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Monday, March 05, 2012

Organizational Strategy and Project Plans

We have a strategic plan where I work, however we don't have a portfolio planning office to manage the output of the strategic plan (the projects). A strategic plan is basically an outline for a list of strategic projects. Strategic projects are focused on mid and long term goals and are authorized by senior management. Without a strategic planning office there is not an effective strategic plan, and a strategic plan that isn't effective isn't worth the paper it is printed on.

According to some research, 50-80% of strategic plans never come to fruition. I would bet that most of these failed strategic plans were due to organizations not having a strategic planning office. As I mentioned, my organization has a strategic plan, and while well thought out, it doesn't appear to be very effective at consistently delivering measurable results. I say this because I don't see a project portfolio or list of strategic projects, and there is no organization to oversee these projects at the enterprise level. Also, the projects that do come out of our strategic plan aren't usually very S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resource Constrained/Relevant, Time-bound.

If your projects aren't S.M.A.R.T they aren't worth planning and executing.
Organizations, especially local governments, can tweak and refine their strategy over time. This can be due to the ever changing political winds, environmental factors, customer demands, changing priorities, resource constraints, a lack of political will, or executive apathy, but more often it is because of a lack of an enterprise project management focus. Whatever the case, a strategic planning office can help an organizations focus on what is important in regards to the management of strategic projects.

When thinking about strategic projects think about the following:
  • How the projects will be selected?
  • How the projects will be funded?
  • How the projects will be monitored and reported against?
  • How will project audits be conducted?
  • Who sponsors the projects?
One final thing, review PMI's OPM3 (Organizational Project Management Maturity Model) to help you transform your organization's strategy into action, and remember the Strategic Planning Circle - Strategy ---> Ideas ---> Projects ---> Change

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