Laying the foundations for sustainable IT portfolio management

The Problem

Our client operates the largest contract hire fleet in Europe, with a highly customer focussed operation. The IT infrastructure and applications were ageing and many IT change initiatives were underway simultaneously. The projects were managed individually, without one single view on status, resource requirements, dependencies and impact of delays across the total IT portfolio. Although the IT portfolio was agreed in principle, there was no process or governance in place to manage and review priorities regularly. This lack of clarity had become a critical issue, as the senior IT management team was under immediate pressure to advise the Board on how to deliver the current portfolio, in light of an upcoming large IT initiative.

Our Solution

Our immediate objective was to stabilise the current IT portfolio and provide the senior management team with sufficient insight to reprioritise delivery of projects where required. At the same time, our aim was to establish good practice portfolio management and embed the processes and governance that support continuous portfolio decisions. We achieved both successfully, as we:

  • Developed a single view of all current and future IT projects.  We mapped all existing and known future IT initiatives into one model, capturing project driver, benefits, dependencies, risks, timing, resource needs and status.
  • Designed a resourcing model.  From our analysis, we observed that resourcing formed the main bottleneck in delivery of portfolio projects. We created a resourcing model, to provide a view of resource demands versus all available IT resources. We identified peaks and troughs and were able to model different options for delivery of the portfolio, whilst specifying different types of resources.
  • Facilitated immediate decisions on delivery of the current portfolio.  Once we had created a transparent view of the current state and resourcing of the portfolio, we facilitated the senior management team in considering options for the delivery of all projects. The newly prioritised portfolio was proposed to and accepted by the Board.
  • Designed and validated portfolio management processes and a governance model. In parallel to stabilising the current IT portfolio, we created processes and high-level governance around the cycle of portfolio management. We ran workshops with the entire IT management team to validate these and created an implementation plan. 
  • Designed and mobilised a new IT portfolio function. Whilst managing the new portfolio processes, we developed new role descriptions and supported the recruitment of a new portfolio management function. A thorough handover ensured long term portfolio management capability in the organisation. 

Client's Benefits

Our client is now able to track the delivery of the IT portfolio and manage decisions around resourcing and prioritising in a transparent and credible manner. The processes and governance were fine-tuned by the new portfolio team, who had clear accountabilities to manage these decisions going forward. In addition, this exercise instilled more discipline and clarity in the decision-making process around IT projects.

Client Testimonial

‘Challenge played a major role in guiding us to a more mature way to manage our project portfolio.  Their pragmatic and flexible approach led to impressive results in a short period.  More importantly, their open and engaging style was very effective in getting buy-in from the business to the approach.  Working ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with our people was not only essential to embedding the new processes and governance, it was fundamental to ensuring the work continued, after they left. The handover to the new portfolio manager meant that the transition into the new role went seamlessly and no valuable knowledge was lost.’