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Management Miscellany

Building an Innovation Portfolio -- 10 Key Takeaways [Infographic]


I recently hosted a discussion with Forrester's, vice president, principal analyst serving CIOs, Chip Gliedman and Planview's NDP solution market manager Carrie Nauyalis about innovation and portfolio management, and how the two relate. I've included an image of the visual notes designed during the live event. They provide a visual reference for the topics and key takeaways.

Infographic: Building and Managing an Innovation Portfolio

We Had a Lively Discussion on Five Topics

  1. What an innovation really is and how it differs from change
  2. The capabilities needed to support sustained innovation across the enterprise
  3. Driving innovation forward and who typically takes the lead
  4. How to leverage an innovation network that culls ideas from inside and outside the organization; and last, but not least…
  5. How portfolio management can tie all this together

My 10 Key Takeaways

  1. Ideation is not innovation ‒‒ Innovation is a process that spans products/services, processes/operations, markets/business models, and organization/governance.
  2. Innovation differs from change; innovation:
    1. Is ongoing, not episodic
    2. Often has distinct governance and funding
    3. Implies a greater degree of creativity and risk
    4. Success metrics are different (often the driving principle is "fail fast, fail cheap")
  3. Balancing Risk vs. Reward is key; strive for innovations that drive value
  4. Exploit the entire ecosystem including employees, customers, suppliers, and more
  5. Innovation may be "everybody's job," but to thrive it is best driven, or at least supported, by a single area.
  6. Regardless of where innovation "sits" in an organization, the CIO role is going to need to shift to support the growing trend toward more innovation initiatives
  7. Product Portfolio Management (PPM) helps operationalize innovation throughout the Ideation, Product Planning, Development, and Launch processes. It also helps align projects and other investments with products, and aligns products with brand strategy.
  8. Be sure to make room in your project portfolios for innovation projects, even smaller efforts that may not have a major impact on current business operations, but help enable business change or growth.
  9. PMOs should not only help accommodate and support innovation projects (relaxing their methodology and metrics as appropriate), but should encourage and drive the trend. This can also serve to improve the image of the PMO as a bureaucratic bottleneck.
  10. To drive innovation, you need:
    • A strategy for driving and managing innovation
    • A culture that fosters innovation
    • Ideas! And lots of them!
    • Processes to filter and vet the ideas
    • A portfolio view of your innovation prototypes
    • Governance and control processes for innovation

For more information, listen to the full Webcast discussion Building and Managing an Innovation Portfolio. Meanwhile, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Who drives innovation in your organization? What processes do you have that ensure innovation is considered? What is the maturity level of your innovation program and what challenges are you facing? And lastly, what do you find stifles innovation in your organization?

The Top 5 Priorities for Your PMO in 2013


On January 28th, ProjectsAtWork featured an article by Jerry Manas titled, Were the Mayans Right About Your PMO? In it he covers the 5 key things you need to worry about concerning the fate of your PMO ‒‒ a list of undeniable trends and predictions for the coming year.

The article follows the End of the World Webcast Jerry hosted where he dropped some ancient Mayan knowledge that dispelled all of the "end of the world" myths that were floating around, but also brought to light a startling statistic that indicates that your PMO could face its demise if you don't make these 5 key points a priority in 2013. Did you know that 75% of PMO's are dissolved within the first 3 years of starting?1

In the article, Jerry leverages the doomsday theme as a background to drive the point home that in order for your PMO to avoid becoming a statistic in this New Year it needs to address the following:

Top 5 Priorities for Your PMO in 2013
  1. Floods (Resource Management)
  2. Blindness (Predictive Analytics)
  3. Risky Adventures (Innovation Projects)
  4. Crevices (Portfolio Management)
  5. Beasts (Understand Agile)

Here's a look at the article:

"In December, I presented a webinar dispelling the numerous myths about the Mayan end-of-the world predictions, not the least of which is the fact that the circular sun stone tablet referred to in 95% of the websites predicting doomsday is in fact Aztec, not Mayan. But I did, however, share the more realistic doom and gloom cautionary messages for PMOs in 2013 ‒‒ specifically five things to worry about, all undeniable trends that have been heading our way like a freight train with faulty brakes…"

Continue reading the full article by logging into the ProjectsAtWork site.

What are some of your PMO's priorities for 2013? Share by leaving a comment below.

1Margo Visitacion, "PMOs: Stop Being the Office of 'No,'" Forrester Research, Inc., Nov. 11, 2011

Going Hybrid, and I’m Not Talking about Cars (it’s about the Cloud)


Wired.com - The Cloud: Not Just for Startups AnymoreThe word "hybrid" typically conjures images of the Toyota Prius (only for now if Ford has anything to say about it), but in the world of enterprise software it is about evolving business models. Actually, and more importantly, going hybrid is about bringing more value to customers by providing them with choice -- the choice of cloud-based or on-premise software deployment models. Over the past several years we at Planview have put this hybrid approach at the core of our business. We have embraced SaaS as a transformational business initiative, but at the same time continue to embrace the on-premise model as well. Providing choice is ultimately about being customer-driven versus fighting industry-centric religious wars about business models and technologies. Without question, going hybrid has brought more value to our customers, partners, and shareholders. For more on this transition and how a cloud-hosted approach made it happen, see my recent article on WIRED.

