Allovance SOLUTIONS FOR
Allovance helps allocate your budget and advance your goals.
What is the ‘right’ decision? At Allovance, we define the right decisions as those that align most to your strategic priorities. In an ideal world, we would all have the money to do everything we want. In reality, we have limited resources (capital, time, labor) to complete all of our projects, initiatives, strategies, etc. and thus choose a portfolio that we think is ‘right’.
Based on extensive research in decision-making during his P.Hd, Sherif Farghal created a methodology that would allow users to create priorities (even subjective ones), quantify those priorities, then score projects against those priorities to determine their impact. This holistic approach to prioritization integrates principals from psychology and statistical analysis, removes biases from the process and allows subjective factors to be included in the decision-making process. Allovance helps users be more purposeful in allocating their limited resources to the project that will have the most positive impact on their strategic priorities or goals.
It is daunting to have a project you have worked hard on get rejected. Additionally, the feeling of having no voice or say into what projects get selected or implemented by your superiors is discouraging. These were two major factors and considerations as we created Allovance, a new way to prioritize and plan. Our built-in collaboration tools allow stakeholders, employees, community members, etc. to have a voice in the Prioritization and planning process. Using the Strategic team, experts, observers, project review team, and project owners, employees can see how their contributions affect the plan, and will feel like their voices are heard. Additionally, through the methodology and tools provided, teams will be able to reach consensus on what priorities are important to the organization and how their individual and unit priorities are aligned with those.
Capital Improvement Planning
We understand the frustration of trying to create a multi-year capital improvement plan using various tools such as excel. Switching from software to software making conversions and trying to tie it all together in a comprehensive plan is often frustrating and time consuming. Allovance allows cities to combine all of the functions of their various tools into one comprehensive strategic planning tool. From setting your priorities to choosing strategies that align to your priorities and everything in between, we provide cities with a collaborative, visual and easy to use software to successfully create strategic plans, but also justify their decisions and projects to the communities they serve, state and federal compliance agencies, and other stakeholders.
We’ve all been through this process before. You pay thousands (or hundreds of thousands) for a consultant to come help you create a strategic plan. What do you end up with? A 100-page static document. We understand the dynamic nature of decision making and strategic planning, and we think the software you use should be able to take that into account. As priorities change, or new projects get added, you can easily adjust the plan to fit the dynamic nature of the organization. Additionally, our goal is to empower users within the organization to continue the process, so you don’t have to rely on consultants every time you make an adjustment.
Transparency and Justification
When it comes to any modern organization, transparency and justification are vital to strategic planning and decision making. The link between the projects and strategies you implement, and your strategic priorities is missing in traditional strategic planning. With Allovance, you can visually see how projects connect to priorities to generate an impact on your organization. Additionally, you can now understand exactly how much money is being allocated to the different priorities. Through consensus building, priority-setting, quantifying, scoring, and including employees in the planning process, there is easy justification and transparency around why certain projects were selected and others were rejected.
Regardless of your role within an organization, you are probably dealing with an increasing deferred maintenance/project log. In short, there is never enough money to do everything that needs to be done. The same projects get kicked down the road each year. How do you make space in your budget to tackle these? How do you allocate your limited resources to the most strategic projects, or to the projects that will impact your priorities most? Allovance allows you to prioritize projects by overall strategic value within your budget. Maximizing budget lets you make space to gain ground on deferred projects. Our Gantt chart feature also allows you to not only plan for the current year, but to plan ahead and see how you can make gains on achieving strategic priorities over time.
Urgency vs. Importance
If your roof is on fire and is going to collapse, it is quite vital that you put out the fire and fix that roof. It is not strategically important to do this, as it will not make your organization the best organization in the world, but it is urgent because the need is immediate and the costs of not doing so are catastrophic. Is it Important? Or is it urgent? Criticality of time makes a project urgent, but not necessarily important. Allovance measures each project on three lenses: Strategic Value (importance), Urgency, and Complexity. Many other tools and methodologies combine these three lenses into one overall score. At Allovance, each of these lenses are considered separately when assessing a project.
In our experience, we have found that many organization managers use a combination of multiple excel sheets (and maybe some simple planning tools) to prioritize their list of projects. Using excel comes with many challenges, including bias, errors, and the inability to easily change the prioritization process if things come up. We’ve created a 5-step standardized process that is structured, repeatable, and dynamic enough to allow for real time changes. Having a structured process in place saves time and energy up front and lets you place more focus on the content of the decision than on the “how”.
The end goal with any strategic plan is to align the projects with the goals. In other words, you want to make sure that the work you do on a daily basis impacts or aligns with the priorities or goals of the organization. That link between work and priorities is missing for many reasons such as:
- No communication between strategic team and other organizational members
- No tool to accurately measure the impact of work on priorities
This was a major factor in the creation of Allovance. By identifying and setting priorities during the first step of the process, we can eliminate the biases that come from selecting projects solely based on “expected ROI” or other financial criteria. Towards the end of the process, each project will be scored against all the priorities that were identified to come up with the project scores. Ultimately, you are able to see which priorities are impacted when you select a project (or portfolio of projects) and the extent of that impact both in terms of Strategic Value and Budget.
No department should be a silo. Each functional area should be able to link their work with the goals and priorities of the organization. Most current department planning activities and programs do not take this into account. Wouldn’t it be nice to compare multiple portfolios of projects in regards to their impact on organizational strategic priorities?
Operationalization (Executable Plan)
We’ve all done strategic planning before. Think back to the long document you created as part of the Strategic Planning Process. Where is that document now? Does your team still reference it? What happens if priorities change? We believe that a Strategic Plan should not be a static document given to you by consultants leaving you more confused than when you started. We created Allovance with a goal: Follow these steps and you will make the right decisions. With a structured, repeatable, and dynamic process, your team will actually enjoy working on their Strategic Plan. The end result is a portfolio of projects or strategies that align with the priorities of the team/department/organization that can adjusted as priorities change and planned into a Gantt chart for project management.
We understand that in many teams there will be many different priorities. We know how difficult it can be to try to “convince” someone why you feel your priority is more important. We’ve incorporated multiple visual tools within the software to help teams reach consensus faster and in a more productive way. Additionally, we’ve equipped our Decision Coaches with the facilitation techniques and tools needed to successfully facilitate priority-setting discussions. It doesn’t need to take tens of hours over the course of many meetings to come up with the priorities of the organization anymore. It’s no surprise that “failing to reach consensus” is listed as a top reason for why Strategic Plans often fail.
One big limitation of current prioritization software is that they do not allow for subjectivity to be considered as part of the prioritization process. Whether deciding who to hire, which projects to implement, which supplier to go with, or anything in between, we know that subjectivity can play a huge factor in many of these decisions. Allovance allows users to create desirability scales so that subjective variables can be considered objectively when comparing project options.
Elimination of Biases
The process of allocation usually happens in a number of different ways. This may take the form of meetings where the loudest or most senior person in the room decides which projects to implement or excel sheets where each project is inconsistently ranked and then the projects with the highest ranks are implemented. Both of these methods introduce many decision-making biases, and also do not provide a structured, repeatable, dynamic process for project prioritization. Allovance helps identify and remove biases in the decision making process so that you can be sure you are proceeding on the path that is best for your organization.