No matter how well a program or project is managed, change is inevitable, as are other emergent challenges. Program and project managers only make up part of the oversight of investments, albeit an important part. Governing planning boards and committees are another crucial element.
Business change requires regularly reassessing strategic direction, and adjusting accordingly. One of the key contributors to poor investment performance is the failure of authorizing agents to continue to actively participate in the strategic management of the programs and projects, once the decision has been made to proceed.
Once in progress, Strategic portfolios still require executive team oversight to ensure performance parameters are meeting expectations and that the work stays aligned with business needs. Roadblocks to completion may erode the expected benefits or increase risks to the point that the initiative should be cancelled. And, even if a particular program or project is going well, sometimes business conditions are such that the planned deliverable may become technically or functionally obsolete, or resources need to be shifted to a more critical priority.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the planning board to continue to be actively involved with:
- New or changing aspects of the business climate, resulting from external influences that may impact past decisions or cause shifts in priorities.
- The continued applicability of objectives and strategies as the business cycle progresses. The board should be routinely asking, “What was the basis for undertaking this effort, and is it still valid?”
- Ongoing assessment of the assumptions made around factors such as cost, time or technical considerations.
- Often new information emerges as work progresses that can have a significant impact on initial assumptions.
This best practice examines the various governing planning boards and committees required to oversee initiatives large and small, with responsibilities for each.
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