The Cloud: Not Just for Startups Anymore

"Clearly cloud-based software solutions are here to stay. Whether in consumer or enterprise markets, the cloud has transformed the way we deploy and consume software applications. For enterprise customers, cloud-based software radically…" Read the full article.

Horizons 2011: The Untold Value of a Single Nugget


In my current capacity as a Planview expert-in-residence, I was pleased to be invited to attend and speak at the Horizons User Conference last Wednesday, as well as share my thoughts as a guest blogger. As always, there was much to take in; catching up with old friends, meeting new, first-time attendees (a majority this year, in fact), and sitting in on several of the many sessions.

The Untold ValueIn retrospect, one particular take-away struck me as a consistent theme over my experience at a dozen or so Planview user events. Of the many unique ways that participants gain value from such meetings, perhaps none is more important as finding that one 'nugget of information' that changes the future course of their program and profoundly affects their level of success. I have no doubt that Greg Gilmore talked about this in his closing session on Thursday.

As you would expect, most user presentations offer positive experiences and share amazing achievements as they continue on their portfolio management journey. Certainly inspiration and useful knowledge can be gained from such accounts. But, as we all know, the road isn't always one that is easily traveled; sometimes a presenter offers up tough lessons created by struggle and adversity. Such accounts serve as a reminder about how challenging the implementation of portfolio management can be, or any other major improvement initiative for that matter.

Although it is natural to initially react with a bit of gloom when an organization recounts their struggles, there is a selfless and positive reason why they volunteer their story. If you look around the room, you will probably find that someone is at that very moment having an epiphany; that the resulting knowledge is shining like a beacon to someone else, showing the way forward for their own efforts. Maybe it shows in the look on their face, or how they lean in to their coworker with hurried whispers. Perhaps it is their furious notations or in the questions they ask.

Ultimately, that's what Horizons is all about, what it has always offered to the user community -- the chance to learn and grow from each others' knowledge and experience -- even it if is hard-won. As aptly illustrated by the idea of 'finding a nugget,' the value of one simple idea can be immeasurable, whether it comes in the form of a Meet-The-Expert session, a customer presentation, a networking discussion, or learning of new product capabilities. Even though it seems such nuggets are rare as we work our way through our daily efforts, I suspect you would be hard pressed to find a Horizons 2011 attendee who left empty handed. Hope to see you there next year!

Fare Thee Well Steve


For those of you with passion for the world of technology, today is without question a very sad day. Whether you are an Apple disciple (like myself), or someone with just a passion for technology, we all lost an inspirational figure in our industry and a remarkable human being. Of course the power of Steve was that he made the most innovative technologies accessible to everyone. The fact that my 75 year old mother (who loves her Mac) was one of the first people I called upon hearing the news of his death is testament to his legacy.

It is interesting talking to people today and the general sense that so many feel they lost someone they knew, although none of us have ever met the man. Few people in history have created that sense -- JFK, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia. In all these cases the person’s mission and vision were almost indiscernible from the person themself. In the case of Steve, every time you hold or interact with an Apple product, you get a visceral sense that his personal stamp is on every aspect of the product. Those products are the technological incarnation of Steve Jobs, and thus we all feel we know the man because we know the products.

I read a piece recently that discussed some recent research concluding that we "love" our iPhones. Through MRI scans of the brain, it was determined that iPhone use stimulates the same regions of the brain associated with feeling of love. Love is a strong word, but I can assure you that watching Steve at a launch event or playing with one of his creations certainly has brought joy to my life -- some of that joy will never be recreated in the same way.

We were blessed to have lived and experienced his genius. Over the past few months, anticipating this day, I will admit that at times I felt cheated out of coming decades of undiscovered joy that Steve would have brought us. But today we need to focus on the genius we were all able to witness and the path that he opened up for all of us. We were fortunate to be a part of it.

Integrated Portfolio Analysis -- How Did We Get Here and Are We Finally Ready?


Recently, Gartner took a new look at the whole notion of PPM, from an enterprise and IT perspective. For those of you that have seen my previous post, you know that we applaud this change. The landscape outlined in the new Gartner PPM Market Universe is dead on with where portfolio management is headed.

Integrated Portfolio Analysis - How Did We Get Here?A major component of this research is the new Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications. At Planview, we are humbled to be positioned in the Leaders Quadrant in this new Magic Quadrant that redefines the IT portfolio landscape. Rightfully so, the title of this new Magic Quadrant does not include the word "project", because managing projects is just one part of any IT organization. IT organizations provide their internal and external customers with applications and services that run their businesses. Projects are simply a mechanism for driving change within the application and services portfolio, as well as the underlying IT infrastructure. This interplay is at the heart of IT management and hence the new Magic Quadrant.

