The Evolution of Annual Planning

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

It’s the bane of many an organization’s life--the annual exercise to develop project candidates for the next 12-month period, review the options and approve the projects that are going to be executed along with the benefits that they are expected to deliver. It’s the cornerstone of the organization’s application of its strategy, the way that it converts good ideas into reality--and it doesn’t work!

There are many problems with the annual planning cycle, and some organizations have attempted to address these over the last few years. More progressive organizations have started to allow portfolio management functions to have a voice in the process to consider the impact that available resources and skills might have on which projects are approved. There has also been an improvement in organizations’ ability to tie projects to anticipated benefits--more focus on what the project is expected to deliver toward achieving the business goals rather than the tangible outputs. However, this isn’t enough, and I believe that there needs to be further evolution of the model. In this article, I want to explore some of the ways that I believe annual planning can be improved.

Portfolio ownership, not engagement
The shift that more organizations have made toward a higher level of portfolio management engagement within the annual planning …

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