Aug 12, 2009

Spending (Less) Money to Make (More) Money

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Project & Program Management, Portfolio Management, Strategy Execution | 0 Comments

Everyone is writing about how business can thrive in spite of the downturn ... including me. We're working on a new white paper on the ways that project management discipline can help companies contain costs and become more efficient. (You'll be able to read it here on or before August 13). But something about the whole idea made me antsy, because merely cutting and thinning and pruning isn't enough. You've got to add the sunshine and fertilizer, too.

And, in fact, research into the ways strong companies have survived previous economic upsets, shows that, indeed "You can't shrink your way to greatness."

I was reminded that great Tom Peters quote from Circle of Innovation many times this spring as I watched the unemployment figures rise.

So I went looking for other evidence that greater success - or at the very least, a more sustainable form of success - is created when companies both prune judiciously and invest creatively in their own future.

And I found it.

It's pretty extensive research, so explore the link yourself, but just to give a precis, companies that flourished coming out of a recession in the early 90s:

  • They cut the RIGHT costs .. and did not engage in self-defeating cost-cutting.
  • They leveraged their IT systems to gain insight into the business
  • They collaborated with stakeholders ... instead of pursuing projects/products dreamed up in a vacuum
  • They killed or refused the RIGHT projects and opportunities ... also based on insight into their own finances, markets, capacity, and so on.
  • Rather than merely shrinking - via cost and headcount cuts - they invested in innovative products and processes.

This is one of those articles that never mentions project, program, or portfolio management. You wouldn't find it if you searched under those terms. Yet, take another look at that list ... are we not talking project and portfolio management here?

More rants on why PM/PPM can not just save, but grow, your business ... coming soon.

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