Management of Portfolios (MoP) introduced the concept of a clear line of sight. Let us elaborate on this element of the MoP guide.
What is ‘clear line of sight’ in MoP?
The clear line of sight is a technique that aims to ensure that the positive contribution the portfolio will make to the organisation in achieving strategic goals and measurable improvements through performance is always clear to all stakeholders involved in the project.
The objective of the clear line of sight technique is that of project transparency, which must always be demonstrated and sought after, from the strategic intent to the realisation of benefits.
Transparency in a project
Employing resources is one of the great risks that an organisation takes everyday, whether they are human, material, financial or service-oriented. It is essential to be able to identify, define and solve the problems that pose the greatest risks.
The development of a strategy and the planning of activities are fundamental to the success of a project, and this is where the clear line of sight proves useful: transparency is crucial in defining the right path for a project.
How to provide a clear line of sight in a project?
It is important to provide a clear and complete line of sight on:
- Which initiatives are included
- Planning and timing of initiatives
- Resources needed and financial requirements
- Key elements
- Benefits that will be achieved
The plan must provide a clear and comprehensive view of how the portfolio will support the achievement of the strategic objectives and how the success or failure of these objectives will be measured.
SMART and FAST objectives
Objectives should be SMART:
- Time constrained
However, SMART objectives do not take ambition into account and focus mainly on individual performance. Therefore they can ignore the importance facilitating the discussion on organisational and strategic objectives.
To ensure a clear line of sight, objectives should instead be FAST:
- Frequently discussed
- Transparent to everyone
By making objectives FAST instead of SMART, organisational goals can be integrated into ongoing discussions in order to review progress, allocate resources, prioritise initiatives and provide feedback.
All objectives should be achievable and embedded within clear and precise metrics and everyone should be aware of how the organisation intends to achieve these goals and how any success will be measured.
Strategic planning and transparency in MoP
Strategic planning is a key portfolio function that supports investment decisions. It shapes and guides what an organisation is, who it serves and why it does what it does with a focus on delivering service and value to its customers.
It defines not only the path the organisation is taking and the actions that have been required up to that point, but also determines how the success or failure of a project will be determined.
This is the clear line of sight to which one must aspire in order to effectively apply MoP, especially with regards to the continuous portfolio cycle and the definition of practices: understand, categorise, prioritise, balance and plan.
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