Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Prioritisation the impossible dream.
A rather rueful thought has befallen me after a hectic week following up on UniPhi leads from our recently completed road show. One of the big new features in version 5 is the ability to build a tailored made prioritisation framework and then apply this framework to each project in the various portfolios. Working with clients on this concept has made me realise that this is probably the most valuable piece of consulting we provide. It seems so simple and obvious a thing to do when compiling these frameworks that I often wonder where the IP is in what we are selling and yet working with senior executives and selling the benefits of a firm prioritisation framework that is rigidly adhered to is extremely difficult.
The benefits of these frameworks are massive and in my opinion, it is better to prioritise incorrectly than not to prioritise at all. Many organisations that are failing to generate competitive advantage aren't failing due to a lack of ideas or a lack of activity but are failing because of too many ideas and too many activities. Prioritising investments and actually delivering on the top 10 - 20 is bound to be more beneficial than trying to do all 100 and not delivering any.
It is with interest that I correlate this type of thing to organisations that announce random headcount reductions that are neatly rounded to the closest thousand or hundred but can never articulate where the chop is going to be. They usually need to send out "razor gangs" to crawl each silo'd department and ask them what they can do to chop heads. Of course, if they had a prioritised portfolio of investments, a considerable number of heads could be saved by killing low priority projects that are probably no longer viable in the changed environment. This should be a very quick and easy exercise if the organisation has an enterprise portfolio and project management tool that will give them the current status of the prioritised list. Add the killing of these projects to the rationalisation or divestment of businesses that are no longer making money should bring about real savings in a challenging environment and ensure that projects that still will deliver competitive advantage remain. It's the investments you make in a downturn that will enable you to print money in the upturn (just ask the sage of Omaha).
Readers of this blog would be able to see previous articles on stage gate financing and the like to see how best to apply prioritisation frameworks but in a week where this product has come to the fore yet again, I thought it was time to remind myself as well as those who may stumble across our work...PLEASE PRIORITISE!