Social Aspects

The importance of portfolio management in product development is also promoted by the individual motivation of employees towards it. The question is whether this happens in reality, and if it does, how? Motivation is cultivated by sense, orientation towards success, and personal relevance. Our questions raised to the active managers taking part in the process are whether they evaluate themselves negatively or positively in these categories. The results are clearly separated also in this category. The companies that belong to the top of their fields know how to design processes and behaviors in ways that foster obligation and relevance.

Portfolio process results are relevant

64 percent of the participants stated that PPM process results are for the most part bindingly taken in and implemented. 26 percent at least take the results into consideration when making decisions. For the most part, we observe a consequence-dominated portfolio practice, which is also considered to be important by its relevant participants.

Best and low performers: decision-making culture differs greatly

In the decision-making culture, the groups separate further. Amongst the best performers, decisions are based on facts and will lead to long-term planning, loyalty to processes and a balanced middle ground, between internal and external orientation, while the low performers clearly decide emotionally and in reaction to situations. Two distinct profiles – the strong consensus-finding of low performers possibly leads to stagnation, as a short-term consensus-finding in clearly reactive and flexible decision patterns does not seem very feasible.

Interesting insight: daily pain points are named

When asked about the pragmatic “pain points” in day-to-day business, the managers gave us full disclosure: A list of points, which can be a checklist of improvements for everyone responsible for a portfolio. If able to provide answers to these questions, one can be sure of improving one’s results in the process of product-portfolio management holistically and solidly.

Management attention is essential

• Too low prioritization over day-to-day business, leading to lack of time

• PPM is seen as unimportant, as efficiency potential is disregarded

• Portfolio decision has barely any consequences

• More relation to top-level management

• Barely any strategic point of reference or KPIs for product development

• Interesting competitor’s perspectives require strategic analysis

• Important market feedback is not taken into consideration for strategic parameters

Complex processes are barely controlled

• Too elaborate data collection, especially in the long-term

• In general, very high effort to maintain continuous process discipline

• Lack of a portfolio management tool for adequately efficient processes

• Agile processes are difficult to implement

• Difficult to observe different markets and customers in the entire portfolio

• Resource planning, while essential, is independent and not integrated as a function

Governance is seriously neglected

• Different assessments and assessment criteria necessary for each portfolio

• Portfolio diversity not to be managed, also difficult to consolidate

• Hardly any project data standards, leading to non-uniform databases

• Lacking corporate communication concerning this topic

• Not enough documentation, hindering the learning process for new employees

Best performers experience themselves as proactive, rewarding and well trained

A clear result: the personal connection to portfolio management plays a decidedly prominent role. The best performers in this regard are also the best in terms of total maturity. The experience as an active part of product portfolio management, the recognition of results as in line with agreed-upon goals, the feeling of being well trained and experienced, and the assessment of being part of a generally successful system all pay off. Low performers, on the other hand, are unsatisfied, but also part of an altogether substantially less productive portfolio management system. The two groups have similar results considering the aspect “learning organization versus mistakes count as negative”- an area in which best performers have room for improvement, while low performers, however, need to address the basic questions first.


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The long-term success of an industrial company is largely dependent on the life cycle of its products and the innovative capacities to further develop these products.

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