Implementing Strategy through Key Projects and Project Portfolios
MCE helps you manage key projects, from the Programme Office to Individual Departments
Do you sometimes review your project portfolio and feel overwhelmed by the number of projects at any given time? Do you sometimes wonder why some projects are even on the agenda?
Implementation of strategy requires a portfolio of aligned projects that support the strategy. Selecting “the right projects” is critical for making your strategy a reality. Are your projects going in every direction, or is time and effort being focused on the projects that most directly impact implementation of the strategy? Then, the portfolio and the projects need to be managed.
Focusing on the Right Projects
As projects become more complex – across functions, across geographies, involving multiple suppliers or customers – it becomes even more important to ensure your managers’ attention and resources are being invested in the most important strategic projects.
Managers need to ensure alignment of projects to strategy. Executive sponsorship is essential to the success of any project in terms of being delivered on budget and on time with the desired results. Too many strategic projects run like underground projects while senior management attention is tied up in high-profile, but less strategic projects.
A Home for Strategy
Strategy needs to be broken down into several key projects in order to succeed. The Strategy House provides a good overview of which projects need to stay at the forefront of senior management attention, so that the strategy can be implemented. Everyone in the company can see how those projects are linked to the Mission, Vision and Customer Value Proposition. A one-page summary is easy to communicate and remember, easy to track and manage, and provides a way to tie together the complex details behind each project. The Strategy House is regularly revisited and monitored to make sure the strategy is on track.
The Strategy House
More information about the Strategy House
The roof of the house shows the overriding goals to which everything else has to be aligned.
Mission: The Mission defines the fundamental purpose of an organization or an enterprise. It describes why the organization exists and what it does. A mission can last for many years, for the life of the organization or may change as demanded by the business environment and organization’s direction and understanding of itself. A mission is NOT an objective with a timeline, but rather the overall goal that is accomplished over the years as objectives are achieved.
Vision: The Vision defines the desired or intended future state of an organization in terms of its fundamental objective and/or strategic direction. Vision is a concrete objective or aspiration toward which the organization can work. Think of the Vision is a newspaper headline that announces the organization’s achievement at a target date in the future.
Customer Value Proposition: What we do, for whom we do it, and in which competitive environment. In order to achieve your vision, why should customers prefer you over your competitors? There can be several different Customer Value Propositions within a company that support a single Mission and Vision, different value propositions for different customer segments. But then you need a separate Strategy House for each value proposition because the goals and actions will be different for each one. (Note – “customers” in the public sector are not the beneficiaries but the funders, who want to see a social result for their investment)
Must-Win Goals: A description of high-level must-win goals to achieve your vision and customer value proposition, expressed in SMART format.
Must-Do Actions: Clearly articulated statement(s) of how each goal will be achieved - i.e. implementation strategies
Individual Tasks: Translation of strategies into key projects which drive strategy implementation
Key Metrics: The few critical measures that tell you whether or not you are achieving your goals
Key Milestones: These are the concrete, progressive steps on the way to achieving your Vision and Customer Value Proposition. What will you have achieved by what date. Include reviews at key milestones. Celebrate successes and determine how to get back on track for missed milestones.
Values: Shared understanding, expectations, and beliefs that drive behaviour of the people in the organization and underpin how objectives will be achieved. Values are the foundation make up the culture and the code of ethics. They are “the way we do things around here”. Values can be vague and interpreted in different ways, so values must be translated into defined behaviours. For example: by Professionalism we mean keeping commitments, starting and ending meetings on time, and keeping current with technical expertise.
Manage the Implementation of Strategy through a Portfolio of Projects
Developing a portfolio management approach is vital for ensuring that strategic projects stay on track. Strategic objectives are translated into projects and managed continuously. They are revisited and revised regularly as conditions in the business environment change and information feeds back from front line implementation.
Establish a Project Management Office
Many organizations are now establishing a Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO supports projects, tracks timing, budget and scope, while keeping an eye on the strategic needs of the organization. So PMOs need to be aligned closely with the company’s goals and strategy. Senior management needs to create a clear scope statement to give the PMO a clear mandate in order to build a strategically aligned action plan with meaningful targets and milestones.
Continually Manage for Quality and to Reduce Risks
Your people may have the basic skills and fundamental knowledge they need to manage strategic projects. But things can still go wrong. Costs can increase, deadlines can slip, and all of this can have a negative impact on quality.
Deliver On Time and On Budget
The “black hole” regarding cost and time in projects is unacceptable. Managers have to be able to predict costs, timings and make sure that their projects stay on track! There are tools to manage project cost and time, to identify when you are getting off track, and to get back on again.
