Insight Blog

Introducing Project Portfolio Governance

by Lake Shore Associates

May 28, 2020 | Case Study, Project, Program, Portfolio Management

The Challenge

The Technology Risk Management department of a global quick-serve restaurant chain was responsible for delivering Identity & Access and Cyber-security services supporting operations in over 100 countries. Recent changes in customer expectations greatly increased the company’s need and appetite for scaled global solutions and caused demand to skyrocket for the department’s services. This sudden drive for centralized and globalized customer-facing IT services reversed the longstanding practice of each country operating semi-autonomously from an IT and business-process perspective. This upward shift in demand, paired with the increased complexity of the new solutions and the challenge of integrating multiple global vendors in a highly-outsourced environment, resulted in a state of nearly constant escalation and re-planning. Lake Shore Associates (LSA) had been doing project and program management with this client for several years and could recognize how the changes described were pushing the team to its breaking point. LSA recommended a series of changes to empower the team’s leaders and adapt the team to handle the new high-pressure, high-volume demands.


The Solution

Lake Shore Associates (LSA) combined its knowledge of the client’s challenges and culture with its expertise in Project, Program & Portfolio Management to implement a solution that would greatly enhance the client’s visibility and control over its project portfolio.

LSA started by helping the client get control over all new project requests. To accomplish this objective, LSA designed an Intake model that worked within the client’s broader Enterprise IT processes and toolkit, but allowed for quick triaging of requests and classification based on risk profile. To improve efficiency, LSA established processes for driving requests through the Intake lifecycle (Classification -> Elaboration -> Sizing/Estimation -> Requestor Acceptance -> Prioritization) that operated on a regular weekly cadence.

After completing an Intake model, LSA turned its attention to helping the client get better control over its active project portfolio. LSA first defined the milestones and gating criteria that projects should follow, introduced Change Control processes, pushed project managers to more effectively utilize Issue and Risk management protocols, and maintained a consolidated calendar to capture planned releases and deployments across all of the client’s services. The output from all of these functions was brought together and reviewed during project portfolio meetings. Nearly all critical portfolio decisions were made at the single weekly meeting attended by the client’s leadership team, project managers, and vendors. Such newly gained efficiencies enabled LSA to streamline the portfolio management processes, while simultaneously improving the responsiveness to issues, heightening the awareness of risks, and creating a single channel for critical communications.