Showing posts with label capacity vs. demand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label capacity vs. demand. Show all posts

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Portfolio Management Dream: How to Stop it from Becoming a Nightmare!

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VoiceAmerica  0:04  
One problem facing people at many levels of business is how to make time for a work life and a personal life. Do you find that one seems to keep getting in the way of the other? This is the work life balance with Rick Morris. Even if you're not involved in the business world, you'll have a lot to gain by tuning into today's show. Now, here's your host, Rick Morris.

Rick A. Morris  0:26  
And welcome to another edition of the work life balance on this Friday afternoon. So excited to have you guys along. And, you know, I've been very, very blessed with this radio show been blessed by you as an audience. And because of that, we're now booked out to the end of the year, which is really, really cool. It's the first time in the five years that I've done the show that we've been booked out that far in advance and that's a testament to you guys and a testament to the quality of people that are wanting to come on and talk to us about the work life balance. But having said all that it's been a little while since just I've been with you. So I thought I would take the opportunity today and just talk through some of the things that's happening here in our lives and then go through one of my, my newest content deliveries that we're talking about, which is called a portfolio management dream, and how to stop that from becoming a nightmare. So just, you know, on the personal front, there's there's a ton of activity that's been going on, you know, COVID has impacted us all. And being a serial entrepreneur and somebody who works from home. My consulting business, really just kind of went away, and so did the speaking business. And so I was faced, you know, in February in March of looking at my pipeline projections and just seeing them go down to nothing, almost. And so it's always time to pivot in I always say, these are the times that make the entrepreneur and these are the times that we really need to focus on what's important, but it's also not the time to take a break, I think The people that are working the hardest right now to reinvent and reinvigorate are the ones that are going to come out of COVID just fine. So to that end, we've started actually three different companies. Right now one super excited about we're calling milestone melodies. We're actually making custom songs. So we've got an entire group of Nashville Songwriters, musicians in really looking to create a unique, I hate to even say gift but a unique moment or so it could be, you know, wedding, anniversary, birthday, anything like that. And we're creating custom music fully produced. So there's a couple of other groups out there that do that, but they don't have the production level or certainly the talent that's available to us in Nashville. So super excited about that. There'll be probably a whole show, I'll bring the CO owners, which is Jennifer McGill, who's former Mickey Mouse Club, and Jeff bohannan is her Ben who does a lot of the production as well and we'll have them on and talk about their why and that business that's going to be really cool. We started a new organization as well called social RX which is spinning up which is more of a prescription for social media and how to do social media total Social Media Marketing Agency. And of course, you know, the pm tribe has been going on but the latest announcement is radio MMC, which you can go to radio MMC calm, but it is now a radio station that's internet based, that plays solely music of those artists and people that are connected to the 90s version of the Mickey Mouse Club. So that just launched this week. It actually launched August 12. So we're super excited about that. You can go to radio MMC comm and check that out. So let's get into today's topic. So in my consulting career and working with a lot of organizations, I've worked with almost 150 or so organizations now implementing what we call project portfolio management software. In the sole reason that most organizations buy this level of software in they can spend anywhere from, you know, 20,000 a year up to 200 $300,000 a year. So, I know several clients that have millions of dollars

