Short of ammunition in a target-rich environment. Strengthening the Asset focus in brownfield portfolio management


Mr Stuart Elliot (Director, Portfolio Value Leadership - WorleyParsons Canada)

Multi-project brownfield management has one imperative – improve the asset – executed through two mechanisms: portfolio content selection and portfolio delivery. Portfolio content selection involves picking from a long list of competing project ideas, with uncertain justifications and limited funding. Portfolio delivery involves synchronizing scarce resources onto multi-input tasks across dozens of active projects. The goal is more asset improvements for less effort and time. It’s a target-rich environment and we’re short of ammunition. And in the spirit of this metaphor, perhaps our aim could be better, given that there are human factors involved in addition to the intrinsic uncertainty of the asset. This paper presents a Lean framework for managing portfolio content and delivery, with a focus on project selection and governance to meet the needs of the asset. (The challenge of portfolio delivery was addressed at MeMo 2011 in a companion paper called “Stuck in Traffic and Boiling Over; why project-level thinking won’t solve portfolio-level problems”). The paper addresses defining asset needs, growing and managing the pool of competing ideas, defining the budget list, managing changes during the year, and improving how all this is managed. The best solutions allow for human nature and business surprises.