Pipeline Management - Maintaining the Flow

By Duncan Troup on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 in Lean and Agile.

Investing time and energy into your pipeline is crucial, it is amazing how much an organisation wants to do and how putting some constraints on really gets people thinking about what they should actually do. You need a good structure around this though, an effective and thorough way to collect your unconstrained demand, an organisational strategy that clearly articulates your plans over the next horizon, refined tools specific to your organisation to assess, align and prioritise that demand and you need effective ways to oversee your delivery. If that wasn’t enough, you also need to build in agility to shift your priorities as internal and external factors shift the goalposts throughout your budget cycles. It’s a lot to consider. But there are ways to get it right and ways to keep it all on track. With some experienced help and frameworks like ITIL and IT4IT as well as your project methodologies, you can get your ship in order.

IT4IT can kick you off to a good start taking your ‘Strategy to Portfolio’ in the first stage of the IT Value Chain. This model is also consistent with methodologies like Agile and Scaled Agile, but what it does is tie all your business needs in as well (like governance, risk and compliance, vendor management, business Intelligence and your projects). The supporting activities that keep your business in business. You need to employ a prioritisation model to quantify your decision making that builds in this large range of factors, a means of assessing a piece of work, to give you a good idea of the scale, technical impact, organisational impact and benefits realisation. Basic cost of delay models are a great start in this space, but every organisation is different, every strategy is different, so you need a model that is tailored to your needs. But there are traps, don’t make the mistake of adding a hundred different factors to your model which reflects all the critical inputs for consideration. If you output this to 10 decimal places you are not helping yourself. Simple numbers are required to make rational decisions. A good architecture practice can certainly help refine this model taking into account key business drivers and risk management.

Once you have all this, you need one other critical element, your people. Your team, your organisation and your customers need to be involved. Show everyone what you are doing, how things are progressing and get the right input to keep feeding your prioritisation model. IT4IT uses a holistic view of the Value Chain and a reference architecture to pull it all together, from Strategy to Portfolio, Requirement to Deploy, Request to Fulfill and Detect and Correct which is great, but you need the people from all those areas inputting into the process for success. The best decisions are made with the right voices of the customer, delivery teams, operational teams and people that can make a call when things get difficult. The Value Chain is continuous and what you do at one point affects the next person/team down the line. So keep everything in a dedicated space on a big wall for all to see. From your portfolio view down, it should be all transparent. Make your standups a must be involved in event by making them enlightening, fun, and short! The success of these rituals will be defined by the culture and if your teams are not on board you will never reap the benefits. One of the great things about Tingle Tree is the team has such a grasp on how culture affects these tools and processes. We are well positioned to balance the culture and process for your organisation and guide you towards sustained success.

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