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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Strategic Planning and Other Myths

Are your completed projects adding value to the organization? Was an ROI calculated for the project during or prior to Project Initiation? Did the project benefits ever come to fruition?

Virtually all projects - unless mandated by law or born out of technical or business necessity - should either reduce costs or increase efficiency. One way to ensure the organization will be working on the right projects at the right time is to involve the executives up front in aligning, prioritizing, and ranking proposed projects, and then ensuring they link to the Strategic Plan. If the proposed projects do not align to your organizations strategic goals then they should not be undertaken.

If your organization is good at Strategic Planning, you can avoid many of the traps that plague most organizations.

Poor Strategic Planning Traits:

There is no formal document that links the organization's projects to the organization’s strategic goals and plan.

Senior Management is not engaged in strategic planning, which leads to complaining later about how long it takes to get projects completed and frustration over why certain projects were cancelled or not started.

Projects are started without enough resources or have poorly qualified resources assigned to them.

Many projects that are completed do not achieve any improvements and actually end up costing the organization more money than if they had not undertaken the project.

Project priorities continually change, and resources are always in flux or in conflict with competing organizational needs

Project Managers have low morale and are pessimistic about achieving their project objectives

Executives have set measures that relate to their silos, which can conflict with what is best for the organization

Business plans ignore systems that are broken or in need or repair/replacement

Poor strategic planning almost always leads to undertaking wasteful projects. Even a good strategic plan will not be successful if the organization does not have the right people, tools, and data in place to support the organization's goals.

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