If yours is like most organizations, significant amounts of capital, expense, and resources are spent in the hopes of producing competitive advantage. Innovation leaders realize that they don’t get unlimited lives in the innovation game and must keep putting quarters in the machine to play. How they manage the game when the quarter is spent dictates winners (high scorer) or losers (game over).
So how many quarters have you contributed to your business to manage your innovation portfolio? Perhaps more importantly, how is the process of spending those dollars and resources being managed? Is there an efficient, easy-to-use, and enterprise capable Portfolio & Project Management (PPM) system in place? Or are you relying on dispersed documents, spreadsheets, and word of mouth?
The best innovation leaders don’t just hope for competitive advantage, they control everything possible to ensure it. But many hesitate to spend time or money on a PPM system which they consider optional. Is that wise? Why do organizations leave their most important competitive process to chance and not provide adequate controls to ensure success?
As an analogy, how much competitive advantage is gained from your GL? Probably not much. Everyone has one. You could even make a case that it can be done with spreadsheets and word of mouth. So why spend money on a GL? Because the alternative is inefficient, prone to costly mistakes, and hard to manage. The same can be said for using spreadsheets to manage innovation portfolios. Without a PPM tool to support governance and serve as the system of record, it quickly becomes difficult to keep all the versions of the “truth” straight and obtain the most up-to-date data. Then, when it comes time for the analysis to inform decisions, compiling and vetting the information requires an inordinate amount of resources – and may still be error-prone because so much of the process is manual.
And yet spreadsheets are the most common way to manage innovation portfolios! By contrast, the cost of a PPM implementation is a fraction of the competitive advantage and ROI that can be achieved.
A good innovation process and the systems required to manage it are not optional any more. If you’re still trying to get by with desktop tools and ad hoc methods, it’s time to use PPM to take your game to the next level and outplay your competitors.
Is your game on?