Portfolio Management

A subsidiary of a large semiconductor manufacturer was experiencing recurring delays on important projects, while less important projects were going live in the same time frame. Some business executives felt IT was playing favorites by allocating resources to some groups at the same time that other groups were being told that no budget or developers were available for their initiatives.

The VP of Application Development asked Artizen to untangle the problem. We worked closely together to create a process that insured IT was working on the right projects and was not overcommitting. That meant helping the client to create a combined business and IT governance body, to make an annual IT program roadmap and to build a portfolio management process.

We began at the beginning, with IT Governance.

The first step was to ensure that support existed for an executive-level governance body to set project priorities and make decisions about budget and resource allocation. An Executive Steering Committee (ESC) was formed, comprising members from both the business side and the IT side. A charter was defined and a formal process was established for project initiation and approval. All IT projects costing more than $150,000 would now require approval by the ESC. In addition, programs could come before the ESC only after evaluation based on a standardized business case and a strategic alignment analysis.

We then helped establish an IT Program roadmap. First, an annual planning process put program prioritization in the hands of the ESC. Then and only then IT resources were allocated based on priority. IT teams then completed a capacity plan to ensure that the roadmap was realistic. And every quarter, the roadmap was updated to clarify changing priorities, consider new programs and adjust cost and resource estimates as programs progressed through their life cycle.

Finally, we defined the tools, processes and new job responsibilities for managing the portfolio of programs. This at last allowed the client to manage the pipeline of new programs, bring them to the appropriate governance body for approval, monitor status and budget as programs are executed, conduct effective program closeout and evaluate program value realization.

Artizen provided thought leadership and realistic guidance based on long experience with similar efforts. We also recommended the right tools, templates, processes and job responsibilities needed to make the program successful.

Today all parties have complete transparency into how and why priorities are set. The executive team is fully informed and has a voice in the decision-making process. And throughout the company, there is dramatic improvement in trust and support for all projects and services that IT delivers.