PMI-Montréal project management blog

Corporate strategy and project portfolio management: from selection to prioritization. Why does it so often go wrong?

Author : Henri-Jean Bonnis

Let us assume that our reader knows what a project is.

And, if the company has more than one project, that our reader also understands the concept of project portfolios.

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In theory, project portfolio management should ensure alignment between a company’s strategic vision and the achievement of its objectives. But what actually happens? Why is there so often a misalignment between a companies’ strategic evolution and the projects that should help it achieve its strategic objectives?

 

First observation: every strategy is a vector of change that requires a project to bring it to fruition.

 

Second observation: every project has an impact on the company's human and financial resources.

 

Third observation: a strategy’s broad guidelines are rarely considered when prioritizing the project portfolio. 

 

Fourth observation: strategic decision-makers are rarely accountable for the implementation of these projects.

 

What can we do to help our portfolio managers? Understand the strategic impact of projects on the organization.

 

  1. Decrease the volatility of objectives related to project deliverables: the scope, need identification and performance indicators must all be quantifiable.
  2. Ascertain at the outset that strategic directions necessarily involve change.
  3. These changes must be centrally managed in project mode in order to understand the challenges related to team saturation and the organization’s capacity to deliver projects, and to better align the transformation.
  4. Ascertain that project selection determines project portfolios and resource allocation.
  5. Keep in mind from the outset that the project will be transferred to operations.

 

Among the main reasons for project failures, the lack of support from senior management is a recurring issue, as is the lack of decision-making authority of the managers responsible for project delivery. It is therefore essential to create an environment where strategic decision-makers are accountable for projects resulting from their decisions and where they contribute to the approval process for project selection. 

The project office must inform decision-making by collecting information and acting as a semaphore in the organization. It must also provide the human and methodological resources required to carry out cross-cutting changes in the organization. Finally, it must ensure that the project’s operational transfer is at the core of the project and not an after-thought.

 

What do you think?

 

 

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