Structure in Threes: Budgeting and Planning -observations and muses

The beatings will continue until moral improves, or so goes the typical planning cycle each year. Although being an observer of the process in many enterprises for 30 years and a unwilling participant at times, I would classify these activities as anything but planning. These are more like the High School Senior Prom with all the politics and drama leading up to the final ceremonies. Management spends hours of their as well as staff time building a case to justify their groups existence rather than actually looking at how and what to contribute to the enterprise’s bottom like. Then having to “re-plan” funding / headcount don’t match political expectations.

It doesn’t have to be this war dance each year. Developing a real enterprise portfolio management system could remedy this, however, methodology zealots (aka methodologist, of which I’m sad to say I associate myself with) often get caught up in the minutia rather than the goes. A joke I’m fond of telling during presentations when asked about strict adherence to any methodology might clue you into my worries about methodologies that too often become dogma: What’s the difference between a terrorist and a methodologist? Answer: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Much of the research and design work I’ve done over the years is now starting to converge: Process Modeling (IDEF0 & BPMN), Simulation and Analysis of systems (System Dynamics and Viable Systems Models), Digital Nervous System (AD), IT Economics ( ISIS, Information Economic/BEAM, REJ, and VRF) and now integrating financial Portfolio Management Concepts with VA/VE and Systems Engineering Concepts with the focus on designing enterprises like one would design any other product or service. As I near competition of my basic research for Modern IT Portfolio Management I look forward to thinking about how to deploy and enable adoption. Now that the basics of a digital nervous system are in place, its time to create the “brain of the firm “which I see is a portfolio management system connected to the DNS driven by people making fact based decisions.

The one caveat to using this approach is taking it too far, enterprises are composed of people as are markets. And people are emotional, thus making decisions that address attempts at gratification for those emotions. Thus Portfolio management needs to be applied with flexibility to not only accommodate this phenomena but exploit it in the positive sense. Then perhaps budgeting and planning will be more of a constructive than destructive activity, creating intrapreuers in the company.

Filed under: Enterprise Architecture, Measurement, Organizational Change, Portfolio Management, Systems Thinking
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