Blog

/Blog
5 09, 2018

Is Sunk Cost Thinking Dooming Your Innovation Portfolio?

By |2018-09-05T16:00:14+00:00September 5th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Photo: Manivasagan N, https://www.dtnext.in

I’ve written many times that portfolio management is about change: changing attitudes, changing tactics, and changing how you invest your limited funds and focus your talented teams. We all know change is difficult, leading us away from a known environment and into an unknown future. But the issue at hand is more than a simple case of the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t.

Sunk cost thinking makes change even more challenging. Once we are working on a project our tendency, as humans, is to keep working on it. This remains true even when we are faced with mounting evidence that the project outcome will not live up to our expectations. We all have an innate tendency to look backwards (at what we’ve invested) while we look forwards (and decide how much more to invest), and this leads us to limit our options time and time again. Consider these individual examples (collected in the fantastic book¬†Essentialism by Greg McKeown): (more…)

29 08, 2018

Manage risks, but don’t eliminate them

By |2018-08-29T20:43:26+00:00August 29th, 2018|Blog|3 Comments

Wait, what? When is it bad to eliminate risks? Many companies we speak with are keen to score their portfolio of initiatives across a number of dimensions like:

  • Strategic fit
  • Market value
  • Development cost
  • Technical risk
  • Commercial risk

So far so good. The process goes awry when teams, seduced by the idea of simplicity, distill all the dimensions into a single score for each project. High strategic fit and market value are “good” and increase the score, while high cost and risk are “bad” and reduce the score.

And therein lies the problem. This single score approach will always reward low-cost, low-risk projects. Likely outcomes of prioritizing by this single score include: (more…)

8 08, 2018

Comparing and Contrasting with Waterfall Charts

By |2018-08-08T15:31:20+00:00August 8th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

We’ve mentioned waterfall charts in several blog posts, notably posts that focus on scenario and variance analysis. Because we have a number of different ways to generate waterfall views within Enrich Analytics, creating a video that describes ‘all the waterfalls’ has been on our to-do list for some time.

You can see the video for yourself, below. It’s a good refresher, even for those who have used the Enrich Analytics Platform or Enrich Viewport for years. (more…)

19 07, 2018

Two bar charts you’re probably not using to understand your portfolio

By |2018-07-19T09:29:19+00:00July 19th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

If I asked you to fill in this blank: Portfolio management uses many ________ charts. You’d probably shout “bubble!” without hesitation. Indeed, frontier charts, pipeline charts, and risk vs. reward charts all effectively employ scatter and bubble charts to describe your portfolio.

But the humble bar chart is no slouch when you’re looking for portfolio insights. In this post I’ll give you two examples you might not be using today. If you already use Enrich Viewport or the Enrich Analytics Platform, then this two-minute video will explain how you can build them, too.

I often say that portfolio management is about value and balance: the value in your portfolio should be aligned with corporate goals across technology platforms, market segments, innovation levels, and even over time (short-term vs. long-term). In order to achieve those goals, the proportions of spending across these dimensions should be set with care so that you ‘place your bets’ to maximize your chances for success.

With this in mind, any chart that helps you see how much you’re spending across technologies, divisions, etc. and also how that spending aligns with anticipated value across those dimensions would be very useful indeed. Enter the contribution analysis! (more…)

27 06, 2018

Winners vs. Whiners

By |2018-06-27T23:15:12+00:00June 27th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Are you picking winners in your product portfolio or picking whiners? What might sound like a silly question has a very serious foundation: in company after company we observe funding going to projects supported by the most vocal, politically-savvy, or persistent leaders. Meanwhile, those projects best aligned with strategy or those developing novel technologies, markets, and business models are left behind.

Here are three best practices that help companies make hard decisions that consistently bolster long-term growth prospects.

  1. Have an actionable strategy
  2. Collect more than metrics on each opportunity
  3. Practice transparent, data-driven decision making

(more…)

15 05, 2018

One Page Portfolio Management

By |2018-05-16T12:39:08+00:00May 15th, 2018|Blog|2 Comments

We’re often asked for a 35,000 foot view of portfolio management, something that doesn’t delve into every detail, but helps explain to newcomers what portfolio management is about when distilled to its essence. In this blog post we offer up a response to that common question: a one-page flow chart that summarizes the activities of R&D portfolio management.

