Two Key Tools for the Strategic Realization Office (SRO)

by August 29, 2018

To deliver strategy effectively, the strategic realization office, or SRO, needs to leverage two separate but closely related disciplines.

In this post we want to look at how the SRO facilitates the delivery of strategy. Remember we said that modern corporate strategy had to focus on growth and innovation, and that inevitably means a focus on customer offerings. The products and services a company offers are the only sustainable way for revenue to be generated, and profitable revenue is the currency of growth. That leads us to the first tool the SRO needs to be able to leverage: product portfolio management. We’ll call it product PM for reasons that will become clear later.

Product PM is an integrated strategy for managing all the products and services the company provides. It includes lifecycle management, market strategy and development approaches for individual offerings and also the investment management strategy for the collective products and services. This second element will include ensuring a balance of products across different lifecycle phases, market positioning, growth versus consolidation, etc. Product PM is owned by the executive who oversees the various product and service offerings, but the SRO has a key role to play in the process.

We noted in the last post that consistent growth requires the ability to innovate continuously, and clearly that innovation must be concentrated in the products and services the organization develops. Such innovation requires investment, commitment and planning to ensure it is focused in the right areas, that the risks are managed effectively and that the results are optimized to market expectations. While all of those factors are fluid, that can only happen if there is a long-term vision for products, both individually and collectively. That is the concept of the product roadmap that sets out the long-term goals for each customer offering and the milestones that need to be achieved to attain those goals. Individual product roadmaps are then consolidated into a single overarching roadmap for all products and services, and this is the driver of innovation the SRO is accountable for enabling.

To actually deliver that innovation, the SRO needs to leverage another tool: project portfolio management. This is commonly referred to as PPM, but to avoid confusion here, we’ll call it project PM. Project PM is the process of managing all the initiatives that are approved to deliver the current goals and objectives. As we discussed in the last post, these projects must be driven from the top of the organization and are the vehicles for delivering results. With the increasing focus on innovation, product PM is becoming a more important part of project PM, and the two must work together to ensure the organization is successful.

To drive innovation and growth, the SRO must ensure that product-related initiatives are given priority within the project portfolio. However, that doesn’t mean non-product-related projects should be ignored. Innovation and growth can only occur if the organization’s internal infrastructure and approaches are effective and efficient. There must be enough investment in the support areas of the organization to allow innovation to be optimized. Establishing that balance of investment, and managing it through the adjustments and evolutions that inevitably occur, is a key element of the SRO’s accountability.

Fortunately, the SRO is not alone in this endeavor, and that’s what we’ll look at in the next post.

To learn more about product roadmapping, read the white paper Roadmapping: Strategic investment planning for the enterprise.