Certainly we all recognize Gartner's track record for market insight and their influence in the IT community. Gartner's endorsement of "Integrated Portfolio Analysis" is sure to stimulate a lot of conversations in the IT community. But I think it is worth noting several historical milestones that got us to this point.

The first occurred in 2005 when Forrester published what at the time was a seminal perspective on Integrated IT Management or IIM. This report spurred the initial wave of thinking in the portfolio management community on the potential expanded reach of portfolio management. It was also influential in driving Planview's original investment into supporting application and services portfolios as part of our solution. It was probably a little ahead of its time; but Margo, Phil, and team got the ball rolling.

The second moment happened in 2008 with the release of ITIL 4. A significant component of ITIL 4 was the addition of services portfolio management as a formal discipline. This was the next jolt in driving the recognition of portfolios beyond projects. Unfortunately, ITIL 4 momentum was all but squashed by the onset of the economic recession, but ITIL initiatives are beginning to pick up steam again.

The economic recession, and the "new normal" it introduced, brought the third key milestone in this evolution. The intense financial pressure that IT organizations were under drove them to rationalize every aspect of their business. Globally we saw IT organizations go after one of their largest and most costly portfolios with a vengeance -- the application portfolio. The economic recession forced a new level of maturity in application portfolio management.

So that brings us up to today and the latest Gartner research. There is a great opportunity for IT organizations to drive towards an Integrated Portfolio Analysis model. Very few are there today, but when I meet with customers it is clear they see the value, and most are already doing bits and pieces with varying results. Gartner adding its perspective represents another significant milestone in this emerging IT management capability; it will be interesting to see how IT portfolio analysis evolves as a result.

Related post: Brave New PPM World

Brave New PPM World


The last 20 years have seen an enterprise software landscape dominated by a fairly stable set of mega business applications. ERP, CRM, HCM, SCM, PLM -- these apps have gone a long way to helping organizations achieve massive productivity gains by automating a broad set of core enterprise business processes.

"O brave new world that has such people in it. Let's start at once." -- Aldous Huxley, Brave New WorldAs these core processes became automated, businesses seized an opportunity to focus more wholly on becoming and staying competitive by driving change and innovation. And change generally comes in the form of projects.

So project portfolio management, once solely the purview of IT and used for the tactical, has become a competitive advantage for departments and organizations across the enterprise.

We here at Planview aren't surprised: we have always envisioned a vibrant market for PPM. Beyond PPM as a project-based system, we saw its power as a decision-making platform that allows organizations to optimize demand against their most precious resources -- people and money. It started with IT, and I now contend that we are on the brink of a new mega-app and discipline, i.e. portfolio management for the enterprise.

Why the change? The economic environment is structurally changed. Across a majority of industries, growth has slowed, budgets are cut, and the need to prioritize in light of constrained resources is the new reality. It's a dilemma faced by IT, product development teams, service delivery organizations, and corporate finance, and applying PPM principles just plain works across the board.

Of course vendors are occasionally guilty of creating their own marketing reality, an artifact of their belief in their value and their need to drive growth. But when others -- specifically industry and financial analysts -- embrace and validate their vision, the market can take on a very different perspective.

We are at this point as we speak. Not long ago, Forrester Research wrote about PPM for IT versus the line of business as two different user segments. That was a big first step for which they deserve credit.

Then, last week Gartner took it another step forward. The iconic Magic Quadrant for PPM went supernova and became the PPM Universe -- a broad collection of research that covers the application of PPM in IT, product development, professional services, and AEC.

With more voices in this broader market there will now be varying opinions on the future ahead, but this only adds richness to the discipline.

It really is a brave new world out there. We're all expected to -- you'll pardon the cliché -- do more with less; be faster, smarter, and better than we were last year, last month, last minute. The only way to do that is to enable our organizations to be as innovative, efficient, and competitive as possible. And that makes the enterprise-wide PPM platform more relevant than ever before.

Portfolio Perspectives: Getting the PPM Picture


Welcome to Portfolio Perspectives! I'm excited to present this new blog which will offer insights, thought leadership and points of view on portfolio management and its growing impact across the enterprise. In today's business climate of perpetual change, the discipline of portfolio management is more critical than ever to help you make timely, informed business decisions for your organization.

Innovation, Plan, Success, StrategySo, to start off, let's be clear about what we mean by portfolio management and PPM. Portfolio management is often referred to fondly as PPM, with that first P representing project or program or product. As we've seen portfolio management grow, it's being used for many initiatives that don't start with the letter P -- services, applications, strategies, and more. Since we all like to use three-letter acronyms, you'll see PPM and portfolio management used interchangeably throughout this blog.

Portfolio Perspectives will be the resource for you to stay on top of the latest trends in portfolio management. Portfolio management experts and executives will cover a variety of timely topics including:

  • The state of the PPM market
  • Resource management best practices
  • The transformation of annual planning
  • Analytics & reporting insights, sustainability and much more…

Everyone who shares a passion for the benefits of PPM across the enterprise has a point of view. This blog is a forum for your voice, so when a topic or opinion strikes a chord… share your perspective!