Keep in mind that we’ve striven to avoid a diagram that includes every contingency because, well, that wouldn’t be helpful as a visual. A few details worth mentioning:

  • We’ve streamlined the flow considerably. In reality there are feedback loops everywhere, and some steps require days/weeks/months of preparation, depending on the specifics of your portfolio.
  • We’ve glossed over the complexities of role-based planning vs. simple budgeting. Dollars and Euros may be fungible, but medicinal chemists can’t be replaced by bioreactor engineers.
  • The distinction of when to prioritize vs. when to optimize isn’t as black-and-white as we portray here. In fact, in the right hands both tools can be used on the same portfolio to deftly explore the possible funding options you might want to present to executives.
  • You may not have a portfolio ‘problem’: If you have committed all your funds, or you have far more funds than you do projects to fund, you may not have many decisions to make.

(more…)

2 05, 2018

Introducing BEAM

By |2018-05-02T08:46:47+00:00May 2nd, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

A few years ago Beau Bush of Ozmosi and I were assessing tools for competitive intelligence in life sciences. Despite the crowded field, we felt no one had ‘cracked the code’ and provided the ultimate experience for exploration and analysis of global clinical trials data.

Today I’m super excited to share BEAM with you, our cloud-based clinical trials database and analysis tool, co-developed with Ozmosi. We see four key benefits to BEAM over existing products: (more…)

16 04, 2018

Upcoming Portfolio Management Conferences

By |2018-04-16T22:20:25+00:00April 16th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Conferences provide an opportunity to network with your peers, learn about best-practices, and realize that we all face common challenges when making tough portfolio decisions.

Once upon a time, portfolio and resource planning conferences were a seasonal affair, with options available throughout the fall. Now there are events year-round; even if they are all on the East Coast. Here’s our tally of conferences taking place for the rest of 2018.

Fleming’s Project & Portfolio Management for Pharma and Biotech will take place May 22-23 in Philadelphia. Fleming runs a good conference, with panel discussions and lots of networking time.

Fast on its heels, the EBCG Medical Device 3P Forum is happening in Berlin on May 24-25. This is one of the few portfolio events that focuses on medical devices, and is a great place to network with others managing R&D portfolios in the device industry.

Looking for a conference in the summer? Q1Productions’ Pharmaceutical Portfolio Management Optimization is taking place July 23-24 in Philadelphia.

CHI’s Portfolio and Strategic Resource Management conference will take place in Philadelphia October 22-24. This conference is over three days, enabling deeper treatment of both PPM and PMO issues.

Did we miss one? Let us know and we’ll add it.

4 03, 2018

Use Variance Analysis to Identify Key Portfolio Changes

By |2018-03-04T22:38:20+00:00March 4th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Variance analysis is a common tool in financial analysis, helping teams compare the cost forecasts and schedules to actual values. In portfolio management, variance analysis is used not only for cost and schedule comparison, but also to track changes in project and portfolio forecasts of value over time.

We’ve written about these features in the Enrich Analytics product suite before in an earlier blog post. Today we’re releasing a video that provides a great overview of the variance reporting features available in both Enrich Viewport and the Enrich Analytics Platform. Let us know what our next video should cover!

11 09, 2017

Scenario Analysis is Easy with Enrich Analytics

By |2018-03-04T22:34:54+00:00September 11th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

In our latest video, we showcase how easy it is to compare projects and portfolios with Enrich Viewport and the Enrich Analytics Platform. The video covers:

  1. When scenario analysis should be used
  2. How to compare projects head-to-head
  3. How to compare portfolios head-to-head
  4. Using a waterfall diagram to summarize differences between two portfolios
  5. Tricks for selecting and deselecting subsets of a portfolio

Even longtime users of Enrich Analytics will benefit from the tips outlined in the video. We look forward to your comments!

PS: Looking for more on scenario analysis? Check out these related blog posts: