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18 05, 2017

Prioritizing Projects: Advanced Portfolio Management II (5 of 5)

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:58+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

This is the fifth and final post in our series on doing more portfolio management with less project data. You’ll find the whole series here.

Data needed at each level of portfolio management. The only required data are the three items in the orange Beginner box. How much further you go depends on your people, your portfolio, and your goals. See the first post in this series for more information.

Prioritizing Projects: Advanced Portfolio Management II

Once you’ve collected project information and gathered some information about project value, whether through a simple scoring process or in the form of complex financial metrics, you have enough information to build a prioritization (what we call a “bang-for-the-buck curve”)—see below for an example. This analysis is helpful for prioritizing projects in terms of value for money. Our video on project prioritization has all the lurid details on prioritization methods, best practices, and pitfalls. (more…)

18 05, 2017

Driving Portfolio Value: Advanced Portfolio Management (4 of 5)

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:58+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

This is the fourth post in our series on doing more portfolio management with less project data. You’ll find the whole series here.

Data needed at each level of portfolio management. The only required data are the three items in the orange Beginner box. How much further you go depends on your people, your portfolio, and your goals. See the first post in this series for more information.

Driving Portfolio Value: Advanced Portfolio Management

At this point, you’ve managed to collect key data about all of your projects and created some visualizations that show how those projects measure up against strategic goals and budgets. In other words, you have a good idea of what you are doing. But how do you figure out what you should be doing? That’s advanced portfolio management, and it begins with a clear picture of the value of your projects.

Not everything you work on will be of highest value, and therefore not everything you work on will be highest priority. Valuing your projects will help you prioritize projects and (perhaps more importantly) provide teams with a common understanding of the value each initiative is expected to deliver. The key word here is expected—at least initially, you don’t know if every project will live up to your expectations. For this post, we’ll put aside methods for estimating risk and focus on a few methods for calculating a best guess at likely value. There are a large number of approaches for estimating project value, so many that they represent a continuum of approaches, from simplest and broadest to most sophisticated and detailed, rather than a list. Here, I’ve highlighted a few points on that continuum. (more…)

18 05, 2017

It’s Going to Cost You: Intermediate Portfolio Management (3 of 5)

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:58+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

This is the third post in our series on doing more portfolio management with less project data. You’ll find the whole series here.

Data needed at each level of portfolio management. The only required data are the three items in the orange Beginner box. How much further you go depends on your people, your portfolio, and your goals. See the first post in this series for more information.

It’s Going to Cost You: Intermediate Portfolio Management

Beginning portfolio management is all about finding out what you have. Cost is the next frontier; after all, portfolio management is tricky (and necessary) because you have more to do than your people, facilities, and funds allow. Determining cost is not just about collecting receipts and purchase orders; it’s a complex set of questions about what’s currently being spent and what’s likely to be spent based on the forecasted needs of projects in progress and projects the company would like to take on. At this stage, portfolio management can help answer a range of questions about cost:

  • How much are you spending on each project in the current budget cycle?
  • What is the spending forecast by budget cycle through the life of each project, up to and including launch/completion?
  • What are the skills (or specific people) needed for each project? When will they be needed and for how long?

Answering these questions requires a variety of data sets, from relatively easy-to-acquire data about current spending to complex forecasts about project needs. All of it is valuable. Even the first level—a simple estimate of current spending for each project—will help you assess the alignment of resources with strategic goals and better understand where your people, funds, and attention are focused. (more…)

18 05, 2017

Getting Started: Beginning Portfolio Management (2 of 5)

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:58+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

This is the second post in our series on doing more portfolio management with less project data. You’ll find the whole series here.


Data needed at each level of portfolio management. The only required data are the three items in the orange Beginner box. How much further you go depends on your people, your portfolio, and your goals. See the first post in this series for more information.

Getting Started: Beginning Portfolio Management

If you’re just starting out in portfolio management, the first step is compiling a list of your company’s active projects. This foundation will get you on the right track for basic portfolio management. Simply compiling this master list will lead to portfolio-enhancing conversations with your management team as you identify projects that can be combined, deferred, or shut down altogether.

