Delivering a complex Change Portfolio can often feel like spinning plates and, without the right capabilities, it can feel like doing so blindfolded. In this article, we review some of the challenges faced by one retail customer and how we helped them address these.
Our customer successfully pivoted during the COVID period from a face-to-face Auction business to one that now receives the majority of bids online. To achieve this, and deliver on their growth goals, the delivery teams grew substantially, and numerous change portfolios were being run simultaneously. However, they did not have a single enterprise Portfolio view. Following a short ‘Change Diagnostic’, the need for an effective Portfolio Management function was identified as one of the key interventions required to help the organisation deliver on its Change Transformation commitments via a properly prioritised portfolio.
Many organisations are dissatisfied with the pace of change and the predictability of delivery. Our customer had challenges due to a number of delayed key projects, resulting in commitments to their business partners not being met. Warning signs across their agile and waterfall initiatives included:
Overall, this led to a feeling of dissatisfaction on behalf of business customers and the delivery teams which undermined the good work that was being delivered.
A new Portfolio Management function was defined and implemented to address these issues. This included:
Our customer now has a much clearer view of their Change Portfolio which has significantly helped communication with business stakeholders. Steering forums have significantly improved with key decisions being discussed and agreed in these forums rather than behind closed doors.
They also have a much more robust process for initiating new change and ensuring this is a priority and that it can be delivered.
Finally, a small, experienced Portfolio Management Team has been put in place which can support this process, acting as an assurance function and as coaches to support the delivery teams.
Improvements will take time to bed in but ultimately this will allow the organisation to ensure it only promises what it can deliver and deliver successfully on those promises. They still have a challenging portfolio of change with many plates to keep spinning but at least it now has many of the right tools in place to do this successfully.
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