The Client's Challenge
Sensis was shifting from a paper directory publishing business to an online business. Over 40 ‘digital’ projects had been commenced but whether or not and how they were contributing to the new strategy was unknown. There was concern that some of the projects were strategically irrelevant.
They decided to adopt the TOP Strategic Contribution Assessment Tool (SAT) to assess the strategic relevance and contribution of each project.
Devise and implement a SAT as part of the standard project evaluation process in Sensis.
A half-day workshop was held with a mix of middle-to-senior managers from across the firm from which a draft SAT was developed.
The draft SAT was tested on existing projects and then circulated to key managers for their review. Minor changes were made as a result of the comments made.
The senior executives were briefed and signed-off on the SAT process.
All project managers were trained in using the SAT and required to ‘score’ their project against the SAT.
The cumulative contributions of all of the project’s strategic contribution scores (captured at the detailed strategic imperative level) were analyzed by the Portfolio Management Office.
Six projects were found to be strategically irrelevant (around 15%) and were stopped.
Some planned but not yet resourced projects were found to be more strategically relevant than some already underway. These un-resourced projects were accelerated into existence.
The project teams were now aware of how their projects contributed to the organization's strategy—this was especially useful for those running highly technical projects that otherwise could not see any business connection.
Executive management now had a prioritized list of projects that focused their monthly review meetings’ agendas.
All future projects had to consider and score their level strategic contribution. The Portfolio Office noted a reduction in the number of projects submitted for approval—believed to be caused by self-culling when the project did not meet the minimum strategic relevance score.