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How to Drive Value When Nothing Is Going Right

The coronavirus pandemic has taught organizations that they need a way to deliver valuable project successes even when nothing is going as planned.

It takes a solid foundation of metrics and a sound approach to knowing what initiatives can get done and what are the best to do, even when half the workforce doesn’t show up. Resource management and portfolio management are the proven scientific methods for achieving just that.

Resource management is the process of collecting demand and capacity so that an organization can maximize on its resources without overworking anyone. When the capacity lags, can you simply extend the project to fit the workload with the people you’ve got on hand? Or are so many people out sick for so long that the project needs to go on hold? In that case, is there something you can do with the remaining capacity?

Portfolio management answers that last question. Sports are all about having a “next man up” mentality when there’s an injury. Similarly, you can have a “next project up” approach when putting projects on hold. If your organization has a portfolio selection process, then there were likely competing elements.

Maybe you can string together enough capacity from enough stalled projects to get something else done ahead of schedule. Maybe there’s a project that wasn’t selected at all for the portfolio, but it’s the highest priority given the new circumstances.

In any case, this isn’t something that can be done retroactively. Resource and portfolio management require the infrastructure and competency in place ahead of time. By the time you need resource and portfolio management, the damage may already be done.

It’s not about fixing past damage so much as getting ahead of what’s around the corner. There will likely be another wave in the fall. After flu season comes vacation season then hurricane season, and so on. This is but one eventuality that your organization needs to be prepared for with a sound, scientific approach.

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