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4 Questions To Ask About Your Strategic Project Management Process
Think you have your strategic project management system down to a science? Ask yourself these four questions to find out.
There’s no denying the importance of planning, organizing, and managing tasks by importance. It is the crux of productivity and efficient time management, and every organization preaches its importance.
But in recent years, project management has become less of an action, and more of a buzzword. There are loads of articles, books, and software options on the market to help people manage and prioritize their projects, both at work and at home. In this push for employees to become more productive, it seems that the driving force behind project management has been set aside or simply overlooked.
The driving force I’m talking about is strategy. Without a clear alignment between your organizational strategy and your piles of projects, you and your employees are simply wasting time.
To see where you stand with strategic project management, ask yourself the following questions.
4 Questions You Need To Answer About Strategic Project Management
1. “How do we define a project?”
One of the first steps you’ll need to take to understand whether your project management portfolio is optimized is to simply define what a project is in your organization. Wait—don’t roll your eyes at this seemingly obvious step; it’s really important!
There is a huge difference between an organizational objective (or goal), a measure, a project (or initiative), an action item, and “business as usual.” Each of these things is a piece of the project management puzzle, if you will, and have to be put together in the right way in order to work in harmony. (We won’t get into those detailed descriptions here, but the guide below does a great job summarizing them.)
If you can answer this question easily, that’s great. If not, it’s time to gather your team and have a strategy meeting about how your organization defines a project. To get you on the right path, here is our definition:
A strategic project is a key action program developed to achieve your objectives, and close the gap between your measures, performance, and targets.
2. “Are we managing the right projects?”
Once you’ve figured out how your organization defines a project, you have to then figure out whether you are monitoring and managing the right projects. What does that mean?
Well, it means that every project your organization wants to accomplish needs to have a purpose. You can’t just gather a list of projects, critical and minor, and hope that you figure out a way to get them all accomplished. A system like this will result in a loss of time, resources, and employee productivity.
The remedy for this type of situation is understanding whether your projects have a direct connection to your organizational objectives.
3. “How do we prioritize our projects?”
After you’ve defined what a project is and whether you’re managing the right ones, you need a system of prioritization in place. This is vital for the project management process, and is often forgotten.
Prioritization is key because it allows you to delegate the most critical tasks to your team at the right time. If you try to lump all of your projects in the “important” category, your team’s efficiency—and your organization’s bottom line—will take a hit.
4. “Do our projects link back to our strategy?”
If I were to ask you right now to describe your company’s strategy, you may be able to do it. (You would do particularly well at answering that question if your company currently has a Balanced Scorecard in place.) But if I were to ask you how each of your projects are tied into your strategy, would you be able to give me a clear and succinct response? Perhaps—but it’s likely you would struggle.
This question is the final (and arguably the most important) step in the strategic project management process, and is constantly overlooked by managers.
“So, What Now?”
At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Great. Now I know that my portfolio of projects really isn’t integrated with my strategy. Where am I supposed to go from here?”
I’m glad you asked.
We’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is for many organizations to tie their strategy and their projects together, so we’ve come up with a helpful solution: The Project Management Field Guide. Within it, you’ll find:
- Complete, easy-to-understand definitions of objectives, measures, and projects.
- A comprehensive five-step process to help you align your strategy with your projects.
- Loads of helpful hints, tricks, and tips from seasoned project management “pros.”
- Blank templates for our project management process so you can get started with your own right away.
What are you waiting for? Download the free guide below and get started today on your improved (and strategic) project management process.