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    April 19, 2024

    People-Centric Planning: A New Way of Working

    Technological innovation has continued to accelerate, providing capabilities and advantages that would have been unimaginable just a short time ago. The problem is that technology planning and funding approaches continue to look very much like they did 30 years ago. In this post, I’ll look at some of the key problems these legacy approaches pose, and I’ll outline why a new approach, people-centric planning, is now key to success.

    Technology funding approaches of the past—and present

    For decades, technology investments were largely based on projects. Business leaders would fund a specific piece of work—one that had a concrete start and finish—and expect to fund it primarily only once. In addition, business leaders and technology teams were separated and isolated. Technology teams would effectively function as service providers, executing one project and then moving on to the next. For each of these efforts, teams would develop plans, get estimates, and ultimately obtain the budgetary approval needed to get started.

    For a long time, this approach worked fine. However, these groups are now operating in a completely different world: A world in which technology is inextricably interwoven with the business. For virtually any business in any industry, business performance is highly dependent upon software to fuel virtually every critical business service and processes.

    This exposes a fundamental disconnect. Technology-powered services are now, and will remain, integral to the business. If an application is critical to a business, it’s not something that can be treated as a one-and-done project. Teams don’t just deploy the application and move on. They need to continue to not just support but improve the application, and these enhancements will be integral in fueling ongoing business success. Further, these enhancements will need to continue for as long as that application serves the business.

    How legacy approaches create waste, stifle agility

    It isn’t just that traditional funding approaches aren’t aligned with current realities; it’s that they create waste and stifle agility—and actively work against many of the organization’s most critical goals.

    Even within many large, successful enterprises, leaders continue to confront the futility of detailed, project-based planning. They see teams across business units make the massive investment in time and money that is required to establish a strategic long-term plan, say for an entire fiscal year. Then, typically, not long after the plan is approved and definitely before the first quarter has elapsed, a significant percentage of the plan’s deliverables have been dropped or fundamentally altered, and teams need to take on a significant amount of work that wasn’t part of the original plan. Further, when these new requirements arise, teams have to start again in terms of collecting work estimates, getting budgets authorized, and obtaining funding approval.

    In short, teams spend a massive amount of time developing a plan that will never be fully executed and then incur even more effort, lost time, and inefficiency when the plan changes.

    These constant obstacles beg a fundamental question: Why keep working this way?

    The solution: People-centric planning

    The scenarios outlined above make it painfully clear that technology funding and planning approaches need to go through a fundamental shift. In essence, organizations need to move from funding work to funding people, and from managing projects to managing products. Here are some of the key characteristics encompassed by this shift:

    • Teams are given persistent funding (usually year-by-year over several years) that remains consistent as long as the team delivers value—regardless of the specific deliverables.
    • Teams are organized around products or value streams, rather than siloed departments.
    • Teams work toward common, business-level objectives.

    People-centric planning: How it’s working at Broadcom

    For the team at Broadcom, people-centric planning isn’t a theoretical exercise, it’s a discipline that’s being relied upon—and yielding benefits—every single day. Within the organization, we’ve established value streams and people-centric planning approaches.

    Relying on our ValueOps solutions, we’re able to establish unified, real-time visibility that spans end-to-end value streams. This means we don’t have to work with spreadsheets and note pads, or rely upon time-consuming, error-prone manual reporting efforts. Instead, our various teams and decision-makers gain the accurate visibility they need to track progress and make more informed decisions.


    Virtually everything about technology has changed in recent years. Everything it seems, except the way teams plan and manage technology investments. By employing people-centric planning, your organization can begin to align funding approaches with modern business and technological realities. In the process, you can achieve significant improvements in agility, efficiency, and business performance.

    To learn more, please visit our People-Centric Planning page

    Tag(s): ValueOps , Clarity

    Brian Nathanson

    Brian Nathanson is a recovering certified Project Management Professional now serving as the Head of Product Management Clarity at Broadcom. He is the host of several popular Clarity-related customer webcasts (Office Hours, Release Previews, and the End-to-End Modern UX Demos) and has conducted many hours of both...

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