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A Capacity Planner: How Many Can You Lift?

A Capacity Planner: How Many Can You Lift?

“If I am a capacity planner, then I am always looking for optimal functionality, but really, what do I do?”

 

Who is a capacity planner? A capacity planner gathers performance data and measures the output to determine optimal fit within the production scheduling. A person in this position is normally at the business unit level, but there are enterprise level capacity planners that look at the whole organization, such as Resource Forecasters or Resource Estimators. A business unit capacity planner may be called a Performance Manager or a Performance Engineer among other titles, but who are they really? Every job is more than just a title.

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A Score Card for Product Management

A Score Card for Product Management


The business intent of Product Management is to increase an organization's competitive advantage through various product initiatives. Competitive advantage is defined by product differentiation and process efficiency. An XY chart displays a competitive advantage score in terms of differentiation and process efficiency. This type of score card provides actionable information that a Product Management team can use for self-diagnostic in process improvement initiatives, and for performance comparisons between business quarters, or between different teams within the same organization. Standard charts enable comparisons across an industry.

You can use this score card as a sample. Create one table for each of the Seven Pillars. You will want to adjust the strategies to be in context of each pillar. Take the aggregated scores for each of the Pillars and combine them into one score for Differentiation. Computing a percentage achieved out of total possible will make your graphic representation easier to read and comparisons more meaningful. After you’ve completed the assessment in each Pillar you switch and look at process efficiency. We use the same Seven Pillars to establish business goals. The objectives of processes within each Pillar are listed at the end of this post for reference. Remove the ones not valid for your organization. For each remaining objective, you'll need to identify specific strategies your team is performing to accomplish the specific objective.

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Agile, Waterfall - Wait its WaterGile! (Trademark it!)

How Agile Product Management has evolved in the last few years An interesting thing has been happening in the market, and it’s not just that everything is moving to the Cloud, or that Facebook is about to go IPO, it’s the very real, and very concrete adoption of agile methodologies across the software industry. Originally a concept that gave birth to the Agile Manifesto (I know I can’t believe I’m referencing Wikipedia), Agile has really taken over as a concept everyone strives for, but rarely achieves. Why is that?

From a corporate stand point, many of the other processes at a company, like fiscal budget planning, employee performance reviews, and marketing campaigns, go through yearly planning and longer cycles. Can you imagine if you “iterated” on your performance review weekly, with a full day spent reviewing your objectives and decided what to focus on the next week? But wait – maybe that’s not such a bad way of approaching it, it provides quicker feedback from your manager and peers and keeps you completely aligned. And that is the heart of the issue, people just aren’t sure how much better that faster iteration is for everyone, they have this fuzzy feeling that there’s value to be had, but it’s hard to draw a line in the sand to say just how much.

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Asset Development

Asset Development

“If I create innovation assets, then I can be monetized for my efforts, but I don’t know how to build assets.”

Information Assets such as market evidence, problem statements, business plans, features, roadmaps, requirements, and product launches are developed, and depending on which assets are used, will produce a very different product.

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Can Risk be a Good Thing?

Can Risk be a Good Thing?

“If we implement a risk management program, then we might gain greater predictability, defensibility, and maintainability on our projects, but do we use the decision analysis definition of risk or the PMI’s?”

Concepts about risk and even the word risk are a source of considerable confusion even among those who specialize in the topic. There are a lot of well-entrenched and mutually exclusive ideas about risk and risk management and if we are going to make any progress in Integrated PM, we must work out these differences.

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Capacity Planning Readiness Check-list

Capacity Planning Readiness Check-list

ARE YOU READY FOR CAPACITY PLANNING?

I find that organizations are evenly divided across the three levels of readiness: chaos, visibility, and controlled/optimized. Only about 5 percent of the ready organizations were at the highest "optimized" level, ready with advanced capabilities such as ensuring the best-fit resource for the highest-value work, ongoing resource planning for adapting to change, and the ability to perform what-if simulations.

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Capacity Planning Transitions

Capacity Planning Transitions

"If we continue to improve our resource and capacity planning capability, then we’ll experience lower resource costs, increased amounts of ‘On-Time’ projects, and less conflict, but we will have to make changes in the organization."

Formalizing the process

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Capacity Planning: How Long Can You Lift it?

Capacity Planning: How Long Can You Lift it?

“If you want to determine the production capacity and the plan necessary to meet the changing demands for its products and services, then you have done sufficient capacity planning, but what strategy and steps were taken to develop your plans?”

It should be self-evident as to why an organization should care about capacity planning. No one wants to be in the situation where they have tons of people with nothing to do or to have too many projects and not enough people. As work piles up you are unable to become more efficient or grow as a company. You are unable to do much more than fight the fires. A company that has done sufficient capacity planning understands their priorities, the resource availability, the cash flow, as well as the intricacies of their time frame. Every project matters!

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Capacity Planning: How Much Can You Lift?

Capacity Planning: How Much Can You Lift?

“If I invest significant resources to capacity planning, then I understand the production capacity needed to meet the changing demands, but I am not sure what capacity planning really entails.”

My morning is never complete without a cup of coffee. So, when I first came across the term “capacity planning,” I automatically went to my regular morning struggle, how much coffee can I put into this travel mug without burning myself? This might seem trivial, but it is a delicate process. How big is the mug? Do I want to leave room for cream? How much cream? If your calculation is even slightly off you burn yourself at some point, have a subpar cup of joe, or you managed to cheat yourself out of some coffee.

