by Sharon Edwards

The Challenge 

For a global philanthropic organization on a mission to change lives, every minute counts. So does every funding dollar. Executive leaders wanted more effective, cost-efficient ways to prioritize projects from a vast portfolio of options, and to manage them in line with strategic goals. They wanted more strategic planning, greater visibility into the project portfolio, better-prioritized work efforts, clearer roles and responsibilities, and more collaboration on cross-functional projects. The organization engaged Point B to execute a global strategy, roadmap and tools—all on an "ASAP" schedule.

Rapid delivery in action

With time of the essence for this client, we recommended our rapid delivery approach to executing a new strategy, tools and processes for project portfolio management. Our rapid approach allowed us to deliver value to our client 2.5 times faster than the traditional approach.

Rapid delivery is not only about doing things faster; it's about doing things differently—in "agile sprint" cycles. Rather than a linear effort where everything delivers together toward the end of the engagement, we concentrate firepower on delivering the highest priorities ASAP—in this case, four weeks instead of the typical 10 to 12 weeks. Our process is built on short iteration cycles, with the fast feedback to improve as we assess. This saves time and gets strategic tools into people's hands quickly.

The leadership to accelerate

Rapid delivery was a commitment that we and our client made to each other. It takes strong client sponsorship and involvement—especially on an enterprise-wide scale such as this. Key deliverables come fast, so the client team must be ready to implement new processes and tools. At the same time, the client team needs to balance implementation plans with the organization's ability to absorb change. Our client had the strong executive leadership to trust the rapid process and lead people through any resistance to change.

Moving at the speed of need

With a clear strategy, roadmap, data analytics and other tools, our client is now able to identify the most critical projects in its global portfolio and manage resources to accelerate execution. Teams work together more efficiently, sharing a consistent way to select projects, manage the portfolio, and report on progress. Executive leaders have greater clarity and less administrative burden. They've gained the time to discover growth opportunities—and the insight to adapt to a fast-changing external environment with scalable structures and systems. In short order, this global organization has accelerated its ability to make a difference to millions of people around the world.