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46 CHAPTER 2 PLANNING FOR IT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
At level 3, managing, the accuracy of information feeding the portfolio becomes pertinent. In fact, level 3 cannot be obtained or exceeded without the underlying operational processes being mature enough to provide reliable quantitative input for the portfolio. Level 3 is the most difficult level to obtain. For asset portfolios, asset management must be operationally effective. For projects, project and program management must be mature enough to provide consistent and reliable project and program estimates and actuals to feed the project portfolio. The IT portfolio in its entirety cannot attain or exceed level 3 until all subportfolios are at level 3 or greater. Level 4, optimizing, is nirvana for IT portfolio management. At level 4, metrics are acted upon to improve the portfolio. Interdependencies between portfolio components, as well as interdependencies between subportfolios, are recognized and measured. Measurements at level 4 are used to guide improvement. A more detailed description of the maturity model can be found in Appendix 2A, enabling readers to determine their current and desired IT portfolio management maturity.
Raising the level of IT portfolio management should not become the primary objective. Many improvement initiatives have maturity models (e.g., Software Engineering Institute’s capability maturity model and Program Management Institute’s organizational project management maturity model). A maturity model is a diagnostic and nothing more. Frequently, the primary goal of organizations becomes either moving to the next level or advancing to the highest level. While there may be merit in advancing in maturity, failure to address business issues and provide demonstrable value will most certainly derail the most well-intentioned IT portfolio management initiatives. Determining the current level of IT portfolio management maturity, however, will provide an excellent mechanism to ensure that the objectives are neither too lofty nor too unambitious.
IT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT
After analyzing the organization’s pain points, readiness for IT portfolio management, and maturity of the IT portfolio management discipline within the organization, the capabilities to do IT portfolio management can truly be ascertained—the current state of the enterprise’s use of IT portfolio management, coupled with the enterprise’s readiness for change, enables a relatively accurate assessment of the extent to which IT portfolio management can be applied successfully. The capability to perform IT portfolio management within your organization should temper the initial objectives. At this juncture, ask yourself if, “based upon what I’ve learned with the assessments, and given my resource constraints, are my objectives for IT portfolio management doable?” If the answer is “no,” which it usually is, adjust the objective for attainability. Set yourself up for success.
STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS 47
This step is not optional! Many practitioners assumed it was, leading to derailment of the effort because of a failure to address the issues of a key stakeholder. Stakeholder analysis is designed to identify key players who have a stake in IT portfolio management and their attributes so that they can be addressed appropriately. In rudimentary stakeholder analysis, individuals who have a stake in an effort are identified, then their issues are captured and addressed. We advocate taking stakeholder analysis a bit further. While IT portfolio management has its roots in mathematics, people are the critical element to its success. Key stakeholders must be identified and their support secured. To do this, however, the personal benefits to them must be identified, associated with the IT portfolio management effort, and subsequently communicated to them to secure their involvement and support.
Key stakeholders are generally identified as those with formal or informal power. Formal power can often be associated with funding ability. Informal power relates to the ability to influence others (often those with funding ability). Stakeholder groups can also be identified. For example, the team of project managers might be considered a stakeholder group. If the IT portfolio management exercise involves projects and project metrics are required, project managers must be addressed to fulfill this need.
Once key stakeholders are identified, their attributes must be collected. Often, these attributes are qualitative or even educated guesses. The minimum attributes about each stakeholder (or stakeholder group) are included in Exhibit 2.4.
The perceived level of support is identified to enable portfolio management stakeholder triage. Those with high support for the effort can be enrolled in providing active sponsorship and participation. Those on the fence should be addressed directly to increase their level of support. Those who are naysayers should be addressed to increase their level of support or minimize the damage their negativity could bring to the initiative. Power level and other influences such as lead end users are also major considerations. It is optimal to have those with the most power or who are the most influential lead the IT portfolio management initiative. In fact, this often turns out to be the case.