invested in a platform like this, but they all buy it so that they can generally make better decisions when it comes to portfolio management. And so for those of my audience that may not fully understand what portfolio management really is, it is managing the entire project inventory for an organization in managing that to strategy as well as cost. And so the first question I always like to ask when we're doing any kind of portfolio management work is, are you picking projects based on what you can spend, or what your resources can realistically achieve? So let's explain that most organizations have some sort of capital budget planning process. Guess what they do? Is that the beat, you know, somewhere in September, October, they start a list and they essentially just say, hey, what are other projects that we need to complete next year? And this huge list? And they asked about how much is that going to cost? And then, of course, that list gets sent up somewhere, and, you know, goes through some magic formula, and essentially, they pick the project. And we've done a whole series on, you know, making sure that projects aligned to strategy and all those other things. So we won't get into that at this point. But my question is, is during that process? How do we ensure that when we pick all these projects, that we have a reasonable staff to be able to complete all those projects? And I would say between 90 and 95% of companies out there, have some sort of an idea. They'll say, you know, how many resources do you think you'll use? How many hours do you think this will be? Some kind of rough estimate? But it really doesn't timescale those estimates and show how the resources are being utilized whether or not they're gonna be overloaded or have enough time to actually complete the project work. So that's a huge question. And so as organizations start to become aware of this need, or really want to start to understand, and especially I think now in terms of COVID, you know, with reduced staffed and work at home and all those things, that it's forcing all these companies to challenge all their assumptions. And I wonder what that process is like if you don't have something that's automated, or something that can assist you in understanding that. And it's far too complex to keep this kind of information in your head or even via a spreadsheet. Because the moment you finish the spreadsheet, it's out of date. So essentially, an organization then has this dream, that they're going to buy some portfolio management software, and off they go. So what I want to do is talk through kind of three different Dreams. And then the nightmares that I see get created through those dreams. And then I'll finish this episode with some practical tips and tricks from a real world perspective. So that's what we're doing today. So the first dream is again, they buy a piece of software, it automatically somehow ranks projects through data, and then automatically communicate that information through the enterprise. So everybody knows the ranking of the projects and whether or not we have enough people to do them. And off we go. Now it's true. Most of the software on the market can do that. But here's how these things become nightmares very, very quickly. First and foremost, the first mistake most people do when they're looking at implementing a system like this any kind of automation system really, is they overcomplicate the software. When you start to see the potential of what software can automate, you start picking more and more and more processes to bring in and then essentially becomes this huge behemoth that takes forever to test for everything. Training is so disruptive to the enterprise. It's just too big. And so, by overcomplicate I can tell you I can't tell you how many times that when we we sold the software, we started working with the organization, we had something very simple like we want to do portfolio management. By the end, what you're arguing about is these 30 reports that nobody's going to read. And it's about colors and fonts and things, things like to me that I'm sure they matter to some people, but at the end of the day, those aren't decision making things. And those aren't things that really are driving those types of decisions. So becomes way over complicated. We're trying to do way too much and bite off more than we can chew. I think that second thing is that while this software does rank things, it has to have the data underneath to rank them. So for instance, if I want to know whether or not I have the resources available to do this project, and I have to have some sort of thought of what type of resources I need for how long and And how much of them that I need. So for instance, any 50% of a project manager for six months, and then that has to be compared with all the existing projects, and those have to have at least some sort of resource estimation.

Beyond that, a lot of people like to look at return on investment, net present value and, and total costs and things like that. But if we're not inputting that data consistently, in the system, then when it ranks the projects, it's ranking based on incomplete data. I think the third major thing that I see when people buy the software is that computers and software aren't going to replace human conversation. So for instance, one of the big ones is like, Okay, if I input my resources there, I want to be notified every time somebody updates a resource in the system. And I really see you know, do you do you really want to be notified because at some point, the These notifications is just going to clog your email box, and nobody's really going to want to look through them, and then it's going to lose its effectiveness and value anyway. So why would you want to be notified? And ultimately, the conversation comes down? Well, I don't want, you know, project manager or somebody going in there and messing up my resource forecast. So I get that. But even if they do, right, the system isn't going to prevent that or being notifying you isn't going to prevent that there's still got to be some sort of human conversation. There's still has to be talking that goes on and you know, jacking for the best resources for a project and no system, no matter how well automated or how well crafted is going to replace human conversation. And also the whole notification thing. Well, I see value in that being notified immediately. Whenever I'm talking to somebody in a meeting and they say something like that. I say, okay, hang on real quick. You just got notified. What are you going to do with it? Now that you've been notified, what's the next step? You're in a meeting You don't have the access to the data. So now it's just another email in your box that you got to get back to. So why couldn't we just create something like a weekly digest that says, you know, here's all the things you said you cared about, you know that, that if they were updated or changed in the system you wanted to know. But we give that to you in a consolidated format that says like, here's all the resource changes, here's all the project date changes, here's all the issue updates, you know, those types of things. But kind of a weekly digest instead of notifying you every time something like that happens. And most of my clients will take that option. But the point being is you lose the effectiveness of the software. If you overcomplicated, you don't have complete data. And you think that this system is going to replace the human conversations that are necessary to move business along. So that's how dream number one becomes nightmare. Number one. So we're going to go through a couple more of these. I've got two more dreams and nightmares to talk about and then we'll get into some practical tips but we're going to take a break right here. Are you listening to Rick Moore's on the work life balance?

VoiceAmerica  12:05  
Are you aware that 80% of project management executives do not know how their projects align with their company's business strategy? Are you aware that businesses identified capturing time and costs against projects as their biggest project management challenge? Are you aware that 44% of project managers use no software? Even though Price Waterhouse Coopers found that the use of commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction? Now, imagine that you could have the ease of entry like a spreadsheet and a software tool set up and running within two to four weeks. Imagine within two weeks being able to see clearly where all of your resource conflicts are. Well, you don't have to imagine because PD ware has already created it. pd ware can give you real time access to KPIs easily updated views of what your teams are working on. And immediate feedback to some of project management's toughest questions like when can we start this project. What happens if we delay this project? Can we do this in time? How does this new project impact our current portfolio? Find us at PDX where calm at imagine not manually compiling endless reports again, are you getting the most out of your project management software. In many cases, it is not the software that is failing, but the implementation limitations or processes surrounding the use of that software. r squared can analyze your current use and help improve your return on investment. r squared can also suggest the best software for your organization and goals and assist in the selection implementation and training. Allow r square to ensure that you are getting the value of your investment. Visit r squared today

from the boardroom to you voice America business network.

