Fingrid is a Finnish grid company that provides secure electricity for customers and society and shapes the clean and market-based electricity system of the future. (Fingrid.fi)
The combination of the Thinking Portfolio’s project portfolio and the risk portfolio has streamlined the handling of both development projects and risk management in a unified environment. First, the project portfolio, together with the renewed project model, was introduced, and the positive experiences gained from it helped in the selection when the risk portfolio was acquired, says Development Manager Matti Tähtinen from Fingrid.
Transparency and maturity increase with the abandonment of Excel and PowerPoint in portfolio management
With the introduction of the project portfolio, an overall picture of what is going on in different parts of the organization at the same time was obtained. Achieved transparency is an absolute prerequisite for management, which was previously hampered by project management scattered across different Excel and PowerPoint files. The number of ongoing development projects in the company was surprisingly large, as was the number of project managers, most of whom participated in addition to their work. The projects also included many purely risk management projects, Tähtinen describes the findings in the first phase of portfolio implementation.
The critical development projects and risks of the company’s strategy are monitored using Thinking Portfolio. Tähtinen has noticed the increase in maturity in strategic portfolio management since the introduction of portfolio tools when all ongoing and planned execution has become visible – especially the need for prioritization and smart scheduling has been highlighted.
– We have also launched a project management degree program. Project management is often an indirect, non-supervisory activity that requires peculiar expertise.
– In a decentralized deployment, there must be strong management support and strategic guidelines behind it, as well as examples to illustrate the benefits of a standard project model and project decision-making process.
The project portfolio brings together different projects under one umbrella
Prioritization and alignment between projects and other work is an integral part of the strategy and streamlining operational activities. The promotion of the model and the tools and the demonstration of the benefits must be perceived as being a part of the operations, and show the added value achieved in each area. In the portfolio implementation in Fingrid, the power of the example was used more than enforcing control.
Although the project portfolio is a portfolio management tool, the features of the platform also support the management of individual projects to large extent. The upside is that Thinking Portfolio can be used the way it most effectively supports each project. Utilisation tools can be deployed to the extent and accuracy required by the complexity of the project. One of Fingrid’s most significant ongoing projects currently is DataHub, which is managed entirely with Thinking Portfolio.
– DataHub is a platform on which all Finnish electricity use locations are registered, and the data exchange required for their management goes through a one-stop-shop. This venture and the projects included in it with their sub-projects are reported through Thinking Portfolio. The data is quickly retrieved and easy to update and track there. If the most significant and demanding projects, such as DataHub, succeed in Thinking Portfolio, then why not take advantage of it for smaller ones as well.
Risk scenarios appear in the risk portfolio
Once the project and portfolio models were well launched, the next step was to find a new solution for risk management. A compelling timetable driver was the end of support for the old system platform. Still, at the same time, there was an opportunity to assess the implementation of risk management from a clean slate. The result was a decision to reform the entire risk management and assessment model, as well as the system for managing risks following a new model that is more proactive and focuses on real risks.
Risks are divided into strategic, business, and operational risks. Preparation, approval, and reporting now take place using the new risk portfolio tool.
– One goal was to include the continuity management measures planned for different threat scenarios in the risk portfolio. Even for the ongoing pandemic situation, there were already pre-trained policies.
The introduction of the portfolios was a great success, and the result was as desired
The guiding principle when introducing portfolios was simplification, which was made possible by a flexibly parametrizable portfolio base. The portfolios are easy to use. The accessibility is improved because prior work can be utilized simply by direct copying.
The user training of the project portfolio was provided along with the training of the new project model. There was hardly any need for training on the risk portfolio, as it can be used with the lessons learned from the project portfolio.
– The main engine in the implementation was the Thinking Portfolio consultant, who also helped us review the risks and transfer them to our new risk portfolio. He did an outstanding job with us to achieve the result.
– In conclusion, I would say that we met all our project and risk management objectives with Thinking Portfolio. Together, the portfolios form a functional whole and a platform for a wide range of further development. I see that process controls related to risk management, for example, could have their portfolio continuum.