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58 CHAPTER 2 PLANNING FOR IT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
The long lists can be shortened by reviewing the objectives and capabilities of the team/organizations. If the objectives are lofty, the team is strong, and resources permit, a larger investment in portfolio automation solutions is called upon. If, however, resources are constrained or objectives are seemingly simple, begin with office automation tools. The tools must be enablers to the process and must therefore support attainment of objectives in the context of the capabilities and available resources.
At this point, you should have an understanding of the objectives of IT portfolio management and the capabilities required to perform IT portfolio management. Key stakeholders should be identified. A charter or contract between key stakeholders and those responsible for facilitating the IT portfolio management process should exist. A skeleton plan should be created that will subsequently be expanded upon. Success criteria and measures of success and value creation should exist. The IT portfolio management process is positioned to successfully provide value to the enterprise. However, the governance aspects still need to be established. Deciding who has authority versus input over decisions, what decisions are made in which forum, how decisions are made, and how these decisions impact both business and strategic objectives as well as specific metrics is very complicated. In the next chapter, the people and governance aspects of IT portfolio management are discussed.
1. Rowe, A. J. and R. O. Mason, Managing with Style: A Guide to Understanding, Assessing, and Improving Decision Making, San Francisco:Jossey-Bass, 1987.
IT Portfolio Management Maturity Levels
LEVEL O: ADMITTING
Although the CMM starts at level 1, the IT portfolio management maturity model starts at level 0 because most organizations start from nothing. Level 0 is the recognition that a better way exists. Following are the characteristics of each subportfolio and aggregate IT portfolio at level 0:
• Projects: The focus is on determining what projects are active and in the pipeline. The focus is on data collection.
• Applications: The focus is on determining which applications exist, their purpose, and their owners. The focus, again, is on basic data collection.
• Infrastructure: The focus is on determining what infrastructure assets exist within the organization. The focus remains on basic data collection.
• People: The focus is on determining what people exist and what their skills are. The focus, again, is still on basic data collection.
• Process: The focus is on determining what processes are performed by the enterprise and identifying their owners. The focus remains on basic data collection.
• Information: At this level, the key entries (e.g., customer, employee, item) are identified. Associative entities or reports are excluded. Only a baseline of entities critical to the operations of the enterprise is captured. This is the genesis of an enterprise metadata repository.
60 CHAPTER 2 PLANNING FOR IT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
• Overall IT portfolio: The simple recognition of a need for an overall IT portfolio is adequate.
LEVEL 1: COMMUNICATING
The focus of level 1 is structuring things to show relationships and aspects to make less-siloed decisions. At level 1, the benefits of the portfolio management approach become apparent visually; however, accuracy is relative and precision is suspect.
• Projects: The focus of the project portfolio is aggregating and interrelating the projects based on available information. A standard for obtaining project information exists, but the project management processes are not standardized. Initiative requests are included as well. A basic yet consistent business case or initiative request form exists to support clear communication.
• Applications: For the application portfolio to be at level 1, a listing of all applications, replete with attributes that enable high-level decision making, is required. Candidate attributes include business value, technical condition, process supported, and affected entities.
• Infrastructure: Infrastructure portfolio requires a list of all (major) infrastructure assets with sufficient attributes to enable decision making regarding their use. Ideally, at this level infrastructure assets are compared relative to the technical standards outlined in the enterprise technical architecture.
• People: People portfolios require a listing of all IT personnel, their skills, and skill levels. To be of optimal value to the enterprise, an understanding of skill demand is required. Thus, the people portfolio will tend to lag behind the projects, applications, and infrastructure to support intelligent future-based staffing decisions.
• Process: Process portfolios require all major processes to be documented in sufficient detail to enable similarities and differences to be identified. A process portfolio generally augments other portfolios (e.g., information, application, people) to enable more refined decision making.