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Business Objectives Prioritization & Investment Roadmap by Kanna Subhas, Agile Transformation Coach

Updated: Apr 23

The Problem Statement:

There is a need to have the visibility of the Portfolio, Projects, Support and Resources Allocation. Also wanted to make trade-off's at the portfolio level.


Fixed Mindset:

The question from end-user is "When will be my project done?" or "Why haven't we started our project yet? Typically there is frustration or even unworthy command-and-control conversation like "Just get my request done!". It seems they have fixed mindset. They believe they do not have to justify the value. They feel entitled to a solution just because they asked for or they may be suffering for years.

Agile Mindset:

To continue the reputation with end users, reorient end users to what it takes to say yes to a project. Get their ideas into a discovery process / intake process. Task end users to come prepared to articulate the benefits of the project. Discuss their project benefits against other projects. These distinctions are important to understand. With finite resources, organization must say yes to the right project. It's a powerful approach to re-assign accountability to end users is a form of project priority self-selection.


Keep the teams focused on the right initiatives. Helping end users to self-select wisely is crucial to making this happen. Every project idea will be fairly weighed against other needs/projects but even then, some great ideas still might not win the competition for finite resources.


I understand some ideas are vague. This creates handful of challenges. To start with it, hold business leaders accountable for poorly disciplined business plans. Ultimately, we need a collaborative approach from business and technology partners to collect data and understand customer / consumer perceptions. Even if there was a decision to engage a third party to collect the data, still collaborative approach of business and technology partners along with third party would have better benefit.


Also, need to analyze people skills - IT resources aren't unlimited or interchangeable.


Here are handful of questions to ask the end users:

- Can you clearly articulate the value?

- Have you had a partner to help get your idea through the vetting process / work breakdown process?

- What are the roadblocks do you see?

- What have you done to overcome the roadblocks?

- What has prevented moving forward in the past?


Capture the details of an objective:

  • Objective Summary

  • The problem Statement

  • Details

  • Priority (End Users Perspective) - High, Medium and Low

  • Size - Small, Medium, Large or Extra Large

  • Primary Value: Produce Revenue or Soft Savings or Risk Mitigation

  • Secondary Value: End-of-life or other cost benefit or Certainty

  • Audience

  • Dependencies

  • Definition of Done - Acceptance Criteria

  • Timeframe

  • Known Risks

  • End users previous feedback

Approaches to Prioritization Buckets: (Customized for each team on their way)

  1. Maintenance & break fixes or Must do work (Critical Work)

  2. Reaching out to global markets or new initiatives

  3. Enhancements

Add Weights to Work Items:

  1. Strategically Produces Revenue - 20%

  2. Operationally Saves Money - 20%

  3. End-of-Life - 20%

  4. Cost Benefit - 20%

  5. Mitigate Risk - 10%

  6. Certainty / Known Work - 10%

Score projects on a scale of 1 to 5.


Plot all the projects and see which projects have the most and least business impact.


Here is an example:

Top 10 Projects based on above assumption:

  1. End of old system and moving into new system

  2. SAP S4 Upgrade

  3. New Product Initiatives

  4. Critical Issues

  5. Business Expansion to Europe

  6. New Business Project

  7. New Technology Project

  8. Enhancements

  9. Discovery Project + System Upgrade + Governance Project


Policies:

The general concept of aligning financial plans, securing resources and scheduling are already understood. Both business and technology teams should develop schedules by which to produce work and deliver solution to the market. The wisdom of building integrated plans / synchronized plan reduce churn and drive efficiencies.

  • Product management prioritizes business features

  • Technology management prioritizes technical features

  • Jointly agree to develop solutions

  • Collaborate on sequencing work priorities in a way that maximize business outcome

Recommendation for Portfolio Prioritization & Planning:

  1. Capture Details of the Objectives

  2. Plot all Objectives into Prioritization Buckets (Critical - New Initiatives - Enhancements)

  3. Assess Milestones and Headcount Needed & Availabilities (Work Sizing)

  4. Add Weights

  5. Build Smaller Product Teams

  6. Have Key Resources, Skills and Support Dependencies (Have Cross-functional Skills)

  7. Conduct Planning Sessions to assess Project Readiness to Start (Planning along with team working)

  8. Build Kanban Board and update continuously

  9. Communication to Leaders and Stakeholders

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