strategy+business Winter 2013 : Page 54

• Does the project include a feature set that will deliver value to the customer? • Does the project provide interesting brand or marketing opportunities that deliver value to the company? • Does the project suit the current human resources on the team? • Does the client believe that the deliverable will be profitable? the “what and why,” isn’t sufficient for highly con-strained organizations. Leaders must also state clear priorities and be willing to let go of some initiatives to make room for others. No More Monkey Business strategy+business issue 73 feature organizations & people 54 On the basis of these criteria, projects are given red, yellow, or green status. As noted in “The View from Above: The Power of Portfolio Management” (Project Management Institute, April 2013), CEO Christian Risom allocates 80 percent of the company’s resourc-es to pursuing projects that are rated green, even if it means saying no to big clients. If the future of your company depends on the most important initiative, stop assigning people to focus on it only 15 percent of the time. Assign the right people to focus on the project full time, get it done, and then move on to the next project on the priority list. Effec-tively managing capacity means not just ensuring your employees aren’t overloaded, but ensuring that the right people are working on the right things at the right time. For example, you can use lower-priority projects as de-velopment opportunities for less experienced leaders. Proven high performers lose interest quickly in low-priority projects, but less experienced leaders will be eager to prove themselves. Leaders don’t need to understand the complete de-tails of how each project maps against organizational capacity. They do, however, need to be sensitive to the possibility that important new initiatives may conflict with existing workloads. Communicating clear intent, The fourth step in freeing yourself from the hindrance trap is to eliminate or rewrite unhelpful policies. Here, take a lesson from the monkeys that enforced their “no banana” policy because of the way things had always been done. Two simple questions can help guide the process of eliminating or rewriting cumbersome policies. First, does the policy protect the organization from violating safety, legal, or regulatory standards? If the policy helps ensure compliance, leaders should still ask themselves if there is a better way to structure the policy to ensure compliance in the most efficient and effective way pos-sible. Second, does the policy help focus talent and ener-gy in ways that improve key business outcomes? If not, leaders should ask if the policy could be reconsidered. For policies that do not involve compliance, it’s good to ask, “Is this a must-do or is it a preferred way of doing things?” One defense contractor implemented detailed policies on how to conform to certain govern-ment requirements. Before these policies were put into place, government auditors would simply assess the lev-el of compliance to given product specifications. Once the company implemented these new policies, govern-ment auditors assessed the extent to which the company complied with product specifications and the extent to which the company complied with its own policies on how to achieve product specification compliance. The policy added significant product development time and

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