Vidyadhar Kusur, PMP, is portfolio director,
communication and enterprise services, at CGI, a
global IT and business process services provider.
He lives in Bengaluru, India.
What does this look like? The executives need
to help portfolio managers build client relationships, engaging them with the client’s business and
IT stakeholders, as well as key decision makers on
Also, inviting portfolio managers to quarterly
joint partnership review meetings (attended by
business partners) can help portfolio managers
gain a deeper understanding of the changing business environment. That, in turn, can help refine the
3. Stand by to remove obstacles. When things
go wrong, early and quick intervention from the
C-suite helps to mitigate problems and risks. Without this type of support from the top, an entire
program could be derailed.
An escalation mechanism can be as simple as
the relevant executive attending monthly portfolio
health review meetings, where a portfolio manager
can identify any obstacles and risks threatening
progress. These may involve conflicts between
departments or key stakeholders that have negative
Having an executive at the table willing to take
quick action to resolve an issue can prevent a program from derailing.
The stakes are high for organizations executing
transformation programs, whether IT or otherwise.
Customers increasingly expect goods and services
to be available via a variety of digital platforms.
Organizations must step up to invest in change,
and executives must work hand-in-hand with portfolio managers to transform how business is done.
If they don’t, customers will voice their displeasure—and they have more tools than ever before
for doing so. PM
executives’ high-profile support for responding
to the changing business environment with agility. That means rapidly bringing new offerings to
customers, reducing the costs of legacy systems
and sponsoring new projects.
Here are three essential ways the C-suite can
support portfolio managers to drive change
through the organization. They come out of my
experience with IT transformation programs, but
can apply to any organization responding to a rapidly changing business environment.
1. Articulate the strategy and goals. The executive sponsor of the transformation program needs
to clearly and consistently articulate its goals
through the entire organization. All relevant stakeholders must be committed to meeting the challenge at hand, and the entire workforce must be
focused on the mission.
Ideally the executive sponsor should involve
portfolio managers in the annual strategic planning process, and share insights on industry trends
and how they impact the business and its portfolio. He or she needs to support refinements to the
portfolio strategy, and review and approve investment areas.
Executives also need to participate in translating
strategies into various initiatives and associated
goals. This is important because it serves to make
portfolio managers accountable for collaboratively
achieving desired results.
Finally, to align the entire workforce to the mission at hand, the executive sponsor should clearly
articulate goals and progress against them to the
entire organization through town hall meetings at
least every six months.
2. Provide guidance and visibility. Yes, they’re
busy. But executives must make the time to share
their insights into the changing business environment with the portfolio manager. If they want to
see the expected results, they should guide them in
the right direction.