You want to tuned into the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today, we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790. If you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  14:25  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon. We're talking about the portfolio management dream and how to stop that from becoming a nightmare. So this really comes from years and years of experience doing portfolio management working with organizations. The first one that we covered was, you know, buying software that we think is going to solve all the problems and while software does accelerate a lot of the decisions and makes a lot of the decisions easier. Certainly we have the ability to mess up how we implement the software and thereby make the nightmare happen. So our second dream that I want to talk about is where people will convene a PMO. And ultimately a portfolio management committee. The dream is that we're going to get the executives in the room, we're going to give them some criteria, they're going to look at all of our projects, and rank them with only one number one.

Not like one, a, one, B, one C, one D, but truly have a number one project. You know, a lot of times when when I'm starting the consulting with an organization, I'll ask them, who do you think is making the strategic decisions of the company? And of course, you know, they say, well, we do, right. We're the Executive Council, we do, and I'll say, Okay, do you have a prioritized list of projects that's, that's actually accessible, and everybody understands where they fit? And if the answer's no, then I said, well, you're really not making the strategic decisions. And they asked me how that can be. And I said, because what you're doing is essentially by not having a prioritized list of projects. You're deferring the decision. And that decision will continue to get deferred until it has to be made, which is generally at the lowest level. So for instance, it's it's not you making the strategic decision. It's that database administrator who just got asked to do three different things. Whatever they choose to do first is now the number one priority, at least to them. And of course, if everybody's operating that way, then you've got 500 priorities being worked on, and no consolidated effort towards that major project. And so how you combat that is then how do you decide what's the number one project and most people will do that through a council. So that's the dream is that we're going to convene this council. They're going to make decisions. We're going to have a prioritized list of projects and how we go. Now the first qualifier I want to give before I get into the nightmares, those one of the biggest things that I look at from a maturity perspective of not only Portfolio Management Council, but the project management office, the PMO, I was asked how many projects did Did you kill in flight or cancel outright as part of this committee? And if the answer is that they haven't, then they're not a very mature committee. Because the committee is just now becoming a rubber stamp or roadmap through in order to, you know, greenlight the project. But if they're really not stopping projects, or looking at projects that are performing poorly in them from that point, then they're not really making these portfolio management type decisions. That's really the goal. The goal shouldn't be which project should we approve? It really should be which projects aren't worth our time are we not going to do so how these then councils become a nightmare is first, how do you actually come up with a ranking for a project. And so what they'll do is they'll design a formula to rank projects, right the but then the argument then becomes about the formula. So instead of deciding you This project should be higher than this project we're arguing about, you know what, that ROI should be five times the revenue coming in or, you know, the NPV should be two times as important as the overall cost, you know, things of that sort. And the reason that that that formula becomes an argument is because based on the ranking of using the formula, the projects that they felt were most important, weren't showing up. So the answer must be let's tweak the formula so that we can get the expected result versus taking a really hard look at the what, what the formulas doing. So that's one way it can become an absolute nightmare. The second one and this one, this one I see more often than anything is that the council itself breaks down. So the decisions are really hard to make, but then that's why it's part of an Executive Council. The executives are there to make really hard decisions, and a very hard decision is we're going to do this Project and not do that project. And so I was contracted for for a government agency. And they had eight divisions that were using a centralized it. And everybody was upset that it wasn't doing the projects fast enough and wasn't producing enough so on and so forth, because everybody had a number one, and it was just bogged down. And my my challenge to them was, Why does it have to make the decision because at the end of the day, it for the most part, for the most part, I know I'm being generous here. So please don't be offended. But for the most part, it doesn't care what project we're doing. What we care about is that we have enough time to do that project with quality and be able to to put out the best results possible. But whether we do project a or project B really doesn't matter because we're going to end up doing them both. It's just give us the time to complete project day before we move on to project beat. So I worked with the the eight divisions and I can to counsel with them. And one of the first things I had them do was I asked them to come up with a list of criteria they feel they would need to have answered, in order for them to make a decision as to which project was going to be number one versus number two. And so we worked for weeks on that all kinds of data points, they were saying, and all this other stuff. When we were done with this exercise, the first thing I asked them to do was let's go ahead and rank our existing projects against this criteria. So that, you know, we could just see how it works, right kind of a test case. And they couldn't answer. They didn't have enough information to answer all the things that they say we're required in order to get a project approved to their Council. And I remember saying, doesn't that scare you? It doesn't scare you as the slightest bit that you're saying this is the minimum information you need in order to be able to rank a project. You can't produce that information for projects that are running right now. How does like how does Does that make you guys feel? And so what ended up happening is that it was too hard to get the data that they wanted. So we suggested to pare down the form and they disagree. They're like, no, we're just gonna disband the council. So it was a perfect example for me. And I've seen many organizations do that, that the decisions are that difficult. And in light of making the difficult decision or showing some leadership and taking that on, the response was simply we're going to push the decision back down to it and then we're going to yell at them if they're not making the decision we want them to make and that's essentially what I see in a ton of organizations.

