It is elemental in the configuration of structures, processes, people, practices, and reward systems that are necessary to accomplish the strategy.
The Funding plan will also reflect the organization’s penchant for embracing or reducing risk, its desire for agility or stability, and its drive for speed or accuracy. Steeped in a contextual assessment of business threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths, the Funding plan will strategically apportion limited resources to internal groups that compete for these scarce resources; the reward of which must accommodate or anticipate the current and emerging, market-driven pressures.
These Funding strategies will reflect an investment tactic that underscores the planning horizon that the company is comfortable with. Two examples of this are a concaved tactic that steadily but minimally increases the rate of return until the investment peaks, and then reduces the capital, allowing the company to harvest as much as possible. A convexed tactic is one that invests heavily up front with decreasing rates of return; then reinvests until the operation achieves a significant scale. Both financial tactics achieve results that are commensurate with the underlying Values, Mission, and Visional goals that drive the plan.
The central requirements surrounding a Funding plan include:
- Business assessment – An assessment of the context in which this business operates is essential. This means understanding the external business environment in terms of threats and opportunities, as well as the internal organizational environment in terms of weaknesses and strengths. Central to this assessment are the Mission and Vision statements that aid in ensuring a balanced scorecard approach to financial planning; ensuring an equal voice from satisfaction, innovation, efficiency and financial performance, alike.
- Capital budget – An analysis of the current operating budget, which includes the financial impacts of all capital (physical) and operating expenses. This includes operating revenue and presents a clear picture of the fiscal state of the organization. This creates the basis for the future-funding map, which is then combined with the anticipated direction that the leadership intends to direct resources.
- Results tracking – The achievement of financial milestones and goals is critical as a decision-making tool for future effort investment. Having the demonstrated metrics to ensure confidence in future spending in a rapidly shifting economy is a critical requirement. Investors, board members, leadership, and employees alike rely on the metrics as proof statements in the effectiveness of the delivered strategy.
While many will say that the purpose of a business is to turn a profit (which is the central goal of the Funding effort), the actual purpose of a business is to add value. The Funding model is a critical component in this effort to ascribe value.
Project and Product Funding
Successful organizations have shifted from Funding scope-bound project efforts to team-based product efforts. For many organizations this is a fundamental change to how value is delivered and assessed. This requires Finance to take a different approach when adopting lean-agile product based thinking.
When adopting new Funding paradigms, it is essential that Finance is directly involved in training, discussions, and planning. While value can be realized when using waterfall Funding for digital efforts, the full benefit of Value-Driven Agile and Lean Methodologies will not be fully realized.
The Scaled Agile Framework® provides guidance on how to properly handle the categorization of lean agile development: