Portfolios and the Strategy to Action Life Cycle

May 18, 2013 2 comments

As a project manager, you lead the organization towards innovative thinking about how to realistically meet strategic objectives.  Through managing people and projects, you have a vast array of knowledge of the organization, business practices, organizational culture, power players and influential people.  Most importantly, you know where the bottlenecks are in the many business processes at work.  You know the people who enable and those who do not.  You are among the most valuable assets at your company because you know how to get things done.

Having all of this knowledge and experience, how can you become a major contributor to corporate strategy development and project alignment?  Take all of that knowledge and use it to think and act like a strategic enabler and solution partner.

Portfolio Framework

Portfolio management requires both business managers and solution partners working together to align, plan and manage a “strategy to action life cycle” for new and legacy corporate initiatives.  This collaboration encourages critical thinking to discover how to use your social and political capital to strengthen corporate strategies.

  • Portfolios help organize and prioritize project investments.  If you are familiar with Agile practices, a Product Backlog can be compared to a portfolio.  As Product Owners and customers examine the business value of product features and prioritize each feature in the Product Backlog based on value and risk, business managers and solution partners examine the business value of proposed projects and prioritize each project in the portfolio based on value and risk.  This guides companies to make decisions about project and resource investments.
  • Portfolios help inspire innovation to reduce cost.  Examining the business value of legacy technologies and business processes helps identify areas of improvement or replacement as some elements may no longer support business strategy or may be too costly to sustain.  The goal here is to reduce the number of elements that have low business impact.  Technology retirement or replacement may lead to new, smarter technologies that enable corporations to achieve business goals smarter and faster.

An influential PMO can and should impact business decisions about projects.  When opportunity to reduce cost or improve business value is present, members of the PMO should be at the forefront when business leaders ask what the best alternatives are.  The “strategy to action life cycle” is a continuous process with direct participation and influential input from project managers strategically poised to add the most value.  You don’t need to hire a portfolio manager to manage a portfolio.  Project Managers can lead strategy to action management activities using portfolios and this critical contribution can increase the value of your PMO.


Project Managers are Solution Partners

April 21, 2013 Leave a comment

A project manager agrees to manage a technical project that was two years old and had two previous project managers.  Given repeated failures and lack of progress, the assigned engineering team had little faith that the new project manager would make a difference.  But the project had the attention of the executive steering committee and canceling it was not an option.  So the project manager went on a mission to turn things around, and discovered that disruptions and other work requests interrupted engineers to the point that they were unable to complete project work.  The engineering team did not have a proper intake and tracking process for engineering work, so the project manager created an automated solution to track new work requests.  Once in place, productivity increased more than 60% for the entire engineering organization and the project manager was promoted to portfolio manager.


Some business executives and managers see project managers as service suppliers, delivering projects as a service, and they see value in that when they have a solution to deliver and it is delivered to their satisfaction.  But think about the social and political capital you pick up during your journey to deliver projects, and how you can use that to inspire others to think outside the project and consider the many other benefits you can bring to management as their partner.

ESI’s Project Management 2013 trend number 3 claims, “Project management is not just for project managers anymore”, so expect to see more non-project managers becoming “project manager by accident” this year, a trend that can either make or break us.  Inexperience will show as more projects fail this year, adding to another ongoing problem that shows up in the 2013 survey as business leaders continue to question the value of project management and whether or not to invest in experienced project management resources.   Experienced project managers know how to think outside their project and add value in other ways, so don’t’ limit yourself to project delivery as a service; contribute to the big picture through solution delivery as a service.  Be a solution partner and you will help move the project management profession to the next level.

Project Managers are Strategic Enablers

April 13, 2013 Leave a comment

The project manager says to the PMO manager, “2013 is going to be a busy year for us, with all of the new projects starting in just a few short weeks.  I hope we have enough project managers to handle the workload.”  The boss agrees, “Yeah, I just received this year’s list of projects and I think we are in for a busy year too.  We may have to hire a PM or two.  Can you start collecting resumes so we can start the hiring process?”  The project manager goes off to start the screening process and in a few weeks, two new project managers join the team.  Then the finance team decides to cut the budget and some of the new projects.  The PMO manager says, “We seem to have more project managers then we do projects, so let’s have the two new PMs evaluate some project management software for next year’s budget.  I’m sure a new project or two will pop up sooner or later.”


What’s wrong with this PMO?  The PMO is not engaged in the strategic planning process so the PMO manager uses duct tape as a remedy.  The PMO manager makes a resource plan and hires new staff based on a list of projects, then once the company cuts the budget, the new project managers have no projects to manage so the PMO manager assigns them to work on something that is not part of the strategic plan, hoping a new project or two pops up in the near future.

Business leaders will invest money in technology and human resources that help companies reach strategic goals and they see value in project management professionals who invest in themselves to become savvy business management leaders.  Today’s project manager adds value when business leaders see them as “strategic enablers”, planning and managing projects that add value to the company’s bottom line.  Just as IT organizations enable their companies to achieve their goals through technology and service management, PMOs enable companies to achieve their goals through strategic solution delivery.  Companies make it possible for PMOs to deliver strategic solutions by engaging them in the strategic planning process.

