The need for greater agility and adaptability has never been more on leaders' minds than over the last year; PMO leaders can help business leaders illuminate broader transparency by leveraging transformational dashboard capabilities that drive the necessary alignment that makes agility and adaptability possible.
Last year solidified the need for greater agility and adaptability in virtually every executive's mind. In light of the impact of pandemic-related disruption on global businesses in the last year, it's not surprising that the dynamics have shifted. As many employees adapted to working remotely from home or went into work environments with new approaches to safety and distancing, it was only a matter of time before the need for greater agility and adaptability would become prevalent. This inflection point represents an opportunity for Project Management Office (PMO) leaders to shine — as agility and adaptability are where they excel.
5 ways this shift in dynamics is impacting businesses
Any shift in dynamics will have an impact on your business in different areas and ways. While this isn't an exhaustive list of how dynamics shifted in the last year, here are some of my observations:
- With many more employees working remotely, companies are focusing more on technology — whether it's for video calls or improving collaboration in general.
- Schedules are cluttered with virtual meeting marathons, and people are missing out on having informal conversations that would typically take place in the office – in the hallway, getting coffee in the kitchen, or perhaps while walking out of a meeting.
- Silos are increasing as people are more difficult to get in touch with because of cluttered schedules and people are left trying to figure things out on their own.
- Leaders are struggling to get timely, complete, and relevant information.
- Costs are under heightened scrutiny and budgets are getting cut.
To know the status of portfolios and projects means leaders need access to real-time data. They simply can't wait for a month to understand how budgets are being spent and whether the business's investments are on the right track to deliver strategic outcomes. They need to know what their forecast looks like, how their portfolios are performing, and how the decisions they make might impact dependencies across the entire organization.
Managing dependencies requires transparency
Every portfolio in today’s enterprise has interdependencies, it’s just a matter of being aware of them so that you know what impacts any decision will have on interdependent portfolios. Agility and adaptability are impossible to achieve if you aren’t managing those interdependencies so there needs to be closer collaboration between the applicable teams and resources. With remote teams, we no longer have the option to just walk over to someone and ask a question; I may need to figure things out on my own. It may be more difficult to identify who to go to with everyone so disbursed. But it only took me two sentences to explain how this model is already broken and will cause delays – so how do you remain agile and adaptable in this environment?
Leadership limitations due to remote operations
To make fast and effective decisions that drive outcomes amid change, you need access to the right data at the right time. Very likely, that right time will come when you least expect it so you need to make sure the data is always there and it’s always right. This is where portfolio dashboards become crucial so that any leader can quickly see exactly what's going in real-time. I need to see information at a glance that answers these questions at a minimum:
- Where are we spending money?
- Who is spending the money?
- Which projects are on schedule?
- Do I have the capacity to take on a new project?
Information can't be outdated or take a long time to access. It's only through real-time data that immediate questions can get immediate answers. It is with this that a company becomes truly agile and adaptable.
Transparency through dashboards
Effective strategic portfolio planning relies on leaders across your entire business to make timely strategic decisions. To do this, the data they use to guide these decisions needs to be timely, accurate, and current — enter the PMO. This organization plays a vital role in providing business leaders with the tools to make those decisions with confidence — and without having to wait a month to get everyone together or pulling ten different reports to try to make that decision.
Increasing agility means going beyond the chain of command, especially when leaders and their teams are working virtually. Dashboards give managers, directors, and other leaders the insights to quickly do scenario planning. With a click of a button, they can go to their executives and present scenario one and scenario two all within a centralized self-serve dashboard.
Strategic planning and increased visibility
Armed with powerful dashboards that increase visibility throughout your entire company, business leaders can pull the right information and ensure everybody can see what's going on. Leaders can use dashboards to make decisions that focus on areas where they are lagging, provide clarity around spending, and ensure they are getting the right return on investment.
Drilling down into the details
Business leaders may also want to drill down to get granular level information to understand what the numbers mean. From frontline employees to executives working remotely, taking high-level data and drilling down at a granular level in seconds increases efficiency and helps everyone understand where they fit into the grand scheme of things. It also strengthens and improves stakeholder buy-in for remote teams.
In the end, having data is only good if it's used to make the best decisions. Leaders and their teams need to investigate the data and understand the context for why things are happening the way they are. It's about asking why we are seeing what we're seeing in any given scenario. It's about being able to dig in and ask more questions and learning lessons to prevent issues from repeating themselves.
Keeping remote teams aligned and focused
Achieving agility and adaptability relies on keeping everyone aligned and focused. With transparent dashboards, everyone across an entire company can see reliable data and a consistent reality across team members. They're not relying on different reports or having to talk to several people to get their point of view. At Changepoint, we use dashboards to understand where we stand from a company perspective. We may all have different questions around it or use it for different purposes — but we're still seeing that same information and can make better and faster decisions based on that common understanding. These dashboards improve our agility and adaptability — and during times of upheaval, these dashboards are of even greater value to our leaders, teams, and our customers.
Dashboarding benefits for leaders
Dashboards provide transformational value in creating transparency about how your business is working at a higher strategic level. It provides leaders with many benefits, including the ability to:
- Access data that is relevant to the success of their objectives.
- Gain insight into progress against strategic goals.
- Break down silos that allow teams to exist in a vacuum.
- Increase productivity, collaboration, and buy-in.
- Increase alignment between projects and strategy.
- Promote a culture of sharing and transparency.
- Build teams with a higher degree of collaboration and accountability.
- Reduce risk through more timely insight.