Change Portfolio Review Playbook
Aligns strategy and execution by focusing on change
delivery, governance and planning across the portfolio.
What you’ll need
Video conferencing with screen sharing
Digital collaboration tool (Zoom, Hangout)
Instructions for running this Playbook
Book the session well in advance to ensure you include all critical project representatives.
Note that this is best done as a regular routine, ideally monthly. It should not be a one-off exercise since agile changes are constantly evolving.
Prior to the session ensure you have already identified potential dynamics amongst the stakeholders and be ready to facilitate the discussions to reach a clear outcome. If needed do your research on the various players in the session and their preferences, assumptions and working/communication styles. Be prepared to challenge the group to ‘dig deeper’ to really flesh-out what the outcome really means.
Ensure you allocate a timer for each section of the activity. This session can easily turn into a ‘talk-fest’ with no end in sight if not managed well.
Data and analysis preparation:
One of the most critical success factors to this session is data analysis and insight generation. Clear evidence-based data is critical both quantitative and qualitative data. Make sure you know the data inside out and speak to how it’s derived and what it means.
If you are just starting this session, expect to spend a few sessions educating your stakeholders on what the data means and how to interpret them.
4 Key work areas to focus on in preparation include:
– Highlighting any change impact hotspots, contributing factors, risks, and mitigations (heat maps, bar charts, bubble charts, change saturation line tracking)
– Assessing resourcing challenges, risks and recommendations (resourcing analysis and forecast)
– Reviewing change adoption progress across initiatives against strategy/benefit targets (benefit analysis)
– Reviewing business operation performance against change impacts in the previous month and forecast for the next quarter (operations indicator references, and forecast)
Agile organisations should run this session every month.
Significant prep is required for every session so make sure you allow ample time to compile the data and conduct your analysis and recommendations.
Strong facilitation skills is required to ensure this session works well. Listen intently and look out for conversations that may stray away from the focus or that are overly detailed.
Be clear with what is in scope for discussion within this session and what topics are better discussed elsewhere.
2. Identify stakeholders
Include key stakeholders such as representatives from the PMO (project management office), key senior business managers representing different parts of the organisation, risk partner, and as needed key program managers or change leads from key programs (particularly larger programs that have the greatest impact).
This session may be a part of an existing change governance forum. However, in this case it is important that the focus of the conversation be on change management and not the usual PMO discussions on cost and priority.
Some stakeholders may not understand why this session is required. Stakeholder education prior to the session is critical to ensure there is clear purpose and outcomes of each session. If there is a lot of data involved you may want to email them to your stakeholders in advance.
Key points to emphasise with stakeholders include:
– Managing change impacts from impacted user/business unit perspective
– Reviewing/forecasting resource implications, e.g. change resources across projects, business reps, SMEs, etc.
– Assessing risk to project delivery, operational risks and benefit realisation
– Examining contention risks and decisions required for re-sequencing or re-prioritisation
3. Run the session
Introduction – 5 min
Introduce participants, the overall session design and flow. Go through detailed agenda, objectives, roles and responsibilities and outcome anticipated. Also run through any decision making authorities.
Review each topic – 45 min
This is the ‘meat’ of the session where participants review and discuss each topic area. The key is to derive an agreed set of actions, whether it’s agreeing to the level of risk to accept or actions required to mitigate the risks.
The flow within each topic area is the same. Present the data and discuss key trends, risks, opportunities and actions required. Then document the agreement/actions and move on to the next topic.
1. Manage change impacts across the portfolio
2. Review resource implications
3. Assess risks to project delivery, operations and benefit realisation
4. Agree on key decisions and actions required, including re-sequencing or re-prioritisation
Capturing outcomes – 5 min
It is important to play back to the group key decisions and actions prior to wrapping up. Often discussions can be complex with varying opinions. Playing back what has been captured acts to confirm what the group agreed on as well as re-affirm commitment on any actions required.
What to do with the output?
The output may need to be circulated amongst stakeholder groups, so make sure its written concisely and accurately. The writeup will also need to be reference for the next session.
This is one of the most strategic parts of change management work. Run it well and you are directly linking the importance of managing change with strategy implementation and business operations management.
TIP: LARGE GROUPS
Spend time communicating and liaising with participants to ensure they are super clear of their role in this session and the output required.
Be clear what the decision making process is (e.g. using a CAIRO matrix) and the purpose of this session versus other governance forums.
Don’t be frustrated if your recommendations are not accepted by others. Sometimes business stakeholders need to experience something to learn from it.
If the group is too large you may loose the effect and attention required, so choose your participant carefully and ensure they are fully committed.
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