First Things First Putting Project Prioritization Before Project Management Suzanne Bonefas, ACS Technology Center Robert M. Johnson, Jr., Rhodes College
Introduction • The power of emotional appeals in resource allocation decisions creates its own cost. • Many campuses look to project management as a way to get better value from their projects or to limit cost and time overruns.
Project Management: • has become more than an art but also a science. • focuses on doing things right, stressing efficiency and organization. • doesn’t do the whole job.
Why Project Prioritization? It’s not enough to do things right, one must also be sure of doing the right things. For that we need a framework and process for project prioritization.
Framework for Discussion—Christensen’s RPV Framework • Clayton M. Christensen, Seeing What’s Next (2004) • RPV=“Resources, Processes, and Values.” • An organization’s resources, processes, and values affect, if not determine, “what an organization can and cannot do.”
Christensen’s RPV Framework --Resources • “Resources are the most visible of the factors that contribute to what an organization can and cannot do.” • All assets, including people, equipment, relationships, $$$ • They are both valuable and flexible • Easiest to assess, but don’t tell the whole story of an organization’s capabilities
Christensen’s RPV Framework --Processes • “Organizations create value as employees transform inputs of resources into products and services of greater worth. The patterns of interaction, coordination, communication, and decision making through which they accomplish these transformations are processes…” • Processes are inherently inflexible. • Balance between flexibility (ability to change) and efficiency.
Christensen’s RPV Framework --Values • Values in this framework refer to the strategic interests and directions of an organization • All employees should understand the organization’s values in order to make good decisions about project prioritization and day-to-day operations. • “A key metric of good management, in fact, is whether such clear and consistent values have permeated the organization.”
Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization 1 • Values—Reaffirm Them! • Christensen writes: “An organization's values are the criteria by which employees make decisions about priorities”
Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization2 • Processes—Reengineer Them! • Christensen writes: “Organizations create value as employees transform inputs of resources into products and services of greater worth. The patterns of interaction, coordination, communication, and decision making through which they accomplish these transformations are processes.” • To reengineer processes, first understand your organizational culture!
Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization3 • Resources—Redeploy Them! • Christensen writes: “Resources are the most visible of the factors that contribute to what an organization can and cannot do. Resources include people, equipment, technology, product designs, brands, information, cash, and relationships with suppliers, distributors, and customers.” • Ensure that your resources are as flexible as they need to be.
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization If Project Management is not getting you the results you need and you cannot change the inputs, then you must change the processes and do so in a way that is consistent with your culture.
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization Step 1: Assess Capacity Step 2: Assess Culture Step 3: Inventory Needs Step 4: Clarify Criteria for Valuation Step 5: Create/Adopt a Discipline Step 6: Do the Valuation! Step 7: Improve the Process REPEAT!
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • First, prepare! • Step 1: Capacity assessment • Take a snapshot of your projects and how they map onto your personnel (time), your dollars, and your skill sets • Goal of step 1 is clear understanding of how you currently expend your organizational capacity.
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • Step 2: Culture Assessment • To understand culture, ask yourself how decisions are made, budgets are set, etc. Who is involved? What is their role? (Cameron and Quinn) • Goal is to find an institutionally appropriate mode for project prioritization process (culturally acceptable process)
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • Step 3: Needs Inventory • Take inventory of each unit’s (division’s) IT needs as they relate to its operational objectives and to strategic plans. • Goal is a high-level 30,000 ft. perspective (real needs, not wish lists, to the extent possible)
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • Step 4: Clarify strategic objectives for use as valuation principles or criteria. • Where to look: strategic plans (for organization and for divisions) as well as non-codified values • For example, do you encounter the need to challenge the mentality of “keeping up with the Joneses”? • Look for tensions and inconsistencies among values and opportunities to publicly resolve these tensions (again, culture plays a role) - better understanding among customers. Some values may need to go! • Goal is a list of criteria that will be the basis for prioritization process
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • Step 5: Adopt a discipline for valuing projects • Existing disciplines, e.g. Balanced Scorecard or Project Portfolio Management • OR Simple home-grown rubrics • Goal is to create framework for making good decisions.
(Step 5 continued) Example 1: Rhodes College
(Step 5 continued) Example 2: ACSTC
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • Now, begin the process! • Step 6: Perform the valuation • Determine relationship of projects to institutional goals • Goal is to make good decisions
(Step 6 continued) Tips & Consequences • Evaluate projects in a batch – use a regular project evaluation cycle (e.g., once a term). • Know value of your assets and be able to explain it. E.g., set rates on time, check ROI, or use other payback metrics. • Assign sunset clauses based on overruns in initial cost, recurring cost, or payback failures. • Business units will get smarter and kill projects before you do.
7 Steps to Applying Christensen’s RPV Framework to Project Prioritization • Step 7: Refine the Process • Determine what you can do differently • For example: • Are there some projects you can stop now? • Are there some workers who need different jobs? • Goal is continuous improvement.
CONCLUSIONS • Project management by itself is not enough. A campus needs the disciplines of project prioritization first. • Values:Without culturally sound project prioritization disciplines, the campus community will be dissatisfied with the project management it gets, no matter how good it is. • Processes:Without sound project prioritization processes, ITS, for its part, will always be reactive rather than responsive. • Resources:Without sound project prioritization, the institution will waste its resources—money, time, and personnel-- without getting proper payback from its projects or its personnel.
RESOURCES • Cameron, K. S. & Quinn, R. E. (1999). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. • Christensen, Clayton M. “Assessing Your Organization's Innovation Capabilities, Leader to Leader.” No. 21 Summer 2001. See: www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/summer2001/christensen.html. • Henig, Peter D. “The Efficient Frontier.” CIO Insight, June, 2004, pp. 28-36. • Bob Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.orgSuzanne Bonefas, email@example.com