How to Align Your Project To Business Strategy

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It’s important that your projects align with the business strategy of the organization you’re working to support, and Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you how.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

business strategy and projects must align

In Review: How to Align Your Project To Business Strategy

Jennifer started the tutorial noting why it’s important to align your project to core strategic goals of the operation you are working to support. 

There are two key reasons to remember: first, seeking to align your project with the organizational goals allows you to understand the larger operational context. This can help you on a project-level, to spot potential road-blocks, as well as to be able to articulate your value within the organization.  

Second, understanding the goals allows you to execute on them so you can support the strategic goals of the organization you’re working to support. That’s good for them, and it’s good for you! 

Next Jennifer examined two different types of organizational structures: the first is a traditional enterprise and the other is “project-driven” enterprise. Now, by “enterprise” we don’t mean corporate enterprise. It simply means, are you structured in a traditional fashion or do you have a project-focused operation, no matter your type of organization.

It’s important to understand the different types of organizational structures, and which type of structure you’re operating within. Let’s look at the difference between the two:

Traditional Enterprise

Strategic goals > Corporate initiatives > Organizational functions > Tactical operations

Projects are not always aligned in a traditional enterprise. In order to create alignment, you need to:

  1. Review all current and future projects;
  2. Develop a systematic approach to prioritizing all projects; and
  3. Align projects to the strategic goals for the business strategy.

“Project-Driven” Enterprise

Strategic goals > Programs > Projects > Initiatives

Projects are aligned. But in order to maintain alignment you need to:

  1. Review all strategic goals for the business strategy;
  2. Develop a systematic approach to initiate and prioritize projects to align to business strategy; and
  3. Evaluate and repeat on a regular basis.

Pro-Tip: A PMI-sponsored Economist Intelligence Unit study notes little more than half of businesses strategic initiatives have been successful. And these are execs who say such initiatives are essential! Therefore, you must follow through by prioritizing, being accountable and realizing the plan.

Take it further: Several of our contributors have explored the different aspects of adding value through strategic alignment:

Thanks for watching!

Video Transcription

Today we’re talking about how to align your project to business strategy. First, we’ll review why it’s so important to align your project and the benefits. We’ll also review two different types of organizational structures and how you would go about aligning your project, depending upon which organization you’re in. So, first of all, let’s talk about the why.

Today, we talk a lot about sitting at the table. By aligning your project to the business strategy, that’s one way to ensure that you, as the project manager, are sitting at the table and not waiting on the annual report to come out for you to understand what’s happening in your company. The benefit of that for you is that allows you to speak the language of business.

The second reason why we want to align is it provides a mechanism that allows you to map your project and support the strategic goals. And the benefit of that is it allows your project to contribute directly to the corporate vision. And then the third reason why is, it becomes a playbook to anticipate the market trends. As we see, almost on a daily basis, the market trends are changing, and world events happen that change the priority of our projects. And with that being able to do this, the benefit is, it allows your company to become more agile and competitive.

So let’s look at two different types of organizational structures, and you’ll need to identify which one is yours. First of all, there’s the traditional enterprise where the business strategy sets the strategic goals, which spawn the corporate initiatives, the organizational functions and the tactical operations. In the traditional enterprise, the projects aren’t necessarily aligned, but there is a way that we can go back and align them as the project manager.

In the project-driven enterprise, the business strategy sets the strategic goals, which then spawn the programs, the projects, and the activities. So determine which one you’re in. For a traditional enterprise, the way that we go about aligning is, review all the projects, the current ones and even the future ones. Then develop a systematic approach to prioritize these.

Once you get them prioritized, then you begin aligning to the business strategy. In the project-driven enterprise, which we all want to move forward to, the approach that we do there is, you review all of the business strategy, the goals for the company. Then you develop a systematic approach to initiate and prioritize those projects. And then, basically, you continue to evaluate and repeat on a regular basis.

So as you can see, aligning your project to the business strategy does have benefits. It allows you to speak the language of business, your project to contribute to the corporate vision, and, more importantly, your company to become more agile and competitive.

So if you need a tool that can help you align your project to the business strategy, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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