But building a master list for the first time will require persistence. Don’t send out a spreadsheet and expect a crystal-clear list of all initiatives to arrive in your inbox. Ferreting out every project is deceptively difficult. Some projects are higher profile than others; many companies have a large number of under-the-radar, skunkworks projects, and even zombie projects that have been formally canceled—sometimes more than once—yet somehow refuse to die. You might also encounter more than a few redundant projects. Getting to all this information generally requires a combination of top-down assessments (where you ask each division or department to list its ongoing initiatives) and bottom-up investigative work (where you canvass teams to find out what they are working on day to day). Taken together, the dossiers you build from these two sources will produce a complete picture of what is ongoing at your firm. (more…)

15 05, 2017

Portfolio Management for Everyone: Getting Value and Building Capability (1 of 5)

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:58+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

It’s a familiar refrain from the project and portfolio managers we talk to: “These portfolio views are amazing, but there is no way we have the data to use Enrich Analytics.” We LOVE hearing this, because we can respond with good news: You probably have enough information to leverage our tools and gain big insights into your portfolio’s alignment with strategy, and you might even have enough to prioritize your initiatives. In fact, you can get some value from Enrich’s powerful cloud-based platforms no matter what data you have. This post is the first in a series that summarizes the data you need for basic, intermediate, and advanced portfolio management. The figure below captures the key data sets as you build maturity in using Enrich’s platform and in developing your portfolio analysis process.

Data needed at each level of portfolio management. The only requirements to get started are the three items in the orange Beginner box. How much further you go depends on your people, your portfolio, and your goals.

Everything in the orange Beginner box is essential. You can’t get your portfolio initiative off the ground without those pieces, so start there. Within the Intermediate and Advanced sections, you can pick and choose what suits your needs; the left-most options are the easiest to collect—those on the right are progressively more difficult (but also likely to pay deeper dividends). The Advanced section is divided into two groups, capturing two different kinds of value-based criteria: scores and market/financial metrics. I’ve separated them because some companies are metric-averse, preferring a scoring model, and others rely almost exclusively on metrics. The right answer for a given portfolio depends on the company’s culture, portfolio content, and strategic objectives.

We developed this series of posts as an alternative to the other “how-to-PPM” guides available on the interwebs today, which tend to suggest that all or nothing is the only way. Our goal is to make portfolio management more accessible to more companies by demystifying it—and showing just how little information is really needed to get substantial value from a simple portfolio process. This series focuses on the data required at each step because so much of the resistance we’ve seen to portfolio management involves data acquisition. We hear, over and over again, “Nobody has time to provide it and nobody believes what we’ve compiled.” We think our stepwise approach, by making the process manageable, can help a lot of companies get started. (more…)

4 01, 2017

Resolve to Innovate in 2017!

By | 2017-02-11T23:10:30+00:00 January 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Before getting down to business becomes business as usual, take a few minutes and consider how to improve R&D planning and decision making at your company. Here are a few of our favorite resolutions:

What are your resolutions for R&D and innovation management? Let us know!

From all of us at Enrich, we wish you a happy and productive new year!

19 09, 2016

Upcoming Innovation and PPM Conferences

By | 2017-02-11T23:06:56+00:00 September 19th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

It’s time to network and share best-practices!

 

The next six months is high season for conferences, and Enrich is excited to sponsor eight different events across North America and Europe between now and March 2017. While we recommend all of these conferences as excellent opportunities to network, learn from your peers, and share your own wisdom on innovation and portfolio management, we recognize that’s not possible for many people. We’ve provided some context on each one to help you pick and choose those that best match your interests. Hope to see you at some of these events! Questions? Want to meet up and talk shop? Drop us a line.

October 2-3, Amsterdam: Unleashing Innovation by Global Executive. We attended the US edition of this conference in the spring, and were impressed with the breadth and depth of topics covered. It’s a great cross-industry conference exploring how mature companies innovate.

October 6-7, Berlin: Medical Devices 3P Forum by EBCG. This will be our first time attending this conference and the fourth year it has been held. Last year’s conference attracted 120 participants and this year’s promises to be well-attended as well.

October 17-19, Chicago: Member Summit by the Industrial Research Institute. This members-only cross-industry conferences is always full of terrific presentations from experts across a wide range of topics, including project & portfolio management.

November 2-4, Philadelphia: Strategic Resource Management and Portfolio Management by Cambridge Healthtech. This is the biggest life sciences event we attend in North America and one we’ve attended for over a decade. Usually there are 125-175 attendees at these back-to-back events, with a majority attending both of them. When you bring the resource planning and portfolio people together at one venue, good conversations ensue.

November 17-18, Miami: Medical Device Portfolio Management by EBCG. The U.S. cousin of the Berlin conference being held in October, this one tends to draw more North American attendees than its European twin.

February 1-2, San Francisco: Project & Portfolio Management for Pharma and Biotech by Fleming. We’re returning to this conference for it’s focus on strategic portfolio management. We also love that it’s close to our headquarters!

