Why Project Portfolio Management is Critical to Business Transformation

5 minute read

Team PowerSteering

“70% of Change Initiatives Fail.”

You’ve likely read some version of this headline over the past decade or so.

It’s no secret why initiatives fail: change is hard. There are so many factors that impact what gets done and what doesn’t. Some are totally within your control, but others aren’t. This is especially true when you consider the general approach to organizational planning that’s done today.

Typically, organizations will start each year with a core set of short-, medium-, and long-term goals and priorities.

At the same time, the people responsible for achieving these goals need to adapt and be prepared to re-evaluate their plans at any given moment. This means some areas will get more attention than others, and some change initiatives will be fast tracked or slowed down to a grinding halt.

Tracking initiatives and linking them to the value they provide is critical for business transformation programs. This is where project portfolio management for business transformation can make a difference. First, let’s put some context around “business transformation”.

What is business transformation?

Fundamentally, business transformation is all about how your organization operates today and what areas need improvement to achieve future growth.

Small changes are important, but true transformation management means business leaders must think big and make some (really) tough decisions if they want to take advantage of future opportunities.

This business transformation process may come down to re-evaluating the DNA of your company – why it exists, what it does, and the people who make the magic happen.

The whole process is very meta, but at some point, every company will have to adapt or eventually take on too much risk. Research from McKinsey & Company examines the success factors for business transformation strategy, which specifically looks at the “power curve of economic profit” to explain the difference in actions and behaviors between profitable companies and ones that aren’t.

The concept is best explained in this video by McKinsey researcher and author, Chris Bradley.

As you can see, the distribution in the power curve of economic profit puts the top profitable companies at one end and the least profitable at the other. The middle is flat, representing organizations doing what they can to keep operations running.

As Chris explains, the ability to act on “trends” and “moves” can help companies in the middle of the power curve push towards the top end of the  spectrum. For many organizations, business transformation represents new opportunities for speed, collaboration, and execution. And you can’t move with speed, collaborate, and execute without mentioning technology.

The benefits of business transformation software

The successful adoption of technology to support business transformation is a critical part of the process. After all, business transformation is intended to uncover new and better ways of operating in every possible way.

The good news is executives recognize the value in digital business transformation and how it can help keep track of the performance for each area of improvement.

According to PwC’s 24th Annual Global CEO Survey, digital transformation and initiatives to realize cost efficiencies are the top two areas of long-term investments business leaders plan to make over the next three years. Without digital transformation platforms, it is nearly impossible to keep track of who is doing what and linking it back to transformation strategy to measure success. Project portfolio management software helps accelerate business transformation because it brings together planning, execution, and results in one system.

How project and portfolio management tools support business transformation

A project and portfolio management tool will help you track and manage multiple projects and stay organized on what’s important. With this organization in place, you can quickly identify and prioritize work, and align it to corporate goals that bring value to the organization.

When you can lean on project and portfolio management software to support business process transformation, you can get insight into key details such as:

  • The current status of all projects
  • The ability to calculate if a project is going to give the right return based on your corporate strategy
  • The number of projects in your portfolio tied to your corporate strategy
  • How many resources are assigned to each project
  • If you have enough resources working on the right projects
  • The budget status for each project and our total portfolio
  • Any specific risks identified for certain projects

In addition, project and portfolio management software enables you to maintain visibility on all objectives, timelines, and commitments, especially when things don’t go according to plan.

And you can almost guarantee one or more things won’t go according to plan. It’s important to have the option to shuffle resources and budgets and see the impact down the line on other projects and financial metrics.

Lessons from The Heritage Group

Paul Simons, VP of Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions at The Heritage Group, recently shared his blueprint to business transformation success.

Paul and other business leaders brought together over 30 organizations and created a common language and understanding of how to define, track, and prove project performance, which includes servicing the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Changing the culture is really what’s important.

Paul Simons, VP, Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions, The Heritage Group

Watch the recorded presentation to learn:

  • The seven core principles that led the way for continuous improvement and change management (17 minutes)
  • What senior leadership and program champions need to know to help separate “urgent” work from “important” work (22 minutes)
  • How project leaders can work with their finance team to move away from tracking PowerPoint dollars to real dollars in one central system (33 minutes)

He also offers some great insight into the training, project leadership, and employee recognition that kept The Heritage Group’s continuous improvement journey going at full speed.

Watch how The Heritage Group approached business transformation and continuous improvement!

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