One of the biggest challenges for organizations is to know which product initiatives are the most important to follow, and which ones can wait until later. Organizations are often overwhelmed to decide, as usually each organization plans more to do than capacity they have. Such a situation can have difficult consequences:

  • Deciding on the wrong priorities might develop services or products, which are not needed
  • Clinging to develop some initiatives might bind important capacities, which could be used elsewhere.
  • Overseeing potential opportunities, which have not yet been discovered properly.

Portfolio Management, when set up properly, can help to create transparency and clarity and therefore alignment within the whole organization. Most organizations separate the different products as they believe that they might be able to control each individual part of the organization better. And it seems one of the obvious choices, as it helps us to set up the domains in a way, that we can specialize the knowledge for each product. Often, however, business demands are not strictly organized alongside different domains. Business demands and requirements are changing often. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, that what was true yesterday. A quick change of effort and priorities to be able to respond to the changing requirements is needed.

A traditional setup of products according their domain might not be helpful, if specialist of one product cannot quickly switch to the other product as their skills might be too specific. Organizations are having the challenges to balance between specialists and generalists.

Setting up a way on how we can allocate team members, budget and other resources to different product initiatives regardless of to which product it belongs to, but rather on where the effort is needed, we can find an easier way to switch.

Swiss thought leaders have developed the Denkplan approach, where they make the strategy of the company more transparent, inclusive and adaptive. On top of the whole Denkplan approach is the so-called impact map: The Impact Map is a morphological step, which helps to define and communicate the strategy of the organization in general. Basically, everything, which comes to your mind in terms of different important categories (e.g. customer segments, operations) is visible on the Impact Map. Such a visibility also helps you to analyze and define dependencies between different initiatives, which in the end will help to define, how to align and communicate the strategy.

The Impact delivers input then to the Priorities Map, which is responsible to define the roadmap for different themes, products and/or other initiatives. Bigger Epics or Components are displayed within the board within different themes. This is an organic and dynamic board, which is constantly updated with new information gathered. If a team gets free to work on a new initiative, they can easily go/open the Priorities Map and get the next initiative from there. As it is always up-to-date and visible / transparent, not much discussion is needed to start working on that next initiative. With newly gained experience and knowledge, both the Impact and Priorities Map are keeping updated.

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