PMO Business Planning

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to planning for the next year. What should PMOs focus on when building their business plan? Let’s explore this in terms of the process that a PMO leader should go through in building the business plan rather than identifying specific goals and objectives that might not apply to an individual scenario.

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Planning, Assessing, Analyzing and Monitoring Country and Political Risk During the PMI Risk Management Process

Pursuing overseas or cross-borders business requires an understanding of the country and political risk—it is, indisputably, a key consideration. The author demonstrates how PMI risk management processes and best practices can be customized to expand the picture of country political risk assessments, identification, analysis and monitoring.

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The Business Plan: Not Just a Blueprint – Best Skills

Business planning is a vital component of starting and growing a successful enterprise. Many different templates and variations of business plans exist, so you must choose the right one for your purpose and your enterprise. Having a business and knowing what to do with it are very separate issues and creating a well-executed business plan for the right reasons will enhance the odds that your venture will be one of the ones to succeed.

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The Bottleneck – A Lack of Succession Planning in HR

We are all faced with a hobbling paradox. Most agree that employees make or break an enterprise, but the HR team often seems to be constantly catching up. Business leaders complain that they have to “break in” new HR people, and that individuals with HR degrees in college are not overly useful. Finally, when business leaders do praise HR, it is an individual person who gets praised, not the department. Obviously, this impacts Training and Development efforts directly. Any real effort to develop Big Skills requires a trust on the sponsor’s part and a competency on the deliverer’s part that too often are just not there. And any T+D efforts not around Big Skills is just treading water for the training group. As I work with global organizations, I have recently been aware of a staggering truth. Most HR groups have no succession planning for themselves. This is true even when HR works hard to create succession planning for every other part of the enterprise. If this is true, it both provides an explanation and a surprisingly easy remedy for the Hobbled HR group. And best of all, HR is already good at it: they know the tools of identification, rotational assignments, fast tracking, retention for strategic talent, partnering with business groups on critical projects, and global exposure. We have all heard the jokes about the lawyer who died without leaving a will, or the shoemaker’s children going barefoot. So maybe it is time for the doctor to heal thyself.

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Survey: Small Businesses Getting Ready to Hire

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–( BUSINESS WIRE)–The nation’s unemployment rate may have hit a 26-year high in September but many small business owners are getting ready to hire. The latest Intuit Payroll survey from Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq:INTU) finds that nearly half of the small business owners surveyed, 44 percent, are planning to hire new employees within the next 12 months. At the same time, many small business owners believe that benefits are key to attracting new hires but are finding them difficult to afford. “Economists may have declared the recession over, but on Main Street, unemployment figures are what really matter,” said Nora Denzel, senior vice president of Intuit’s Employee Management Solutions Division, which helps more than 1 million small businesses easily and affordably manage their payroll. “There are struggles ahead, nobody is uncorking the champagne bottle quite yet, but we are starting to see small signs of optimism.” Read more.

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Succession Planning Presents Challenges for Most Companies

Future success for any business depends in part on who is leading the business, yet according to new research from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) the majority of companies admit their efforts in succession planning are weak. As the global economy struggles out of the recession it is incumbent on business leaders to identify key positions, critical knowledge and skills, and the talent needed to meet short- and long-term goals, as well as put in place a working process for developing and advancing employees in the succession pipeline. Despite this demand only 14 percent of companies surveyed by ASTD said their organization’s succession planning efforts were successful to a high or very high degree. ASTD surveyed leaders from 1,247 organizations for its new study Improving Succession Plans: Harnessing the Power of Learning and Development. Key findings include: The study also offers recommendations for creating metrics, candidate selection, and key practices to cope with barriers to effective plans. A “Lessons Learned” section shares some of the wisdom gained from study respondents. Improving Succession Plans: Harnessing the Power of Learning and Development is free to ASTD members and may be downloaded from the ASTD Store at www.store.astd.org.

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New York State Office of the State Comptroller Redefines Standard of Business Analysis Excellence

Background The New York State Office of the State Comptroller (NYSOSC) in Albany maintains a broad scope of responsibility unmatched by similar offices in the United States. As the state’s chief fiscal and accounting officer, the Comptroller is a separately elected state-wide official whose primary duties include managing and investing the State’s cash assets, auditing government operations, paying all NYS employees, reviewing State contracts, overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments including New York City, and operating two of the state’s retirement systems. As an agency charged with monitoring the effective financial operation of numerous other agencies and entities, the NYSOSC understands the need to carefully maintain its own project management (PM) and business analysis (BA) capabilities. Therefore, the Office engages in regular self-assessment and performance improvement in these areas. The ChallengeNYSOSC has built a reputation for continually advancing project management best practices through its PM Center of Excellence (CoE). However, realizing that enhanced business analysis practices can also increase project success and user support, as well as heighten customer satisfaction, the agency has sought, since 2006, to improve its business analysis practices by instituting a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BACoE). NYSOSC performance improvement programs had primarily benefited PM teams prior, and support had not been available for the advancement of BA teams. By promoting BA competencies, knowledge management, enterprise analysis skills and practices similarly to the PM program, NYSOSC sought to achieve comparable, positive results. Strategic PlanningThe agency’s cross-division Business Analysis Work Group completed a strategic report in 2006 presenting the benefits of advancing NYSOSC’s use of business analysis and making next-step recommendations, including the launch of a BACoE. In 2007, the second phase of the project was launched to begin to develop and support business analysis as an organizational resource. Kevin Belden, Deputy Comptroller and CIO, and Kirk Schanzenbach, Director of the Program Management Office (PgMO), were executive sponsors; and Barbara Ash, Assistant Director for BA in the PgMO, was the project manager. The project team consisted of numerous representatives from BA units across the agency. To provide counsel on industry best practices, and to resolve issues that were impeding progress, the project team enlisted the help of ESI International. “Having worked with ESI in the past to build our project management and business skills capabilities,” said Schanzenbach, “we were confident that they were the best partner in achieving our BA goals.” ESI began by working with NYSOSC leadership and the project team to outline unifying objectives for BA and PM skills areas, including the need to: The Solution In cooperation with ESI, NYSOSC determined the key strategies to ensure a successful program. Foremost among these were: To support the program launch, ESI designed and delivered a two-day, project kick-off workshop that centered on the program’s four-part learning framework and targeted development of knowledge, skills, ability and attitude. Day one introduced the program to senior management and focused on developing best practices in alignment with BACoE operating standards. Executive activities included competitive, interactive group exercises that helped to define and prioritize goals around developing the BACoE. Day two introduced the program to front line business analysts and ensured a common understanding of BA concepts and executive directives. Following the kick-off, the team worked in subcommittees on project deliverables, received best practice advice, and exercised skills and competencies through coaching exercises. Special attention was also given to evaluating and treating such problematic areas as standards and methodologies topics for the BA group. “This intensive learning experience was very well received as a serious enhancement to the traditional instructor-led effort.” said Ash. “Participants also felt that it accelerated the program launch significantly compared to previous programs.” Toward Change In the early months of the program, ESI participated in regular group meetings and calls in order to provide coaching and to reinforce goals and specific training targets. While ESI continues to deliver essential counsel, the NYSOSC has quickly achieved the competency to offer coaching and mentoring using internal resources. Other significant program accomplishments and benefits to date include: Championed by executive sponsors Belden and Schanzenbach and project manager Ash, the internal team continues to recommend and oversee BA learning programs and progress, as well as support the advancement of BA maturity.

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