Project Execution Solutions: Analysis / Vision / Roadmap (AVR)
Updated November 11th, 2021
In previous posts, we covered the Strategy and Execution processes necessary to succeed, but just knowing these isn’t sufficient. You also need a process for change so that you can achieve those strategic and actionable ideals.
Different Layers of Mission and Vision
For the purposes of this series, we will refer to three layers of Mission and Vision, with each layer having its own major process groups, or nested methodology. In order to make clear which layer we are referring to, we have broken them down into different levels, as shown below.
There is a Mission and Vision that the organization as a whole is striving toward. This makes up Level 1, or the Organizational Layer.
You execute the Organizational Vision through Project Portfolio Management (PPM), which is Level 2 or the Project Layer.
Finally, there is a methodology for improving how your organization changes. This is a project whose objective is improving projects, or the Project-Project Layer. This meta-layer is Level 3.
The AVR Process
In order to achieve the Level 1 Vision, you must dedicate a subset of the portfolio to a series of initiatives to define and build the appropriate PPM structure to enable the delivery of the Vision. A traditional gap analysis customizes solutions to the structural problem to define an appropriate approach to ensure that the portfolio is defined, managed, and delivered as expected.
The best practice for a custom gap analysis is built upon a three-phase initiative:
- Assess the current state,
- Define your desired future state, and
- Build a business strategy (a plan for change) that will bridge the gap between the two.
This Analysis-Vision-Roadmap initiative is the “Project Project,” or Meta-Layer. The “Vision” in this case is not the overall Organizational Vision that has been discussed hitherto in this paper; rather, it is the Level 3 Vision for improving the PPM Layer, which will in turn enable the organization to reach its greater Vision.
1. Current State Assessment (Analysis)
The current state assessment is as much about evaluating the business environment as it is about examining your own organization. Given the conditions of the economic climate and goals of the Organizational Vision and Strategy, what types of organizations are going to survive? What qualities will have an advantage? Which of these essential qualities is your organization lacking?
The Current State Assessment primarily focuses on understanding the status of a list of relevant disciplines that comprise the practice of PPM:
- Project Management Tools
- Quality Assurance
- Cost Management
- Scope Management
- Resource Capacity (Project / Enterprise)
- Schedule Management
- Communications Management
- Risk & Issue Management
- Knowledge Management
- Project / Portfolio Governance
- Professional Development
- Methodology Management
The answers you collect from this assessment should provide a situational awareness of where the starting point. This provides crucial context as the PPM Vision is determined. Organizational self-awareness is a virtue that allows you to know what you can really expect when the roadmap is constructed. Organizational Change should happen incrementally, happening in feasible leaps. Below is a Maturity Model for incrementally improving an organization’s enterprise management.
In our next post, we cover step two of Analysis / Vision / Roadmap: Defining the desired future state.
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The process actually resembles a sort of intelligent design. In the current state assessment, you’ve researched the climate, know what resources are available, and are familiar with what types of organization are the fittest for the environment. Now you can move forward with an end state in mind.
To continue with the biology analogy, this is where you decide whether you should have fur or not? Or are conditions are so volatile that those with clothing will be the only survivors of the climate? What diet ought you employ? Do you need to acquire largesse to become king of your domain? Or is it more sustainable to be small and dependent on a smaller access to resources?
The Three Step Approach
The necessary traits for the organization are determined through collaboration with PPM experts combined with the organization-specific context, often represented by the portfolio management team of the organization
- Review the current state of maturity,
- Define a feasible Vision,
To clarify, we are not talking about the organizational vision, but rather the vision of this particular project–ie: the project to improve projects, or the “Project Project.” See our introductory post on organizational layers for more clarification.
An organization should have a plan for change to get to each level of the maturity process. If the current state is Level 1, then the future state should not be a fully-adopted, highly rigorous resource management capability. The below graphics demonstrate a more attainable approach to Organizational Change Management.
- Develop a “mini portfolio” initiatives, i.e. the Roadmap. This describes the series of changes that will be necessary to deliver an optimized Level 2 methodology.
3. Defining the roadmap to an optimal future state
Once you know where you are and where you would like to be, you need to decide how you will get there. That is, you need to develop a plan for change.
- Determine the initiatives that will be necessary to deliver the Project-Project Vision,
- Define a “project charter” for each initiative,
- Prioritize and Sequence the initiative,
- Provide governance oversight of the “mini portfolio” to ensure the Vision is delivered.
The final deliverable will be the Roadmap. This plan for change then needs to be Implemented and fully Adopted in the organization. This leads us into the overall process for organization improvement: the Vision – Implement – Adopt (VIA) Methodology. You can learn more about that process here.
To see our post on project execution challenges, click here.