Our Chicago practice hosted a panel of local PMO executives to discuss portfolio rationalization. Here are their insights from the meeting.
September 28, 2023 – Chicago, IL — For over a decade, our Chicago practice has hosted a 4PM (PMO, Portfolio, Program and Product Delivery) community that gathers quarterly for local leaders to network and collaborate around today’s top business topics from Agile transformation to evolving PMO delivery models.
For their most recent event, the group gathered at a Centric Consulting client’s office in downtown Chicago for an interactive, hybrid panel discussion featuring three of the group’s own members. The session focused on portfolio rationalization, breaking down how to best perform strategic project intake, business alignment, prioritization and value attribution for your organization.
This is an especially relevant topic as we approach Q4 and year-end project assessments, resulting in a lively and collaborative conversation with 30 in-person attendees and a dozen virtual participants. The seasoned panelists addressed four key challenges they see when evaluating portfolios:
- Ever-changing stakeholders and constant realignment: Changes in stakeholders or strategic direction require continuous reevaluation of projects to ensure consistency and appropriate resource distribution across your portfolio. Panelists noted that many companies are moving towards shorter-term or quarterly planning cycles to account for unexpected initiatives.
- Operating in silos: Most organizations’ departments prioritize projects differently, making it hard to compare them objectively and establish a standardized method for evaluating projects within the portfolio. Members talked about how they combat this by bringing the business and technology sides of the organization together and making sure that they’re aligned up-front.
- Managing scope-creep: Ill-defined, growing project scopes lead to unexpected demands and divert resources and attention away from projects more closely aligned with your company’s strategic goals. PMOs must balance short-term versus long-term projects by scoring the level of effort and engagement they require and proactively documenting changes in it.
- Controls and Governance: Setting up and maintaining discipline within your PMO presents many challenges especially as portfolios grow in size and complexity. Leaders must find the right balance between providing flexibility for project teams to adapt to changes and maintaining control to ensure strategic alignment.
Another topic prevalent thought the discussion was people and change management. Attendees described varying maturity levels of their companies’ change management practices, but all agreed that PMO executives need to manage change effectively to ensure successful adoption of new portfolio prioritization processes. One panelist, the SVP of Transformation and Program Management for a global commercial real estate company, said, “you can’t sleep on change management… it will come back to haunt you.”
The 4PM community gathering concluded with a social hour over views of the city skyline from the building’s 70th floor bar, where members continued to build professional and personal bonds.
Centric Chicago will continue to host quarterly 4PM Community events and is always open to members. Are you a director-level or higher business leader in the Chicago area? Click here to reach out to us to get involved.