Yesterday I wrote a post in which I detailed some of the benefits enjoyed by companies using IT service management, particularly service catalogs, and project portfolio management (PPM). I got a comment from management consultant Vaughan Merlyn, an EVP with collaboration software provider nGenera, who pointed me to an excellent post he had written on common mistakes in IT portfolio management.
He listed several mistakes:
I think it's instructive to look at Motorola's actions during its adoption of an IT portfolio management strategy, a three-year initiative that changed the way its IT organization delivered services to the rest of the company. Motorola human resources executive Keith Leust wrote a three-part series of articles on the effort. I've linked to part two here because of the passage on governance, which can be found near the end of the piece. Parts one and three are worth a read as well.
Leust described how Motorola began managing its investment in key initiatives, projects and programs on a global basis. "This enables the organization to monitor investment of valuable resources, minimize duplication of efforts, and determine how to leverage programs across businesses," he wrote, benefits that should sound familiar to advocates of PPM.
Gartner analyst Daniel Stang stressed the importance of the right governance structure in a PPM strategy when I interviewed him in June for a story about the city of Tacoma's (Wash.) implementation of PPM. Stang suggested the business, rather than IT, should drive governance, although IT should communicate regularly with business units and help them "rationalize (and re-prioritize) investment plans while considering the resource constraints of time, people, and money."
Because PPM requires a fundamental shift in the way many IT organizations operate, it isn't easy -- at least not at first. Said Bradd Busick, manager of Tacoma's Project Management and Administration Office:
When you've walked long enough with a broken leg, you learn to accommodate with a limp. If you have to re-break the leg, is there pain associated with it? Yes. Organizational transition can be painful.