Dentists and Portfolio Management Capability

I hate dentists, I really really hate dentists.  I don’t use the ‘H’ word for many things in this world, but dentists are definitely one of them.  Even writing the word makes me shiver, but I’m going to shiver for you and tell you my dentist story because it’s the best analogy for Portfolio Management Capability Assessments that I can think of.

When you visit a dentist, the first thing they do is say you need to have a consultation. So you have to drop a couple of hundred bucks or more for them to look around, prod you here and there, tell you what the situation is and then they put together a plan for the work you need.

Many years ago I went to a dentist because of a sore wisdom tooth, she had a little look and said it has to come out.  She didn’t do a detailed consultation, which I was fine with (on account of saving the dollars) and preceded to extract the tooth.  However, because of the lack of detailed consultation what she didn’t realize is that the tooth was infected.  This is very bad news because I later found out that the chemicals in an infected tooth cancel out the effect of anesthetic.

So she proceeded to remove the top of my wisdom tooth, unknowingly without anesthetic.  I’ve never felt pain like it, I was shaking with tears coming down my face in excruciating pain.  Just before I passed out in agony, I jumped off the bed, with blood poring from my mouth and went outside to call my mum (yes I called my mum, at 30 years old).  Anyway, I had no choice but to go back in, at which point the only thing she could do in light of not continuing with the extraction was to sew the gum and cover the exposed roots – which are still there to this day.

So the moral of this highly disturbing story is: If you want to implement portfolio management across your organization you absolutely must drop some dollars on a consultation first, also known as a “Portfolio Management Capability Assessment” (or maybe Portfolio Management ‘Cavity’ Assessment is a better name he he he).   If you think you can get by without investing in this before you start to implement Portfolio Management, not only are you very very wrong, but there is a high chance that you’re organization is going to experience a lot of pain, get some scar tissue and then never ever want to go near Portfolio Management again.

The reason I’m zooming in on this is because a lot of my time is spent with helping clients look inside the mouth of their organization before we undertake any portfolio management / dental surgery.  A really good example of this is identified in the UK Government Portfolio Management Case Study from the ONS (click here to download it).  I’m also pleased to see that Axelos have recently released the new P3M3 capability assessment model and online tool, which I will be reviewing shortly for you guys.

One last time…invest in a detailed consultation of your organizations teeth before you let any portfolio management dentist go to work.


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