Looking beyond the project portfolio – aligning maintenance work
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
As we plan for implementing the organization’s strategic vision, our focus is on major programs and projects. Which ones should be ended because they fail to support the new direction? Which projects should receive additional resources? How should we adjust our intake processes to ensure new projects are properly aligned? The focus on new projects is appropriate and we should always look for better methods to ensure investments in new projects are carefully considered. But let’s not stop there. There is a world of work that exists outside of project portfolio management.
That work, sometimes referred to a maintenance or “run the business” includes maintenance and incremental improvements of installed systems, incremental improvements and keep-the-lights-on (KTLO) efforts. In some organizations 80% of the work effort is on such activity and only 20% is on major projects. We should apply an appropriate level of scrutiny on this work to ensure it aligns with the strategic vision.
As with projects, this work needs business owners who will frequently prioritize a backlog of requests to ensure the effort is aligned with the strategic vision. We need to provide the teams with training and tools to help them deliver results faster and with fewer delays, and we need to ensure the rest of the organization can make proper use of the results of these sustaining efforts.