Home > News & Events > Key Learning #4: Clear Direction, Planning And Strategic Alignment

Key Learning #4: Clear Direction, Planning And Strategic Alignment

Having a clear direction is critical for any team and organisation, not just project teams. Without a clear vision and strategy team members will be confused, reluctant to commit and be at cross-purposes in their activities.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

More importantly, a project's direction must align with organisational strategy.  Without such alignment confusion will reign supreme as will diffusion. Project Managers will find it difficult to gain stakeholder support and obtain resources.

Clarity of direction and vision is essential not only for Project Managers but for Project Sponsors, Steering Committees and all key stakeholders. They must be able to communicate this throughout the organisation.  The best Project Managers I have worked with painstakingly work to ensure everyone is aligned and heading in the same direction.  They go further and gain leverage from the alignment with organisational strategy.  When the direction is clear they set to work on developing a plan to meet the objectives. Of course the best managers involve the team and other critical stakeholders in developing the plan.

To ensure alignment, start with the end in mind and reverse plan the project.  What is trying to be achieved?  When this is clear, work backwards to determine what actions need to occur. Forward planning can result in a flurry of activity at the end to meet a deadline.

In planning the project, understand and address the vision and desired outcomes as well as the unwritten expectations of the organisation. In my experience it seems projects (and Project Manager's career) are often judged, sometimes harshly, on unwritten expectations.

And when all this is clear, identify and monitor the measures of success.  Sometimes these will be tangible, measurable and objective.  Other times they will be subjective and measured only by stakeholder perceptions.

If achieving strategic alignment is a challenge, contact us to find out more about out our  Intelligent Project Teams Programô. We will work with key stakeholders and managers to ensure project success.


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