Each of the above can be managed using the same techniques we have discussed for PPM. Whether these portfolios require the rigor used for PPM is dependent on the risk and the importance to the firm. In any case, all require an occasional inventory evaluation, gap assessment, planning for enhancement and alignment with the Project Portfolio.
- Inventory evaluation: An example of an inventory of the firm’s competency is the employee skills matrix, laying out the level of expertise your employees possess in various critical areas (such as expert level analog IC design or Java software development). The simple act of taking an inventory of your current assets in technology, process and competency is tremendously revealing. It will open your eyes to the strengths and weaknesses of your firm. You might be surprised at the hidden gems, overlooked and taken for granted that may be unleashed to your advantage. Or you may finally realize some of your major shortcomings that have prevented you from successfully competing in the past. Perhaps you can benefit from more cross-training to improve flexibility and response time. This is a snap-shot in time of the technology, process and competency in your firm. But it will be used to plan for the future, and a successful execution of the firm’s strategy.
- Gap assessment: Having the inventory evaluation in hand, and with an eye toward the corporate and product strategy, you can begin to develop a gap assessment. This assessment will be iterative with the PPM process and essential in the planning and alignment with the project portfolio.
- Planning and Alignment: Roadmaps can and should be developed for all major elements of success in the implementation of the firm’s strategy. In addition to the product roadmap(s), the firms should develop and manage to roadmaps in technology, process and competency. These roadmaps must show strong linkage to the prodect roadmaps. For example, elements in the process roadmap may include the development of key suppliers for essential materials. It may include a new inventory control process and a set of tools. It may include the ability to automate large parts of the factory. The risk assigned to the entire corporate strategy is not illuminated completely unless careful thought is given to these necessary underpinnings, the timing needed for their roll-out, the cost of their development and the impact on the product roadmaps of any failure in these supporting roadmaps.
Developing a robust PPM process requires linkage with other tiered portfolios. Your technology portfolio, process portfolio and competency portfolios (and potentially others important to your firm) will inform and be informed by your PPM process. Only in this way can you prepare well ahead of the need for the required elements of your project plans.