Bringing a systematic approach to project and portfolio management

Establish a powerful project management culture and support it with methods, processes and tools
ktes

What at the beginning always looks like a nicely linear planned project... changes regularly during the project implementation. The more complex the project is in a technical or social dimension, the more risks and surprises await those involved along the way. How do we create reproducible project success in all projects of the organization, and not just in one project?

Given that most organizations are currently intensively engaged in digitization and are working on many strategic initiatives, portfolio management and project management are often woefully under-supported with effective processes and tools. However, without adequate planning and prioritization, the efficient organization of work, and transparent controlling, there are significant risks that investments made will have insufficient impact. Agilization (SAFe, Scrum, etc.) and distribution of tasks in decentralized teams (central procurement, multifunctional project work, etc.) also require more systematics and discipline.

The three pillars of a successful project management culture

Which aspects are central for an optimal development of effects? From our point of view, these can be summarized in three points:

  1. Establishment and further development of a constructive change culture and the necessary skills (knowledge management with individual and organizational learning).
  2. Targeted management, prioritization and effective controlling via the strategic initiatives.
  3. Introduction and use of efficient and transparent tools and methods for project management and execution.

Project & Portfolio Management

Risk Management
Electronic status report
Budget planning
In many organizations, hardly any area of project management is based more on self-made Excel spreadsheets and Word reports that cannot be further evaluated electronically than the project's interface in portfolio management.

The motto for improving effectiveness at the portfolio management level is: create an overview and transparency. Where are which projects running with which goals and scheduled key results? Do the resources allocated really pay off on the strategic initiatives defined as focal points? Where are the main risks in the portfolio?

With relatively few, but systematically maintained and reported data on the projects, light can be shed on the situation very quickly.

Agile processing

Agile roadmapping
Agile process optimization
Scaled agility with SAFe
Agile methods promise greater efficiency and effectiveness in project execution. Scrum and Kanban have proven themselves as standard methods worldwide, especially in project management for the development of software solutions, and are now indispensable. However, the successful life of agility requires much more systematics and discipline. There is a need for further development in many organizations in three fields of action in particular:

  1. Scaling agility from a single team up to large projects as well as the organization as a whole.
  2. Embedding agile programs into the overall governance of the organization.
  3. Better integration of development and operations using DevOps technologies and microservice organizations.
The development in this subject area is very dynamic and much better tools are available today than 1-2 years ago. It is therefore worthwhile to regularly check modern solution approaches and evaluate them for their sustainable effect.

Classic project management

Gantt planning
Controlling with Earned Value Analysis
Modern Requirements Engineering
Even if the whole world is talking about agile, classic project management methods are not obsolete. Especially if the work steps for a project can be planned relatively solidly and few surprises are to be expected during the project, classic project management methods continue to make absolute sense. Very often, a hybrid project approach is also expedient, in which, for example, the IT project components are implemented in an agile manner and the organizational development (e.g., process adjustments, departmental restructuring, etc.) is planned and implemented in a classic manner.

The methodology in classic projects has proven itself in many places and is no longer developing as dynamically. However, it is still essential to apply these methods correctly and appropriately. Too many projects have failed in the past not because of the wrong methodology, but because of insufficiently trained project managers and clients. In our view, outdated tools such as Word-based specifications that have to be laboriously reassembled by hand after receiving review feedback, project plans that do not update themselves automatically when tasks are completed by the project team members, or inadequate estimation procedures and a lack of performance time recording in the project are also obsolete.

How can we help?

Most organizations have unused potential for improvement in project management. Often, this potential cannot be solved by isolated measures such as methodology training alone, but requires a holistic approach. linkyard as a specialist in the management of change and IT projects is ideally suited to support customers with services in the following areas:

  1. Introduction of processes and procedures in project management and project governance.
  2. Training of managers and project staff.
  3. Provide experienced external project managers and business analysts.
  4. Provision, adaptation and operation of tools for project work.
  5. Coaching, project support and external controlling.

Articles on this topic

Your contact

Stefan Haller | Managing Partner