Stroke of Strategy
Success Extends beyond Scope, Schedule and Budget
How do you make sure your projects align to strategy?
“You must first develop a project charter. One of the key points in the charter is how the proposed project aligns with company strategy. This document will help both project managers and the organization understand how the project’s benefits will further the strategic goals of the company. It is up to the project owner reviewing the charter to reject any projects that do not fully align to strategy. In some organizations, there may be a need to educate people on how to draft effective project charters that fully address strategy.
Another potential issue is when employees don’t clearly understand their company’s strategy, mission and vision. It is the responsibility of senior management to educate their employees. However, a good project manager should take the initiative to help team members understand the company’s strategic goals—and how their projects further these goals.”
—Adolfo Jaramillo, PMP, project manager, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland
GET ON THE SAME PAGE
“Ultimately, maintaining strategic alignment is a team effort. I encourage project managers to have conversations with clients and stakeholders, who are essential to aligning projects with business strategy. While it is impossible to agree on every detail, we must be in agreement on strategic goals and how projects are furthering these goals. Strategic alignment will facilitate growth of the business, but only if key stakeholders are on the same page.”
—David Yung, process and project engineer, ADF Engineering, Dayton, Ohio, USA
KEEP IT IN LINE
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A GROUP EFFORT
“It is the responsibility of the project management office (PMO) to make sure resources are appropriately allocated to support the organization’s strategic goals. Each year, the PMO should prepare a roadmap that lays out the company’s strategic vision, identifies and prioritizes goals and objectives that will help achieve this vision, and assigns resources accordingly. It is then the responsibility of project managers to make sure these resources are being used effectively. This harmony between project managers and the PMO will help the organization advance its long-term strategy.”
—Shahzad Sultan Ali, PMI-ACP, PMP, deputy general manager, IT project management office, K-Electric, Karachi, Pakistan
GOVERNANCE IS ESSENTIAL
“Effective project governance is crucial to keeping project outcomes aligned to an organization’s strategy. It provides a way for directors and senior management to exercise effective oversight of projects and ensure their strategies are implemented and their benefits realized. I have worked with multinational oil and gas organizations and managed different types of projects with different challenges. There have been times when a project veers off track, and it appears that outcomes won’t align with strategy. By using robust project governance practices for continuous improvement, we were able to realign project outcomes to the organization’s strategy.”
—Mohamed Kenawy, project manager, T3PM Group, Adelaide, Australia
COMMUNICATE UP AND DOWN
“Before starting any project, I reach out to stakeholders to understand the strategic goals of the project and what parameters they would use to define success. I then record the takeaways from these conversations in project documentation.
During the kickoff meeting with the internal project team, I’ll discuss my findings, address any queries and collect feedback. After this meeting, the team should be very clear on the strategic goals of the project and how it fits into the organization’s overall strategy. I also continuously share relevant feedback with sponsors and senior management, which may not change the outcome of my current project but can be used to refine the strategy at a higher level.”
—Shibu Kurian, PMP, project manager, Concur, Bengaluru, India
UNDERSTAND THE MISSION
“Strategy is the what, and your project is the how. Start by reading any documentation on the organization’s strategy. More importantly, engage with executives involved in crafting the strategy if possible. With the clarity gained, you will be in a good position to evaluate if your project objectives will contribute to attaining the organization’s strategic goals. It’s important for project managers to ensure that all projects address at least one of these goals and set specific, measurable outcomes to help achieve them.”
—Godfrey Mbulo, technical specialist, Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra, Australia
FOLLOW THE PMO
“A PMO is a great foundation to help projects achieve strategic alignment. But if project managers don’t understand how their projects relate to strategy, then the PMO becomes an oversight tool with negligible impact on strategy. The PMO manager should set the context and help project managers understand how the dots connect—meaning the “why” behind the project. Project managers can then help projects stay on strategy by constantly asking how a requirement, objective, change request or deliverable contributes to reaching the business goals.”
—Kim Morrison, PMP, manager, PMO, Western Financial Group, High River, Alberta, Canada
Best Laid Plans
Identifying benefits before a project begins helps organizations better define and measure the strategic impact of projects.
When identified benefits align with an organization’s strategic goals, 80% more projects meet or exceed forecast ROI.
But only 53% of organizations report that identified project benefits are well-aligned with strategic goals.
Aligning identified project benefits with strategic goals leads to:
57% more projects that meet goals/ intents
45% more projects delivered within budget
50% more projects delivered on time
Source: Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth Report: The Strategic Impact of Projects, PMI, 2016
NOVEMBER 2016 PM NETWORK
PM NETWORK NOVEMBER 2016 WWW.PMI.ORG