VyrtuNet’s 2013 Community Celebration Starts April 1

March 31, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s that time of year again…The VyrtuNet Community Celebration event April 1 through April 30 when we show our appreciation of you and your accomplishments!   Our theme for 2013:  Duct Tape is Not a Project Remedy

During the month of April get:

  • 10% to 20% off all processes, templates and tools all month long at www.vyrtunet.com.  To get 10% to 20% off all processes, templates and tools all month long, enter the coupon code at checkout.  Coupon codes are displayed with each product description.  Enter the coupon code at the bottom of the payment form to apply the discount amount.  Discounts apply to regular prices and Premium Member prices.
  • BOGOs, buy any product during the month and get one free.  To get your BOGO, buy any product during the month and we will email one to you free.  The free product is displayed on our home page.   Please be sure to include your email address or we can’t send the template.
  • Weekly insights to help you avoid duct tape as a project remedy, posted on our website
  • Free PMO Assessment Sweepstakes – Does your PMO use duct tape as a project remedy?  Tell us why you want to add value and we’ll set one lucky PMO in the right direction to get there.  Click here to learn more.
  • Gadget Sweepstakes – a free Samsung Chromebook goes to the lucky winner of this year’s gadget sweepstakes giveaway

2013 Community Event Home Page Image

Do you want to improve how your PMO adds value?  Tell us why you want to add value and we’ll set one lucky PMO in the right direction to get there.  This month one winner will be selected by random drawing to receive a free PMO Assessment.  Would you like to improve how your PMO delivers projects to your customers?  To be eligible for sweepstakes entry and the random drawing, you must submit a request telling us why you believe your PMO can do a better job of delivering projects to your customers.  No purchase necessary.  One entry per person or business.  One winner will be selected and notified by email. Submit your request to consulting@vyrtunet.com

To read more about our Community Event, click here.

VyrtuNet’s 2013 Customer Celebration: We Want to Hear from You

March 5, 2013 1 comment

Each year we invite all VyrtuNet community members to participate in our annual appreciation event when we give away lots of good stuff in celebration of you and your accomplishments!  To show our appreciation this year we have lots of fun surprises for our customers, subscribers and followers and details will come soon.  We keep growing!  2012 was our biggest year ever at www.vyrtunet.com and we have you to thank.

This year we want to give you a chance to tell us what you would like to see.

Our 2013 theme:  Duct Tape is Not a Project Remedy

Duct tape

We continue to build and plan to launch more information and products emphasizing Project Management Office and Portfolio Management implementations.  Why?  Because recent surveys and trends indicate some organizations still question the value of project delivery services.  What would you like to see to convince the skeptics about the value of project management?  Can you think of any new templates or tools that can add value for your customers or help you become more efficient?  How would you describe “value” driven delivery to your customers and project teams?

We want to hear from you.  Keeping with this year’s theme and today’s project management trends, let us know what we can do for you during our month-long celebration.  Become a member of our website community at www.vyrtunet.com (it’s free and you get free templates), subscribe to one of our blogs P3 Peak Performance  or PM Innovations and leave a comment, follow us on Twitter and send us a Tweet, follow us on Pinterest and comment on one of our boards or visit our Facebook page and post on our wall.  Contact us to let us know what we can do help you become better project managers during our annual appreciation event.

2013 Trends for IT and Project Management

February 11, 2013 2 comments

Each year, several publishers release trend information they collect via surveys and interviews with top professionals.  Here are links to the 2013 trends in IT and project management.

If you frequent this blog, then you know we’ve published several posts on enterprise strategic alignment with IT and IT as a strategic enabler and innovator for the enterprise.  It looks like IT trends have finally caught up with us.

The IT Trends for 2013, by ServiceNow, can be found on the IT Business Edge website here:  http://www.itbusinessedge.com/slideshows/the-cio-big-super-high-impact-it-list-for-2013.html?utm_source=itbe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MII&nr=MII

If you want to compare the 2013 IT Trends with our related articles published in 2010, follow this link on our blog:  http://vyrtunet.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/there%E2%80%99s-a-method-to-the-madness-part-1/  You will find the information is quite similar if not the same as today’s IT trends.

We’ve also published several posts on leadership, strategic alignment and portfolio management plus PMO value innovation over the years.  Both subjects are now 2013 PM trends according to ESI International’s 2013 Trends in Project Management.  These trends can be found on ESI’s website here:  http://www.esi-intl.com/resources/industry-research/viewpoints/2013-pm-trends or here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/esi-international-releases-top-10-trends-in-project-management-2013-01-03

How close did we come to meeting today’s PM trends?  Very close if not the same.  Check the categories located in the right column of this blog.  Several of them have articles related to leadership, PMO business value and project management innovation at the forefront of these trends.  We encourage you to check out the Thokk series, Business Culture, Business Value, Program Management, Project Stakeholders and Teams and PM Capability categories.

Project Innovators Weekly is Out – Jan 18 2013

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment

The Project Innovators Paper.li is out.  Click the image or link below to read this week’s top articles from the project management community.


Paper.li Jan 18


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