The third one is nightmares is kind of the same under the same thing, but you can never make a decision due to insufficient data. So really nightmare. Scenario number two in this dream is is where they just the decisions too hard to make they disband but The third one is insufficient data. What this one really is, is what I call the decision delay tactic. So this is when they say, okay, we do want this set of information, go get it, you provide that information. Of course, a lot of people are doing this in spreadsheets, and it takes a ton of time to compile the information. And then somebody else on the council will say, Well, I really need to understand this piece of data in order for us to make these decisions. So obviously, you can't make the decision in that meeting. So you send everybody off, they create the new data point, they load it all up, they bring it back into the organization and somebody who go you know, that's really good, but now that I'm seeing that I want to know this piece of information. And while they say they do want to know it, it takes a lot of maturity in in somebody who's running the process to go, that's great. We'll rearrange the projects when we have that information, but we need to rank these projects based on the information we have today. That way, you have that opportunity to go ahead and start making some of the key decisions that need to be made. And you're not pushing it off. Just because of a data point. When you start to feel that kind of happening, that's when you want to challenge the organization or the council itself, to start to really come to terms with this decision has to be made. And it has to be made for the betterment of our people. And we talked about that for just a second. You know, decision making is what I feel the executives are paid the amount that they're paid for that that's that is their job is to make decisions. And but if you look at it from a human nature perspective, human nature says we don't really like or want to make tough decisions and a tough decision means it's not a compromise. Generally, somebody wins, somebody loses. And so when you're trying to maintain relationships, and you're trying to You know, make everybody happy and lead an organization successfully, those decisions are really hard to make. And I am not undermining that by any mean. But at the same time, no decision means the decision becomes deferred to a lower level. And so that now falls to your middle management, middle management doesn't make it that it falls down to your people and your people end up making strategic decisions, just for the mere fact that nobody else would. And so I just want you to think through that. And think about just something simple. Like if you're, you're asking for a team to collaborate on, you know, some copy that was being written an email was going to go out or a newsletter or something of that sort of something as simple as that. You ever send that email out and says, Hey, you know, provide me feedback. And you just don't get any information. Then of course, once it's published, everybody has their feedback ready for you? Well, some of these decisions That that are being deferred could cost millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. I remember

working with a bank, and they had something that they call this security scan. And it was supposed to just scan to see if any ports were open and they would close them before you know this, this thing would go into production. And there was there was a couple of projects that went out where a port was open, and it left them vulnerable to some sort of attack or hacking or something of that sort. And the CIO just came down with fury just beat everybody up around them. And so, next thing you know, as a project manager, when you go to do a security scan, they say, well, the security scan teams really overloaded. We said why they said well, we require three security scans for every project. I was like, what does that mean? And they said well, we got to scan it when the it is done building the server, we have to scan it after the vendors installed. software and we have to scan it after user acceptance testing, so that we can confirm if any ports were open. And if the ports were open, who, who opened them. And so then it became 10 days to schedule a security scan 10 days to perform it and 10 days to get the results. So you're looking at 90 business days or four and a half months, just so that we could say whether or not ports were open and who was to blame. And that was the kind of key thing see the executive needed to know who and was blowing everybody up, not the fact that the ports were open, but who did it. And so the question became, who made the decision to do three security scans? Well, nobody did. So the security scan team did, because they didn't want to get yelled at because they didn't know who opened the port. And so the question becomes, well, what was more important than the fact that we caught a port and we closed it before it went live? Or is it more important to know Who opened the port so we can yell at him and blame him. And when when I finally challenged the executive with that information, the answer was clear that no, we just want to make sure the ports are closed. But my that was a perfect example of how every single project in that bank, for as long as those process were in play, we're getting delayed by up to two and a half to three months. For no logical business reason, other than we wanted to know who to blame. That's a perfect example of when an executive decides to blow something up or yell at somebody or not make the the decision, how it gets hand checked down, and other people will then make the decision in absence. So that's our dream number two convenient counsel and make decisions and how those become nightmares. We're going to come back with nightmare number three right after this break and listening to Rick Morris and the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  27:57  
Are you frustrated with the overall productivity Have your project management processes Do you lack consistency and project delivery? Our squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes in realizing and improving the value of project management. Whether you want to build a project management office train project managers for learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes, r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared At the work life balance, we like to ask simple questions to our executives and portfolio managers. Are you picking your projects based on what the organization can spend? Or is it based on what your resources can realistically achieve? This question is not answered properly can cause great strain on your staff limiting the return on investment. When creating project selection criteria. Does your organization attempt to understand the amount of resources needed to complete the work? Is this done in spreadsheets or in a while level. What if we told you there was a simple and easy solution that was built with resource planning in mind? We call it resource first from PD where resource first was built with resource planning as its foundation. We have years of experience that proves before a company fine tunes its project and portfolio management processes without a process for resource planning. The best processes and algorithms can fall flat resources should be first when deciding the strategy of taking an organization forward. Find out more at PD were calm. Put your people first with resource first from PD where join us at PDX were calm.

