Connecting your projects to company-wide strategy

Making the connection between your business strategy and project management isn’t easy, but it is necessary if projects are going to serve a purpose and meet inherent business needs. Here are some things you can do to make the connection.

To align business goals with project management (PM), leaders from the enterprise project management office (EMPO) or project management office (PMO) need to be involved in strategic planning sessions alongside senior-level management.

The foundation for overall business success and project initiatives starts here, making it imperative for executive sponsors to be in sync with project leadership out of the gate. By having company and project leadership in lockstep, project success ratios are more likely to increase, and in turn, stand a better chance of supporting company-wide objectives.

Think of the strategy and PM connection in construction terms, where the step of pouring footings and foundations needs to adequately support all other work that follows, and ultimately the final structure — in this analogy, the final structures are the end goals.

Suresh Srinivasan, CTO at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells us, within the NYU IT department there are two key components that link the business strategy and project management.

The first component is building the institutional IT strategy. The business strategy is translated into a pragmatic technology strategy where the sequencing of technology programs are carefully laid paying special attention to both the functional dependencies and technology dependencies.

The second component is leveraging a rigorous portfolio and project management governance process. “Major programs identified in the first step are decomposed into smaller projects and carefully reviewed during the bi-weekly Portfolio Planning Review session. The review involves, financial, technical ( UX, Workflow Design, Architecture, Data, Security, etc.) and operational elements,” says Srinivasan.

“The first step provides strategic focus ensuring business alignment across multiple stakeholders and minimizing the business process risk,” says Srinivasan. “The second step provides execution focus ensuring implementation options (reuse, build, buy, rent decisions, integration, etc. ) are done properly thus minimizing technology risk.”

Make sure everyone knows where they fit into the strategy

Often a business strategy is conceived at the top and never actually makes its way down to the rest of the company, according to Evan Harris, co-founder, and CEO at SD Equity Partners. “The only way to be successful with strategy is if the entire company is aware of it and making sure that all actions that are taken further the business along towards that strategic goal,” he says.

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