3 Reasons You Need Lean Portfolio Management

1. You operate in a vuca environment

VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) accurately describes the environment most organizations operate in currently. Traditional portfolio management; with it’s long cycles for budgeting, strategy, and approval has worked well enough for companies operating in relatively stable, known environments. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have that luxury today. Lean Portfolio Management provides a mechanism to reduce the concept to cash cycle time in your organization while preserving governance and managing risk.

2. You have trouble saying “No”

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

― Steve Jobs

The project approval process used by many organizations today often results in high levels of work in process across the organization, which limits focus and prevents meaningful progress from being made on any one initiative. Lean Portfolio Management provides mechanisms to limit WIP in the organization and prioritization mechanisms to ensure that the high value initiatives receive focus and attention. It helps to establish what you will say no to so that you can focus on what’s important.

3. You want to ensure execution aligns to strategy

Corporate strategy should drive execution throughout the organization, right? Then why does it feel like that seldom really happens? In many organizations, we set and socialize strategy only to realize later that many of the initiatives being worked on don’t align with strategy at all. Why is that? All too often I find that the project approval process in organizations doesn’t take strategy into account at all. As long as your department has budget available and your business case shows positive ROI above a certain threshold (no matter how questionable the underlying data is), BAM! approved! Lean portfolio management combined with tools like OKRs, can help to ensure that alignment exists in your organization between strategy and execution.