Nearly two thirds of PMOs identify resourcing or prioritization as their top challenge.
But these are topics that are not massively difficult to address. In fact our consulting partners deal with these topics time and again with their customers.
And yet one of those partners, Greg Gomel, during a recent podcast on this exact topic mentioned that he often feels like the stereotypical consultant borrowing his customers watch and then telling them the time when he talks about this stuff. Why?
Because it's all common sense, yet, as the statistics show, few organizations effectively put it into action.
So this is going to break all records for my shortest blog, I suspect.
Greg covered quite a bit of ground in the podcast and explored different aspects of “delivering more from the same resources,” but it boils down to these few sentences....
1) Identify your key constraints and if you can't remove the bottleneck, then prioritise like crazy.
2) In doing this, make it really clear to your stakeholders what the key constraints are so they can be sensitive to these constraints and not request projects that will max you out.
Here are a few tricks to make it easier to tackle points 1 and 2.
First, you need a way to measure the "value" of each project. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is a great way to do that. If you'd like to get an idea of how this works, you can always try our free AHP-based prioritization app (though if your portfolio is any real size, you'll need our enterprise version).
Second, optimize the portfolio in the light of your key constraints. Now that's one of those statements that's easy to make... but not so easy to do. Is it better to do 1 big project that consumes all your key resources, or three smaller projects? What if we reorder them? The permutations are endless.
Unfortunately, most PPM systems don't help too much. Everything tends to be bottom-up, trial and error. There are some new top-down planning tools, (e.g. Mortfolio, Meister Plan) that do the hard work for you. In some cases, they even use optimization techniques to maximize value while taking into account your constrained resources. I’ve heard about some really good results from this approach (in one case, a PMO doubling their “on time, on budget” rate).
So, Greg's advice is, indeed common sense, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy to follow.
Maybe Greg's not just borrowing people's watch after all.