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Portfolio and Programme Management: Workshop Example

This workshop is drawn from a series of ‘conversations’ about portfolio and programme management.  The first conversation is about how to structure a program.

The audience then decides between them the prioritisation of which conversations they would like to cover.

The ‘big’ principles

Project portfolio management – and programmes as a special case of portfolios – is briefly reviewed.  Key disciplines and the differences between portfolio and programme management are set out and discussed.  They will be crucial in the dealing with the chosen challenges.

Conversation A: Structuring a programme

Focuses on the governance of a portfolio within a programme.  Based, as all the challenges are, on a real problem faced by an organisation similar to yours, the task is to construct a combination of projects that delivers the business outcomes agreed.  Each group sets out their ideas and the results are shared and examined.  The session concludes with a review of tools and techniques that can be used to support this common challenge.

The conversation pool

Each conversation is set in the organisational context that gave rise to the problem.  Each group sets out their ideas and their results are shared and examined.  The sessions conclude with a review of tools, techniques and models that can be used to address similar issues that arise.

Translating a vision into operations

How to implement a strategy.  Programmes take a strand of a strategy and manage the organisation’s transition from one state to another.  It is a complex process, and requires the use of a number of techniques drawn from 9 different management approaches.

 Tranche planning

How best to cluster and sequence projects and other activities in a programme.  The principles are similar to those used when constructing an independent project portfolio, but the process is subtly influenced by the degree of interdependencies between the projects and the need to create ‘transition states’ or ‘islands of benefit’.

 Gaining commitment

Examines the fundamental need to create and maintain commitment by the key stakeholders when establishing a programme or portfolio.  Simple to say, but extraordinarily complex to achieve, the discussion is around actions rather than planning, and the use of stratagems to achieve alignment.

Design authority & change dynamics

Focuses on the balance necessary to achieve between managing the risks to the infrastructure always present when project-driven change is planned and the delivery of benefits through that change.  The roles and influence of the design and change communities are examined, and how the conflicting needs can be resolved successfully.

 On-boarding the team

Focuses on the teams involved in making change a reality in the business.  It is a commonplace to observe that successful change depends on people, yet it is often the case the change agencies – the people responsible and involved in the managing of the change are overlooked.  How do you get commitment from the deliverers, rather than the receivers of change?  This case explores the theme.

 Establishing the optimum portfolio

The governance of a portfolio.  This looks at the three strategies that need to dovetail to achieve an optimum combination and how prioritisation schemes both contribute and hinder the process.  It looks in particular at how to handle the portfolio under conditions of changing priorities and conflict.

 Resourcing a portfolio

What issues arise when a portfolio moves from selection to implementation?  Resourcing and planning a portfolio is not the same as planning and scheduling a project – it is more onerous and how well it is done ultimately determines how successful the organisation is in achieving its strategic goals.

 Culling projects

The processes and necessary pre-conditions for a portfolio committee to be able to manage and control a portfolio.  Killing projects is a simple management decision, culling requires much greater discipline and sophistication in the portfolio management processes.  The approach to well-conducted culling – a growing necessity in many organisations today – is examined.

 

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