What happened to all of those good ideas?
Having constraints of limited resources, of limited time, and quite possibly of limited intelligence (!) is an ever-present reality that requires all of us to make decisions about what to do with the time and money that we have. This basic fact of life applies to individuals, to families, to small businesses, to multi-national corporations and to every business unit in the public and private sector.
No one is given a pass.
If we don’t proactively manage our time and resources we risk missing good opportunities – or worse – wasting what we have at our disposal.
Project Portfolio Management
Ensure that resources are assigned in the best way to facilitate timely delivery of the highest-priority projects
In today’s business terminology, PPM is the structured process an organization follows to identify opportunities, to determine how those opportunities align with the organization’s strategy, and to analyze their cost-benefit. Potential projects are prioritized and an agreed-upon governance process is followed to approve selected projects for funding. The portfolio of all active projects is continuously monitored against the constantly changing landscape of possibilities versus risks in order to ensure that resources are assigned in the best way to facilitate timely delivery of the highest-priority projects.
Many organizations have recognized the importance of establishing a structure with processes and tools that make sense in their context to identify, analyze, filter and select opportunities to fund as projects that hopefully will produce desired outcomes.
Fewer organizations have a structured process to systematically capture, assess and refine ideas, nurturing them to the point of being added to the mix of initiatives included in the PPM process.
Project Portfolio Management
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
Ideas are the conceptual “raw materials” that lead to new products, new services, improvements in operations and cost reductions. Perhaps the greatest intellectual capital that an organization has is the knowledge and insight of its workforce and customer base. However unless there is a mechanism for collecting their insights and suggestions, those ideas go uncaptured and are consequently unavailable for serious consideration.
Why not extend the front end of the PPM process to include idea management, incorporating appropriate tools so the best ideas can be matured into actionable projects? An organized process and structure can help ensure that all those good ideas won’t get lost, but will create value.
Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel prizes, said “the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” The initial goal ought to be to collect a lot of ideas, engaging people from all parts of the organization as well as people external to the organization. Some of the most valuable suggestions come from those who are close to the action, so we shouldn’t be relying only on management to come up with the best ideas that will drive change.
Once ideas are collected, the challenge is to filter them, ensuring they are applicable to the organization’s need and that they align with its strategy. Pick the best ones, give more substance to them, and develop those ideas into something that offers value.
Now, what are we going to do with that good idea?