Project Management

Ideas into Plans

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Some organizations try to streamline the process of developing business cases and end up missing great opportunities. But turning ideas into realistic, executable plans should, in fact, be a complex journey, from screening to rationalization to approval. Here are essential steps to make the time and effort worthwhile.

Last month I looked at the process of generating and capturing ideas and suggested it was the most important part of the portfolio process because it was where the ‘best’ ideas were either captured or lost. However, once that process is complete the risks of losing those organization-changing ideas have only just begun. If an organization is effective at idea generation and capture, it will have a large number of great ideas which must now be filtered, consolidated and moved through the process towards the project selection meetings. This involves a number of different steps and requires the expertise of functional groups. It has to start within individual business units, but it needs to be conducted in a consistent manner across the organization. And that means the portfolio management function should guide the process.

If it’s not complex you’re losing great ideas

I’ve worked with some organizations that have all of their business cases ready just a few days after the deadline for idea submission. There are a number of …

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"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

- Rudyard Kipling