Kissflow
project-creative-banner-1

8 Project Management Tips to Strategize Projects Better


Projects that support an organization’s strategy may simply be called strategic projects.

Project management plays an important role in business transformation by increasing the efficiency and timeliness of work. Project managers are responsible for planning, monitoring, and executing projects within a designated timeline and budget.

While project management focuses on short-term objectives like staying within budget and meeting deadlines, project management tips for strategies focus on wider business objectives.

Projects that support an organization’s strategy may simply be called strategic projects. They don’t necessarily have to be large; they can be medium or small projects as well. But they should support the organization toward achieving its strategic outcomes.

What is strategic project management?

Strategic project management involves designing and managing a portfolio of projects whose goals support the organization’s strategic mission and objectives. Strategic project managers focus on achieving business outcomes, whereas tactically-managed projects concentrate on getting the work done.

Strategic project management has three components:

1. Strategic analysis

Organizations choose to take up projects that support their mission and work toward meeting their long-term objectives. Since strategic management takes a broad view, the impact of external factors is also considered when choosing projects.

Thus, project managers use business analysis tools like PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental) to identify potential problems and determine the future scope of action.

2. Strategic choice

A strategic choice is made to identify a mix of projects that are appropriate and adequate to deliver an organization’s strategic objectives. These projects should play to the company’s strengths and also be in line with the expectations of stakeholders.

Project managers also identify and make use of external opportunities while avoiding external threats.

3. Strategic implementation

Strategic project management sets three types of goals for the chosen projects:

  1. short-term,
  2. medium-term,
  3. and long-term.

Project managers optimize all the resources and opportunities available, taking into consideration the following:

  • whether people and resources are appropriately assigned to tasks
  • a bird’s eye view of the purpose of projects
  • leveraging of collaborative project management tools

Strategic project management assesses performance in four areas: finance, customer, learning and growth, and internal business processes. Examples of strategic projects are the consolidation of operating companies, acquisition or spin-off of business units, and major overhauls of systems.

Why is it important to strategize projects?

Strategic project management defines the growth path for organizations.

  • It enables teams to reach specific goals and tackle project challenges.
  • It supports better teamwork and greater efficiency, thereby increasing productivity.

When projects run efficiently, they save time and money and generate greater profits.

Thus, there needs to be a close connection between strategic project management and leadership teams.

Strategic project managers ensure the long-term success and profitability of an organization by analyzing market data, improving customer satisfaction, and developing a competitive edge.

ebook-widget
Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Expert insights from an award-winning project expert

Get access now

8 project management tips to strategize projects better

Here are some project management tips to help you strategize better and increase project efficiency.

1. Every objective should have at least one project

Despite being obvious, it needs to be said that every active objective should have at least one strategic project aligned to it. Else, you’re not moving toward achieving the objective.

Depending on the scale of the objective, you may need to set up sub-projects for every parent project to cover its entire project scope.

2. Projects must deliver on objectives

For each business objective, you should be tracking progress and monitoring if you’re delivering on it. You should also study the project mix to identify gaps, if any, and remedy them.

3. Projects should not be redundant

You should study the project portfolio management for each organizational objective and across the strategic plan to determine if every project is necessary to deliver on the objective.

If a project does not contribute toward moving the objective forward, assess if it should be removed or its scope should be reduced. You should question if the project is critical or it’s just a pet project that should be rationalized.

Also, ensure that the scope of projects does not overlap between or within objectives to avoid duplication of effort.

4. Every project should have a clear link to one or more objectives

Each strategic project should be linked to an objective in some way, even if the link is not direct because, say, it’s a sub-project. Linking projects to strategy keeps the scope realistic.

To determine fit, you should be able to link each project to the KPIs it will enhance.

Also, you may find that a project has clear strategic value but it does not align with any of your objectives. It is an indication that leadership teams may need to revisit objectives to see if they’re adequately supporting business aspirations.

Typically, within a project planning cycle, eight to twelve projects are tied to the strategic plan at a specific level within the organization, such as executive-level or operational level.

There will be additional projects at the department level that have a less direct link to the strategic plan and thus will not be discussed by the leadership team.

5. Every project should have an owner

It’s crucial to the success of a strategic project or a portfolio of projects to designate an owner for it. The owner ensures delivery of the project, is responsible for the execution of the project, and must have the authority to get the project completed.

Project owners answer questions like “How do we prioritize our spending?” and “How much money are we spending on this project?”

Thus, they manage budget and resources while ensuring that projects are helping the organization execute its initiatives.

You can make use of Kissflow Project’s customizable project management templates to simplify the management and tracking of your project mix.

6. Projects should be realistically resourced

It is important to identify project requirements because resources (time, money, skills) are key factors that make a project successful.

Define critical milestones within the project to track progress, manage risks, and ensure that team members are contributing adequately toward completion.

You should have a high-level estimate of time, budget, and skills for every project being proposed. It will help you make an informed decision when you’re required to prioritize any one resource.

Also, you should be aware of where the budget for the project is coming from to ensure that it’s adequately funded.

7. Project timelines should align with objectives

When leadership teams set objectives, they may not have analyzed if the timeframe for it is feasible. Thus, when project managers set out to create projects and sub-projects to meet those objectives, a primary area of consideration is the timeline.

If the timeline does not work, then the strategic plan becomes unrealistic. To remedy this, either the projects or the objectives themselves have to be modified.

Projects and objectives should inform each other. If projects become isolated from the strategic plan, they’re less likely to be delivered. Thus, ground-level realities should be

You could make changes in how objectives are prioritized or achieved to support project implementation.

8. Don’t allow operational projects to interfere with your strategic plan

If you allow operational or tactical projects to shift your attention from your strategic plans, it will adversely impact your business outcomes.

Maintain focus on strategic projects to stay aligned to the organization’s objectives.

Similarly, don’t allow strategic projects that have been aligned with objectives to creep into tactical plans and get pushed back or overlooked, making them invisible during tracking.

Conclusion

Strategic project management is not a parallel project management concept. Depending on the structure and processes of the organization, a portfolio of strategic projects supports and aligns with organizational strategy. There are lots of free project management tools that can help you strategize your project better.

With the help of project management software like Kissflow Project, strategic project management combines business strategy with project management techniques to benefit the organization’s efficiency as a whole.

More Resources