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You are tuned in to the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today. We'd love to have you call into the program at 186 64725790 Again, that's 1-866-472-5790. If you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at r Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  30:17  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon talking about the portfolio management dream, how to stop them from becoming a nightmare. So we've covered two dreams already. Let's get into the third one and then we're going to get into tips and tricks that I have several clients that pay big money to hear so that's that's what's coming. So hang on with us and we'll get into some tips and tricks on some practices that are surprisingly successful. So dream number three is to institute a gating process. So, gating process is a series of gates where you want to have some sort of check where a project goes from initiation into planning, planning and execution, execute In closing, so on so forth, the goal is to validate that the team itself is ready that all the due diligence has been done. And we really understand what we're getting ourselves involved with. It's also, though should be a key point in which we look at the project and decide whether or not to continue the project. So it's not just a rubber stamp. So a lot of organizations, again, state that they want that they state that they want some sort of gating process, they want some control. They want to make sure that everybody's thought through everything that they're supposed to do. But the reality of the situation is it becomes a process for the sake of process. And before I get into that, let me explain that like, for instance, for instance, one of the biggest process I think, is misused in project management is that of lessons learned. Not saying that lessons learned is invaluable. It's just that people haven't really thought through the process. So then it just becomes something that we do for the sake to say that we did add a checkbox for the PMO that says yes, we completed the lessons learned what I mean is most of the time lessons learned is handled with the project team. It's tracked in some sort of spreadsheet and then it goes out to like a SharePoint site. And then the intent is that all the project managers are supposed to read all of the lessons learned so that we can plan for that and avoid making the same mistake twice now in theory, phenomenal. But we do have a system of how do we take those lessons learned and actionable so that people can really learn? haven't thought through how to do that, then we're just doing a bunch of wasted effort. So again, it's it's not that lessons learned is invaluable. It's just the process in which we do it. If you want a great system of how you can actually turn lessons learned into a real risk assessment I suggest my book project management that works I have an entire chapter devoted to how you take the lessons learned turn that into a questionnaire that can that is in central English for Your project managers to be able to answer and then it tells you what to plan into the project based on how they answered that questionnaire. And it's all based on lessons learned. But coming back then to gating, right, a lot of people end up having gates, just for a process I had of Fortune 50 client I worked with. And when we calculated the cost of their gating process, it was $18 million. It cost them to run their gating process per year $18 million.

And so

that became a great test case for the nightmares that we talked about. So nightmare number one is that gates become really complex and they use too much time. In this case, it would take 88 hours for a project manager to gather all of the data. And of course, then there's all these rules that come with it, right? So you got to fill out this massive PowerPoint, you get to go query all these different systems and you get all this information and You're supposed to have that done a week ahead of the meeting, so that the committee can review it. Well, of course, the committee is going to be reviewing like seven or eight projects, they did not look at all of those spreadsheets, they didn't read all that document beforehand, which is what they're supposed to do for the coming to the meeting. So when they get in the meeting, you end up just, you know, rattling off a bunch of information, and then you get a rubber stamp, and off you go. So we've got to make sure that when you're looking at a gating process, that it's not complex, it's super easy to kind of get through but you have the right amount of control within it. The second big nightmare that comes with the gating process comes around, again, decisions not being made. So you present it and then they defer decision in the gate because they want more information or they don't understand. And so therefore, the project essentially goes on hold until you can go through that next gate. Even more so. You know, when you when you have the council that's looking at the gating, a lot of times they'll say well You know, we're only going to meet every other Tuesday, something of that sort, which means if I'm ready to go through a gate, I've got to wait until a certain amount of time, so I can go present and get a rubber stamp and move forward. So that's another huge nightmare that we see when we're looking at the gating process. But the biggest one and my challenge to this fortune 50 client, my challenge to most of my clients is, once we understand what the total cost of the gating process is, then what is the value of doing that? Can we attribute the value? Did we cancel a project? Did we save a project that was gonna lose a ton of money? And, and, you know, revamp them? And when we start looking at processes like this, you know, some of these are very necessary. Some of these are regulatory, and that's fine. But the question becomes, is the value does the value outweigh the cost or is the cost tremendously outweighing the value? So in the case of that fortune 50 client, my question is, can we address Repeat like 35 to $40 million of gains from running this $18 million process. Because if not, then we need to kill the process and reinvent it. Right. And, and that's so I don't understand why it's so scary for organizations, but they're like, Oh, no, we got to do gating. Okay, but the gating hasn't produced any kind of results for your organization the way that you've chosen to do it. So why do it? Well, because, you know, we have to or because, you know, an audit finding or because, you know, our consultant said, so something of that sort, but making sure that we're getting twice the value out. If not, then everybody needs to be re diverted to revenue generating activities instead of these activities that are just clogging up the wheel and not producing results. So that that's how that becomes a nightmare. Number three, so let's get into some tips then for dreams instead of nightmares. So those are the things that can go wrong. Based on the assumptions that most organizations make,

