Project Management for Strategic Advantage
Projects can be rewarding and even fun to work on, but if a project doesn’t deliver a tangible net benefit to an organization, all that time, effort, and money invested into it is wasted. And for that reason, many organizations rely on a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) process to help them ensure that each and every project they undertake will achieve the desired and expected results. This may seem obvious, but with the amount of scope and complexity that comes along with corporate-level projects, adopting a PPM process is vital.
To become a strategic project manager, the focus of the manager must shift from pure efficiency to completing the task and achieving business results to effectiveness. The project definition is not only about the work to be done, but also about the description of the competitive advantage of the product. Through planning and review, you will be more able to take advantage of project management and win in the market by providing consistent product delivery.
More importantly, companies are developing project management for strategic advantage skills that they can use for their strategic advantage in an ever-changing market, especially in today's business environment. Additionally, project management for strategic advantage consists of projects that aim to develop organizational competencies and skills that contribute to the company's sustainable competitive advantage.
Also, it is an important part of achieving strategic business objectives, which can only win if strategic business objectives align with the project - the management strategy. Although many companies and project managers implicitly use strategic thinking, integrating strategic planning and management into the overall corporate strategy is a real challenge for many organizations.
Learn How to Say “Yes!” or “No!” to Projects
It’s okay to say no once in a while. Seriously, it is. But there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Not all projects that are requested should get the green light for a variety of reasons, and sometimes the project itself checks all the right boxes but the timing is bad.
A formal project intake process helps organizations determine which projects are right for now, right for later, and in some cases just not right for the business. Being able to make this assessment objectively will foster stronger and more trusted relationships with stakeholders.
For projects that do proceed, there is a lot that can change along the way, especially for long-term projects. Budget cuts, changes in strategy, etc. can all influence the direction of a project, and project governance is the process by which you evaluate these challenges to determine if the project can (or should) proceed as planned, be put on hold, or stop it dead in its tracks.
Balancing Project Resources
Rarely (if ever) will one be given a blank check and unlimited resources. It’s even somewhat rare to have dedicated resources working on a project. When resources are split between multiple projects or dividing time between project work on tickets, resource capacity planning helps you balance and align these resources with the needs of the project and other operational needs.
At the start of a project, choosing the correct strategy means choosing one that is compatible with the business strategy. It also means carefully articulating the four components of the project strategy that will contribute to the success and results of the project. A formally defined, articulated and managed project strategy will add a new dimension to the implementation of a project and bring it closer to becoming a competitive weapon for the organization.
Identify Added Value
The concept of organizational project management focuses on the relationship that exists between project management and program management to implement a strategy. Strategic project management is defined as a set of practices, procedures, processes, tools, and behaviors that define the interplay of project management and business practices that benefit the organization in advancing an organization's overall strategic goals. Project management for strategic advantage offers great benefits to organizations that help to identify added value. It is time for organizations to review and improve their functions and act as if strategic project management practices were involved in the selection of projects. There is a need for them to review, enhance or be more strategic in their PM functions and incorporate strategic project management practices into the selection and project.
Enjoying the View
Without monitoring project management for strategic advantage, across the entire project portfolio, on a regular basis, you have a big blind spot. Proper dashboards and reports are your window into what’s happening with all of your projects and allow you to extend a layer of transparency to stakeholders so that everyone can be in the loop on project health, potential risks, and upcoming milestones.
Boston College got rid of its blind spot by teaming up with TeamDynamix. Denis Walsh, Director of Project Planning and Portfolio Governance at the university, said “The ability to have a single repository or system where you can plan, track, and manage the entire portfolio of work is really very valuable.” Just like many customers, Boston College now sees how project dashboards and reports are your window into what’s happening with all of your projects.
They allow you to extend a layer of transparency to stakeholders so that everyone can be in the loop on project health, potential risks, and upcoming milestones. There are several proven techniques and best practices within the company that provide a comprehensive approach to project management for strategic benefits to companies, be it tactical or strategic. Consider tactical considerations and gain control of your environment by improving your understanding of the business environment and its challenges and opportunities.
Program managers focus on understanding and achieving the benefits through a range of projects. They then provide the oversight necessary to ensure that each piece of the project is completed in time to meet the needs of other projects but do not manage the projects themselves. Program managers also work to manage organizational changes and ensure that the benefits transfer to the operations and that processes are in place to maintain the benefits.
This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated with new information.