Portfolio Management- Can you achieve more with less?
This leaves many financial services firms in the uncomfortable situation of having an ever increasing change demand to satisfy from their available pool of change capability and technology infrastructure capacity supply.
Often the pressure to address the needs of competing priorities will result in below par delivered process or system changes.
Firms can be left with poor quality process which impacts on customer experience and service delivery, while the vicious circle of change demand grows in order to address new system defects and operational efficiency change.
Is there a simple way to balance the change agenda demand or achieve more with less?
The short answer is no, however there are a number of principles that if adopted, can help to leverage more from existing budgets and inform decision making around bigger priorities for delivery.
Establishing a balanced between (i) strategic design, (ii) change priorities and (iii) function or systems dependencies – This can help determine options for the business, make priority calls on dependencies and de-risk or de-scope unnecessary change and enhances assumption management techniques – Typically, this works well from a ‘top down’ perspective (e.g. regulatory portfolio) and can create more transparency covering ‘strategic view/design – change co-ordination – portfolio controlling (with dependencies)’ for all major programmes.
Understanding your risk appetite throughout the portfolio – Based on the risk profile (i.e. the risks you face as a result of your business activities) and appetite (e.g. tolerances, buffers and limits) of the firm, understand the types of risk associated with the portfolio as a whole or at least in relation to ‘top priority’ programmes impacting the business objectives and customers alike.
Create the right forums with accountable decision maker – getting the right people together and providing them with the correct information to allow them to a) make informed decisions b) escalate to a more senior decision forum, will help formulate a process and guidelines for decision making.
Understanding the critical path to delivery – in an environment where change is fast paced and the demand for change is continually growing is it too easy to become reactive when making decisions. Having a proactive approach by understanding the critical path, particularly of technology change, and how end to end delivery needs/should be phased will help create a sound agenda for decision making forums.
Whilst there is no simple answer to balance the change agenda, ensuring the right people have the right information to help them make informed decisions will go a long way to solving the problem.