Managing Quality in Projects
It’s not enough to deliver the project on time and on budget. Results count even more. The project has to deliver exactly to meet specifications, with a focus on quality. This is especially true for projects you deliver to clients, and even more so now that global competition is increasing. Good enough is not good enough anymore. Whether your company subscribes to ISO standards, or has its own quality criteria, you have to be able to manage projects to deliver on quality levels.
Managing Risk in Projects
Anticipating and project risk and building in safeguards and contingency plans are key skills in major projects. Sponsors and customers don’t want any bad surprises. A project plan without a solid risk analysis and mitigation plan is a dangerous way to manage.
Many businesses provide complex custom-made solutions to their clients. And this requires a client project team to deliver. Managing the team, the project, and the relationship with the client is critical to ensuring the client is delighted with the solution and will be prepared to enter or a continue a long-term, profitable relationship with your company.
IT Projects – Essential to Strategy Implementation
CIO magazine recently surveyed 500 CIOs for the top skills required from their teams. Project management and process management were at the top of the list. Computer Weekly found that the need for IT project managers is growing faster than the market. Lower-level tasks are frequently outsourced. But the work done inside the company requires more professional project management skills.
Project-Manage Strategy Implementation
Project management is now a central part of every manager’s job. Routine jobs hardly exist anymore. Routine processes are automated or outsourced. The real work of managers in every discipline is about managing projects. In practical terms, that means more people need to have the knowledge and skills to manage projects.
In order for companies to implement strategy, they need to ensure that the people on key projects and related sub-projects have professional-level project management skills. This will help to ensure that work is done and goals are accomplished smoothly.
Most managers are expected by their companies to deal with a large number of complex implementation projects. Too often, they are expected to deliver results without a foundation of project management skills and tools to help them achieve it all. Statistics show that many of these managers fail – 84% of all projects are either over budget, delivered late or do not meet specifications.
Professional project management requires technical proficiency in a methodology such as PMBOK® or Prince 2®. It also requires people management skills. Project managers need to be good at both.
Talk to MCE about Implementing your Strategy through a Portfolio of Projects
MCE's Senior Associates
Our Senior Associates can work with management teams or individual managers to address all of the people and change management challenges facing industries, businesses and organizations today. They draw on their years of experience in top managerial and leadership roles to help you solve problems and identify "what works" in different circumstances, countries and cultures. Above all, they have led their people through the challenges of developing new capabilities and working in a different way. They apply their expertise in a wide variety of services, including:
Open Enrolment Workshops for Individual Managers
Every business professional—and every business—is dealing with constant change and long-term uncertainty. Having robust skills in multiple areas reduces uncertainty and opens up a whole new world of possibilities for success. That’s why thousands of people have turned to MCE for professional development that moves their skills to a higher level—fast. MCE’s development programs focus on personal relevance—how YOU benefit. Guided by expert course leaders, you will learn new skills with a small group of peers from various industries and a diversity of cultures. You will be ready to integrate new knowledge and ideas the very next day.
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Programmes and Project Portfolios to Implement Strategy
Managing Risk, Costs, Time and Quality
Project Management Skills
Develop your ability to meet tomorrow’s challenges and adapt successfully to changing conditions.
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In-Company Leadership and Management Development Workshops
Customized to Your Specific Needs. Talented managers and leaders in key roles make all the difference in taking smart decisions and leading strategy implementation to success. Identifying talent potential and developing that talent to take on greater responsibilities is crucial for ensuring leadership succession as the older generation retires. MCE can help you with talent assessment, pipeline planning, and tailoring career path plans to achieve your future senior management needs.
Your future leaders need to understand your business, the broader business environment, how to make strategic business decisions, and how to lead and manage people in complex organizations. They need a cross-functional understanding of how the organization works together to get things done. We can customize a programme to run exclusively in your company for your future senior managers.
Increase the ability of your managers and leaders to meet tomorrow's challenges and adapt successfully to changing conditions.
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Business Coaching and Mentoring
MCE senior associates provide flexible one-on-one mentoring and coaching to key people in your organization at middle or senior levels. MCE associates mentor and guide based on their own business experience. This can be on a particular business issue or project, or for general career development. It could be about filling a knowledge gap in a specific area in preparation for taking on a more senior role.
Move your career to a new level with an MCE Mentor or Business Coach.
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Advice on Organizational Development and Talent Management
Your people are your most expensive asset. Success depends on making sure this asset is productive. An important part of this is developing your people in the competencies related your your strategy. MCE can work with you flexibly and in a variety of formats. Management Centre Europe can help you custom-design a development curriculum for the individual managers in your leadership pipeline.
For management learning and management academies, MCE can help you lay the foundation and get started. We can help you decide what your curriculum should be in support of your strategy and learning and development needs. We can also supply content for your curriculum. For corporate universities and management academies that are commercializing their programmes for an external market, MCE can help you with strategy, business model, curriculum planning, content and launch.
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