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How to align projects management with your business strategy

Moira Alexander | Dec. 23, 2014
With escalating global competition and complex operating environments, C-level executives will increasingly need to call on their project management offices to ensure all activities align with the overall strategic vision of the business.

Ultimately, companies may need to consider transitioning from a traditional business unit PMO model to an enterprise project management office (EPMO) that focuses all efforts on executing projects in alignment with overall business strategy.

According to PMI's research, statistically EPMOs are capable of improving portfolio reporting services by 20 percent, strategic alignment services by 23 percent, confirmation of strategic priorities by almost 10 percent and project alignment with strategic objectives by 10 percent.

Transitioning to an EPMO

According to Gartner, by 2017 senior executives in most of the largest companies in America will rely on EPMOs to implement companywide strategies and remain innovative. Today's PMOs need to prepare for the transition to an EPMO model to keep pace with increasing competition.

To ensure strategic objectives are met throughout project lifecycles, businesses and PMOs will need to take the following steps:

Planning and initiation. Businesses need to consider setting up an EPMO for the purpose of ensuring all business units are undertaking initiatives that tie to overall strategic goals. Moreover, EPMO participation is critical in companywide planning sessions in order to transform the traditional PMOs into high-performing teams that deliver significant value. This will also help to establish a shared vision.

Monitoring activities, resources and performance. Throughout project implementations, it will become critical for EPMO leaders and senior executives to work closely together to maintain alignment between projects and overall business goals. In working together, part of the dialogue should include establishing key performance indicators to communicate and measure what matters to the company.

Close-out. Going forward, it will be equally important at the end of each project for PMOs and senior executives to quantify the success rates of projects in relation to companywide objectives and determine what changes may be required for future projects to keep the business moving in the right direction. Gaining an understanding of the lessons learned is part of the formula for success.

Senior executives will also need to view their EPMO as a strategic partner that reports directly to the executive team, and not solely as a project-based business unit. When the PMO is allowed full access to the executive team and vice versa, this can help ensure alignment is achieved at all levels of the business.

As it becomes more difficult for businesses to compete, shareholders will continue to expect more from all areas of business, and this means that EPMOs will need to become fully immersed in the direction of the business. Going forward, they will also need to modify contributions to become exceptionally efficient and effective, and can expect increasing accountability. C-suites will have to prepare EPMOs for the transformation into high-performance teams ready to keep up with changing economic conditions, and work closely with them to develop activities that support strategy and raise the success rate of companywide projects.


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