so how do we how do we make these things, actual dreams? How do we make this stuff come true? So my first tip is that all of these things work gating works, project management software and how that work, you know, that works. Having a portfolio decision committee, it works, but they all have to start simple and then become built upon. So for instance, in the project management world, focus on each one of your roles kind of doing one thing, well, I call this the three rings of focus. So the three rings of focus is okay, I want portfolio, our project managers to write a good schedule. I want resource managers to give me utilization statistics, at the minimum Give me the percentage of resources used against the project over a length of time. And the team members just validate those assumptions. They can do that through time tracking or just validating the percentages that They're their resource manager put in. If each one of those roles just focuses on doing those things, well, then you have all of the pillars that you need to make great portfolio management decisions. We'll know how well the projects are trending, what percentage of resources are available to take on the next project. And we'll understand that the resources know where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to be doing. And so if we do that, then it works. Once you have that down, then you can start to add onto some automation and some workflows and notifications and all those other things that a system can provide. But what I end up seeing happening more than anything, is when you overcomplicate it, then you stent, you start to doubt the tool and not the implementation of the tool or the configuration of the tool. And then it just becomes this large time tracking kind of database Whenever you try to use the data as a point of decision, people don't trust the data so they don't do it. That's, that's horrible. So, they are all of these things work, but they need to be kept simple and they need to be built upon. Under that same kind of tip though, I want you to have the concept of enter once use many. So I I see a lot of organizations who like one time tracking in their portfolio management tool resource management tool, but then they also have SAP or some other HR kind of tracking system in which they have to answer time so now it becomes duplicate entry of time. That's the biggest thing I always caution my my companies and clients to look at is to say, we need a time tracking system of record. And then whatever other system needs that information, we can feed it. So generally that means the portfolio management software is the best place to track time because it's generally at a lower level. When you're looking at like SAP and HR systems. They just kind of want time rolled up to the front project level, not necessarily at the task level. And then of course, you've got you know, just number of hours worked PTO time, that kind of stuff, you can roll that up and send that to other systems. In the same with like financials. So if you're running SAP financials, then let's not create a whole separate tracking spreadsheet in our portfolio management system. Let's find a way a way to feed the relevant information from the system of record into this, you know, into the system where you want to use the data but not have any kind of duplicate entry. All of the all of the systems now have open API's, they're super easy to start to integrate with. And there's ways that you can design that process so that you're entering once and using many. That's a huge tip. Think through the process. From your resource perspective, think through the process of the people that you're asking to do. You know, the so yes, you want the information to make better decisions. But if we make it cumbersome to enter it in or they're entering it in, twice, it's To lower the quality, then you're going to be into the nightmare of the data quality doesn't add up. So therefore we don't trust it. And now we're just doing again process for the sake of process. Very, very important that a well designed thought process of implementation of what's the system of record? What's the information do we need? What are we going to ask our people to do? And how are we going to utilize that data? That's how you prevent that from becoming a nightmare. So I've got four more tips that I'm going to share with you when we come back, but we're going to take our final break right here you're listening to Rick Morris and the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  41:38  
Are you aware that 80% of project management executives do not know how their projects align with their company's business strategy? Are you aware that businesses identified capturing time and costs against projects as their biggest project management challenge? Are you aware that 44% of project managers use no software even though PricewaterhouseCoopers found that they use commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction. Now imagine that you could have the ease of entry like a spreadsheet and a software tool set up and running within two to four weeks. Imagine within two weeks being able to see clearly where all of your resource conflicts are. Well, you don't have to imagine because PD ware has already created PD where can give you real time access to KPIs easily updated views of what your teams are working on, and immediate feedback to some of project management's toughest questions. Like when can we start this project? What happens if we delay this project? Can we do this in time? How does this new project impact our current portfolio? Find us at PDX were calm and imagine not manually compiling endless reports again, Are you frustrated with the overall productivity of your project management processes? Do you lack consistency and project delivery? r squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes sizes and realizing and improving the value of project management. Whether you want to build a project management office, train project managers, or learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes, r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared

When it comes to business, you'll find the

experts here voice America business network.