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Capitalization of Ideas

Capitalization of Ideas

“If I develop ideas for new products and features, then I should be able to make some money from it, but I don’t know how to convert ideas to solutions, nor distribute those solutions so that they are profitable.”

Some types of information assets are more readily turned into cash than others. When information assets are close to being turned into cash, it's easy enough to recognize it as the intellectual capital of a firm or person. As information moves further and further away from liquidity, it may become harder and harder to recognize it as intellectual property, or an information asset.

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Centralized vs Decentralized Product Management

What every executive should know about organizational structures in product management.

In my years of speaking with organizations, one question continues to come up – how do we better align our product teams with the business and development organizations to drive growth. It’s a tough challenge, and one that executives try to address by deciding on if the product management team reports to an enterprise management team, or an individual GM/BU leader. On one hand you can drive a corporate wide strategy and optimize development investments across your entire portfolio. On the other hand, you can get deep vertical expertise to drive change that really moves the needle for a specific business. I always compare it to an age old saying – you just don’t know what you don’t know.

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Competitive Advantage and Transformation Programs within Integrated PM

Competitive Advantage and Transformation Programs within Integrated PM

"If we use Integrated PM in our Transformation programs, then we can benefit from systematic change aligned to strategic plans, but we will need to spend time in change preparation across multiple disciplines."

High performing enterprises, as well as those lagging the leaders, are always on the lookout for the levers that give them a business performance edge, and are always striving to maintain that edge. A business strategy discipline has numerous frameworks and tools that are used by enterprises to formulate their competitive strategies. Enterprises recognize the equal importance of possessing the strategic execution capability needed to effectively implement a competitive strategy. This "must have" strategic execution capability is also the capability of Program Management within Integrated PM.

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Consensus in Innovation

Consensus in Innovation

"If we use the community groups of the pmNERDS community, then we can support many of our innovation requirements, but we will need to learn how to use the community groups"

Community Groups within the Innovation Value Chain

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Constraint Analysis

Constraint Analysis

“If we used Constraint Analysis then we’d be able to isolate and address the key constraint effecting our practice performance, but this requires specialized skills and we just don’t have time to do it.”

The diagram above illustrates the concept of project constraints which all organizations experience all the time. Regardless of how well your project processes function, there is always a constraint. Projects should be producing either products and services designed to increase collected revenues, or reduce operational costs.

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Create and Leverage Templates

Create and Leverage Templates

“If project managers co-develop standard practices and templates, then practice adoption and baseline performance would be higher, but with so many varying opinions, a ‘We’ culture is required.”

Gary stares at his computer monitor, bewildered, as he scrolls through a large folder of project template files, “Just ask the top project managers to share their templates”, he mockingly mumbles to himself. With project performance varying greatly across the different project management teams, Gary, as part of the Governance team, has been tasked with establishing a standard set of project templates to improve project performance across his business unit. Just like a fancy dessert, without a recipe or set of repeatable steps, consistent results aren’t guaranteed.

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Define Acceptance Criteria

Define Acceptance Criteria

“If projects have defined acceptance criteria, then project managers will be able to better manage stakeholder expectations, but how project outcomes will meet the needs should be discussed and documented early in the planning.”

Boy oh boy! Isn’t it “fun" trying to define acceptance criteria? You have to know your requirements cold. And usually, you have to do this early on in the project scope when you know least about the project.

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Do You Educate Your Market?

A step that product management teams often skip in the innovation process is working with the customers on what to expect in the next product release. The success of a new product release often hinges on the relationship between the product management team and the existing customers.

When that relationship goes smoothly, the new product initiative does as well. There are many factors to keeping that relationship on track, but perhaps none is as important as educating the customers on what to expect.

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Enable Value Realization

Enable Value Realization

“If a project enables value realization, then the business will experience a higher return on its investment, but the worth of the project outcome and the cost to produce it needs to be calculated and measured before and after the project is finished.”

What exactly do we mean by “value realization”? And if we should help it come to be, what is “value” then?

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Engagement Project Management

Engagement Project Management

"If we utilize account based sales, then we need to include sales and marketing into our engagement projects, but this means we need to look at our projects as holistic systems if we expect to maximize project performance."

With project management now viewed as a strategic competency, it is natural for companies that wish to compete in a global marketplace to be strong believers in engagement project management or engagement selling. Either way this is just another discipline of Integrated PM. As you scope out your Integrated PM system, this may or may not be a needed discipline.

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Establish Policies & Procedures for Strategic Practices

Establish Policies & Procedures for Strategic Practices

“If we use standardized policies and procedures, then our projects will deliver their strategic intent, but this requires micro-management of projects. ”

High quality, repeatable, and consistent project performance is a goal of most organizations. Governance, whether in the form of a PMO, Committee, or just policies and procedures, attempts to address this need. The complexity that must be managed for a project to be successful can be overwhelming. For managers to be able to understand correlations and interrelationships between factors in project, portfolio and program management and perform effect-cause-effect thinking that leads to higher levels of performance, the system components must be defined and categorized. Instead of trying to define policies and procedures for every practice and monitor all aspects of the project, the Integrated PM approach to governance leverages system thinking to identify critical variables, leverage points, and constraint analysis to identify the strategic practices that need to be managed through governance.

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