This is the first article in a three-part series on portfolio optimization.
I recently attended Innovation Leader’s IMPACT Innovation conference in Boston and heard from many industry leaders regarding the multiple challenges they experience when optimizing resources and prioritizing projects within their portfolios. One particular conversation I was a part of was about the challenge of staffing multiple projects currently living within portfolios. The questions I heard being asked were:
- How do I view all of my projects at once so that I can easily see which projects are adequately staffed and which ones are not?
- Can I see the impact on my available pool of resources if I prioritize a regulatory project over other financially rewarding projects?
- Is it possible to staff important projects if I delay the start date by say, six months?
Do any of these also ring true to you? If you are frequently asking these types of questions during project staffing reviews, then Accolade and its portfolio optimizer resourcing capabilities may be the solution for you.
The Problem: Lack of Current Visibility into Your Portfolio of Resources
It frequently occurs without warning. You’re the resource pool owner for a group of engineers and/or scientists and you just concluded a meeting with multiple project managers to understand each of their needs for adequate staffing of their projects. You pull up your Microsoft® Excel® file that has a list of the projects currently in the portfolio along with varying metrics that your company uses to determine each project’s relative value to your portfolio of projects.
Next, you pull up ANOTHER spreadsheet with all of the resources that you are in charge of that lists their current availability. You then compare each of these spreadsheets to determine what resources to apply to which projects and make the appropriate staffing allocations. A month goes by and you hear from one of the project managers that her project launch date will be delayed indefinitely since a couple of key engineers had to suddenly leave her project to work on another critical project.
As a result of the project launch date being delayed, marketing is impacted since they were counting on completing their milestones for product launch and now this has been delayed. Finance is also impacted since they were including projected revenue numbers to occur at key points in time during the fiscal year. The list goes on in regards to all of the areas of the company affected by this delayed product launch.
Do similar scenarios as the one just described happen far too often in your organization? How could this product launch delay been avoided? Let’s explore some Accolade capabilities that could have helped you avoid this situation.
The Solution: Portfolio Resource Optimization
Accolade clients can answer the following questions BEFORE making the mistake of allocating resources without knowing the complete picture of their current portfolio allocations:
- Are resources allocated to the projects that meet business objectives?
- What does it cost to accelerate the efforts on certain projects (i.e. regulatory projects, senior management “pet projects,” etc.)?
- What does it cost in time to shift resources temporarily?
- Where are we lacking resources to complete projects?
- Do we have resource bottlenecks that are easy to resolve with minor rescheduling?
With Accolade, answers to questions like these can be quickly analyzed and presented to decision makers with easy to understand graphics prior to committing any proposed changes back to the portfolio:
- An intuitive screen that stack-ranks all projects within a particular portfolio with the choice of displaying key metrics (i.e. total revenue, total cost, total FTE cost, scorecard data, etc.) along the top of the screen. With this view, quick metric comparisons can be made between competing and complementary projects.
- The ability to quickly view the current resource waterline to graphically see where the breakdown begins between projects that can be fully resourced and projects that will eventually run out of resources.
- The ability to ‘grab’ one or more projects and move them up in priority within your portfolio. Perhaps this could be a regulatory or senior management project that requires immediate resources among the various resource pools. Then watch how Accolade automatically reallocates resources to complete this important change in priority among competing projects.
- The ability to move one or more projects into the future to see when available resources can be assigned to these projects. Accolade automatically shows how long the project can be delayed until the necessary resources are freed-up.
If you are experiencing these kinds of challenges optimizing resources, please reach out to me on LinkedIn. Let’s have a discussion and determine if Accolade is the appropriate tool to help you and your organization achieve proper portfolio resource balance!
Stay tuned for the second part of the series, “Playing the ‘What-If’ Game with your Portfolio.”