You are tuned in to the work life balance. To reach Rick Morris or his guest today we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790 if you'd rather send an email Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  44:00  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon, the final segment as we go through my tips now for how to keep your portfolio dream from becoming a nightmare. So we already talked about, you know, keeping things simple, the three rings of focus and enter once use many. Here's a very, very popular one we talked about earlier in the nightmare about how when you create a ranking algorithm to rank your projects, that a lot of the arguments become about the algorithm and not the projects themselves. So what I do is I find the five or six pieces of information that they're saying is important. So you know, ROI, NPV, total resource utilization, length of project, those types of things. And I rank all the projects by single statistic, each one so if there's five things I five separate lists and then I look for essentially the waterline or you know what we think we can do 30 projects, so which projects appear in the top 30 and all five of those categories. And generally there's about 10 to 12. In doing so, then we can say those 10 to 12 are in, regardless of who you know, if you think ROI is more important, or if you think total utilization is more important doesn't matter. That's it. And so now we're just we've made our decisions on the top 12 right out of the gate. And now we just start talking about the bottom 18. At that point, it moves things along a lot faster. And even if we come to a stalemate on the bottom 18 we still have ranked the top 12 and off we go. So that's a huge point in time saver for a lot of portfolio committees. probably my biggest tip that's utilized and in most of my most of my clients companies. The next one is what I call the 10% rule. This one, this one is is huge, especially when you start talking about lowering the amount of gates and things like that that you need. So essentially, the 10% rule works this way. So when you pitch a project and you have an initial budget, you automatically get 10% of that budget approved to go plan the project to really go plan out how much this thing is going to cost. And then if you're within 10%, plus or minus of your original estimate, you're automatically approved to go into execution. So the beauty of that is it's reducing the amount of gates that are just rubber stamp, and now gates just become about the outliers. But also it gives you the ability to move things along very, very quickly. So for an example, if it's a million dollar project, you get $100,000. To go plant it, you find out it's going to be a you know, 1,000,001 point 5 million, and then that means you you've got the green light to go into execution. So that's a very, very popular one as well. I've seen several organizations streamline their processes to where the only the gates that you're talking About are falling outside of that 10%. So therefore, there's real decisions starting to get made as to whether or not that project still valuable enough or whether it's still worth enough to go after.

And my next tip can go hand in hand with the 10% rule. And this is pmis term. It comes from the Pim Bock. And it's one that I remember kind of having a reaction when I first saw it, but once I saw one of these inaction, it's called a board. And that sounds horrible. But it essentially, is that the committee is convened to shoot down the project. And if you can, if you can then get the project through that committee, then it's a really good project to do. But otherwise, if it's a flimsy project, it's a pet project is one that's not really going to generate ROI, that kind of stuff. Those get cancelled and shut down in this committee. So the intent isn't to come to the committee to approve the intent is for the committee to come in and decline And make the sale of that project be so good, that it's irresistible. And we have to do this project. It's just it's a little bit of a flip of connotation, but it really is, is a powerful tool to say, you know, we understand we have limited resources, we understand we have limited budget, we're going to make sure that we're not going to waste any of those on projects that don't deserve, really to be considered by our staff. And my final tip, in this series is to talk about, again, value. If a process doesn't provide double the value, then it's time to redesign the process. And that really goes for any of our processes. It's amazing how much money that that I call low hanging fruit is available when I go into a consulting client. And all I have to do is looking at the processes that they're doing and question why do we have that process And I'll tell you that 90% of the time I'm talking 90% of the time, people will tell me Well, that's just the way it's always been done here. And that's that I hate that statement. Because that's not true. It's not the way it's always been done there. It was just the way that you were trained and you've never questioned or look to improve the process sense. And so when you're when you're looking at a process, I'll give you a perfect example something a question I asked a client that they'd never been asked before is that they, they deal with a lot of regulatory a lot of regulatory projects and regulatory generally means you have to do it, or there at least has some consequences for not doing it could be loss of reputation could be a financial fine in most times. It's a financial fine. But there was a new regulation came out everybody scrambling the project was gonna cost about $200,000 do and my question was, what's the fine? I go? What do you mean? I said, Well, we're doing this to avoid a fine, what's the fine, the fine was $10,000 For the first year, and I was like, Look, this is obviously a project we need to tackle, but it's going to be a nightmare to try to tackle it now. So why are we going to spend $200,000 to avoid 10? Where we'll just take the $10,000 lump. And now we don't have to do it as an emergency project, and it's gonna cost you no way less to do. And that's what we did. But nobody had ever really asked that question to the client before like, Alright, so that caused me and my portfolios when when I have a checkbox that says this is critical, or it's regulatory, like I want to see, like, Where's the regulation, I show me the document, show me the phrase, and show me the fine so that we understand that this is good business for us to do. So, if a process doesn't give you double that value, then it's time to absolutely redesign the process. So that's how we make portfolio management dreams. actually become dreams and avoid nightmares. If If you have any questions about any of those, you can reach me at r Morris at r squared consulting COMM The software that I recommend that you use right now, if you're looking at any kind of portfolio management type software is a company called PD where it is the first one that was built with resource planning in mind and makes the resource planning essentially the power of a project portfolio management tool with the ease of a spreadsheet, it's really really cool software, really inexpensive, and does a phenomenal job.

