By Tushar Patel, Vice President of Marketing, Innotas
In the highly regulated world of financial services, compliance, alignment and transparency are paramount. Compounding the challenge of maintaining various standards is the brisk pace of change driven by market conditions, regulatory updates and customer demands.
So how can financial services organizations stay on top of and stay ahead of the many projects and initiatives that support their core operations and help drive growth and innovation? The key is with proactive project management.
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Here are three steps that project and program managers at financial services companies should take now.
1. Create a consolidated view into all enterprise work and projects.
It is critical for project managers to gain a holistic view of all enterprise project work to manage all execution and planning activities. Having the ability to distill this data into simplified reports to be shared with stakeholders is essential for creating more value. This “single source of truth” promotes transparency and ensures all projects supporting the organization are weighed appropriately, prioritized, and scheduled according to maximum benefit. It also helps prevent many organizations’ key challenge “leapfrogging” of projects based on political maneuvering or the addition of new projects that should be lower in priority.
This approach also supports compliance and regulatory initiatives to which financial services companies must adhere. A consolidated view of all projects in your portfolio enables focus on what is important, eliminates duplication of efforts, and is the key to organizational alignment.
2. Gain visibility into resource capacity and demand.
As project resource demands ebb and flow, mature projects come to a close while new initiatives are added to the mix, it’s essential to establish an effective analysis and planning process for managing resources.
Though it can be a significant undertaking, detailed resource management is well worth the time spent because it forces organizations to conduct an inventory of the skills, experience and availability of staff. With this approach, organizations can more accurately forecast staffing to meet current and future needs, as some projects end and new projects are added.
Once true resource capacity and needs have been quantified, financial services organizations can then get a more realistic forecast of what their staff can handle and when. Armed with this information, they can set the right expectations with stakeholders and confidently communicate what the organization can and cannot accomplish, given the resource constraints.
Having the ability to increase the efficiency of resources begins with having a solid understanding of capacity and demand, and enables project managers to build a strong case for hiring additional resources when necessary.
3. Stay aligned with business goals through continuous planning.
According to a recent Innotas survey, 54% of organizations say their projects are not well aligned with business goals or organizational initiatives.
A hallmark of proactive project management is that it is continuous. The pace of change in today’s markets, not to mention the rise of agile development models, all but requires that project and resource planning is an ongoing, continuous process.
Continuous planning ensures not only the right level of capacity to execute on projects is maintained at all times, but it also helps to establish accountability at all levels in the organization. Having high transparency at all times and the ability to make course adjustments when needed helps build trust at all levels of the organization, which in turn will support more realistic forecasting and more accurate plans in the future.
While more demands than ever are being placed on project management functions in the financial services world, proactive project management can help keep IT departments and other key stakeholders throughout the business aligned and on track. New project portfolio management (PPM) technology solutions can help automate much of the continuous planning, tracking and forecasting, freeing project managers to focus more time on cultivating alignment and driving efficiencies.
With an integrated view of all projects, better visibility into resource capacity and strong alignment with business goals through continuous planning, project managers can deliver more value to their organizations.