the beginning of a new plan), the phases of Lean PPM™ are linear, but as the year progresses, these phases will begin to occur simultaneously. Markets and business needs will fluctuate throughout the year, so these phases will continue at different paces as your needs change.
Using Meisterplan to Reach Your 2020 Goals
A new year is a new opportunity for your organization. You can start fresh with a corporate strategy and goals that help your company grow and develop. If you want to know how Meisterplan can help you reach your 2020 goals, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial and start realizing your plan.