February 9-10, Jersey City: Pharma PPM Toolbox by EBCG. The inaugural conference was held earlier this year was excellent, full of interesting speakers and great networking opportunities. We look forward to the next edition, again just a PATH train away from Manhattan.

March 2-3, London: Pharmaceutical PPM Toolbox by EBCG. What continues to be the best portfolio management conference in Europe moves to London this year. EBCG brings together 150+ delegates from leading life sciences companies all over Europe for an extremely well-run event.

22 06, 2016

Managing Constraints Effectively with the Right Resource Planning Software

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:59+00:00 June 22nd, 2016|Blog|2 Comments

Watch a three-minute overview of the Enrich Analytics features discussed in this case study.

Growth is a good thing—it means larger market share, more profit, greater reach. But it also brings challenges, as a company struggles to allocate resources to support growth without over-committing itself. A rapidly growing pharmaceutical company faced exactly this dilemma: the company was consistently missing project milestones due to chronic staffing shortfalls. Multiple project teams were competing for the same key staff members, and it seemed like people with the needed skills and expertise were always in short supply. Complicating matters further, a changing regulatory landscape meant project timelines were fluid, but schedules couldn’t be shifted easily because of the staffing shortages. Ultimately, this confluence of factors was negatively affecting the bottom line.

More staffing was needed, obviously, and the management team had plans to address it, by adding 30 percent more FTEs in the coming year. Even that, though, wasn’t as simple as it seemed: the project management organization (PMO) couldn’t formulate guidance regarding the key positions that should be hired first, because project schedules were maintained in individual MS Project files while FTE forecasts were in a separate cost-tracking system. As a result, it was hard to visualize the aggregate resource demand across all projects and across the different skill sets. Moreover, the resource availability data was located in a spreadsheet belonging to HR, structured at the individual FTE level.

All of this fragmented data storage meant the PMO couldn’t easily tell where resource shortfalls were developing. When development plans changed, the team couldn’t assess quickly whether the right FTEs would be available to execute the new schedule and how other projects would be affected.

To address these issues, and help clarify where and when additional staffing resources would be needed, the company turned to Enrich and the Enrich Analytics Platform. (more…)

18 05, 2016

Project Metrics: What’s Behind the Numbers?

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:59+00:00 May 18th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

We’re often asked, “What’s the best metric for portfolio management?” Executives and managers who oversee new product portfolios want one metric that will tell them, and their superiors, how their portfolios and the initiatives within them are doing. They want one indicator they can rely upon, whether in formal portfolio reviews or informal discussions. But there is no one right metric for all companies or  all types of portfolios. In some cases, net present value nicely summarizes the financial case for each opportunity. In others, a simpler metric such as market size is useful (and may be all that is available anyway). Still other portfolios are best assessed using attractiveness scores rather than  any hard financial criteria at all.

a billion dollar project

Don’t judge this book by its cover; take a look inside!

There is one common thread across all these situations: As the cover of a book hints at what hides within, a metric provides a glimpse into fundamental outlines—the potential value, cost, and risk—of an initiative. And just as it is hasty to judge a book by its cover, a metric is not a replacement for a deeper description or fuller assessment.

So when the metric tantalizes (or raises concerns), where should you turn for more information? (more…)

6 04, 2016

Using EAP’s Project Prioritization Software to Allocate Technology Investments

By | 2017-05-23T15:41:59+00:00 April 6th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

We’ve talked elsewhere about how EAP can provide sophisticated strategic resource planning and capacity planning. In those cases, the concerns were mostly around staffing—making sure key projects had the right people at the right time and anticipating and addressing staffing shortages. But other resources can benefit from this approach as well. Money, for instance—always needed and often in short supply. EAP’s strategic portfolio planning capabilities can help you figure out the best way to deploy a defined budget. The process isn’t far different from the kind of holistic portfolio review we generally advocate, but it is tailored to accommodate the strictures of a budget-driven R&D program.

Funding a Six-year Plan

One of our clients had a particularly well-defined investment cycle. Because it was federally funded, the organization worked on a six-year funding schedule. Each year, the government provided a budget detailing how much money would be available to the organization in each of the coming six years. With that information in hand, the organization’s yearly portfolio review involved prioritizing its technology initiatives and determining which ones it could afford to support given the promised funding. In the ideal process, the organization would create a plan for the entire funding period, which would then be updated and adjusted each year to account for the actual progress made by each initiative as well as changes in the actual funding, and then extended as the six-year plan rolled forward.

(more…)