Coming up next week, we're going to start a series of entrepreneurs and real entrepreneurs. And we're going to have john tablets on who is the founder of books, which is Bo u q s and it is one of the fastest growing flower retailers out there, the largest company and one of the biggest successes ever to come out of shark tank and just a phenomenal entrepreneurial stories. So we're going to be visiting with john. Next week, and we've got tons of those coming up. We've got Wes, who actually was our reschedule. We missed an appointment before but he's a marketing guru got Travis Bell coming up. And just on and on Adam Mendler. Steve gave it tours. And then even if you missed last week, a fascinating conversation that we had with Doug vermeeren who's is considered the the modern day, Napoleon Hill. He's He's interviewed over 300 of the most successful people in the world, and is gleaned insights. And he talked to us about his movie, how thoughts become things so that was last week's episode. If you missed it, you definitely want to go back and catch that one. Otherwise, gang, we thank you so much for always being a part of the show, always the feedback that I get on social media and via email. I certainly appreciate it. So keep that coming. And until next Friday, we hope that you live here. Your own work life balance will talk to you that

VoiceAmerica  53:06  
thank you for joining us this week. The work life balance with Rick Morris can be heard live every Friday at 2pm pacific time and 5pm eastern time on The Voice America business channel. Now that the weekend is here, it's time to rethink your priorities and enjoy it. We'll see you on our next show.

Transcribed by

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Value of a Resource Loaded Schedule

Here is the next question in my continuing series of answering questions posed to me through the various webinars.

How do you get the senior members of the organization to realize the importance of a resource loaded schedule?

The Setup

I think the only way to bring the visibility to the senior executives is to be consistent with all of the schedules and then roll them up to view a true view of capacity. For instance, say that you are running 4 projects right now. Make sure that all of your schedules are resource loaded and appropriate. If they are not setup appropriately, read some of my other blog posts or either of my books to learn how to setup the plans. Once the plans are setup, then you need to roll up an aggregate view of the demand for the resources. If you have Project Server, Clarity, or any of these types of Enterprise tools, then learn how to do it there. If you do not have any of those tools, then use the "Resource Usage" view of your project plan to look at a monthly view of the total demand hours in your plans and plot those in a spreadsheet. You will end up with a chart that will show how busy the resources really are. Now add their "Other Work" such as admin time and operational support time. This gives you the total view of the demand of the resources.

The DeliveryNow that you have all of the data, when an executive asks for a new project or to accelerate a different one, you present them with the options that they have in an assumptive manner. You could say, "We would be happy to take on this project, how would you like to handle it? Should we hire a consultant or are you alright with waiting until October?" Of course, the executives are going to want to know why they can't have it right now. This is where you present them the aggregated view of the resources. If your company is like most, then your resources are maxed out. When you show this data to the executives, they will try to pick it apart. This is when you show them the resource loaded schedule, essentially proving your data. During the entire encounter, you need to maintain a positive outlook that you are happy to do anything and are willing to, you just need a decision as to what direction to take. Force the tough decision back to the executive.

The AftermathIt takes a few times for this to work, but eventually the executives will begin to accept the data. It is up to you to keep the data updated and relevant. As a side note, if you use a resource loaded schedule to delay a project start date or extend a project end date, then you will have no problems ever getting estimates from those resources again! I have worked with many executives in this capacity. It most cases, he/she will start to see the data for themselves and will begin to make the decisions. Being on both sides of the issue, I have often seen project managers tell me that a date or objective is impossible. However, when I challenge them, there is no substance to back up the claim. Having resource loaded schedules and understanding their impact on resource capacity can help make incredible strides in organizations.

TipSeveral companies ask me regularly to help them balance capacity and demand. My greatest tip is to not try to do the whole company at once. Pick one division (maybe the PMO itself) and balance their capacity and demand as a pilot. This is a relatively low level of effort to begin to have some of the conversations. I have a blog post titled "What About My Capacity?" that gives you a quick formula to ascertain the capacity of a PMO. Once the data is collected and the value of the data is realized, then expand it to a larger group.

Hoping you are finding your life's passion,