How to Ensure Projects are Aligned with Business Strategy

communicate business strategy to align project work

5 Steps to Communicate Business Strategy to Project Teams

As we discussed in our last article, “Why Projects Must be Aligned with Business Strategy”, there are many benefits to be achieved from ensuring that project work is selected for the value it adds to a business. However, for project work to fully align with business strategy organisations must avoid the mistake of not keeping project managers and project teams abreast of the business strategy. How can valuable project work be delivered if the project teams do not understand the business goals?

Poor Communication Leads to Poor Projects

Communication plays and essential role in project management, but too often a business fails to fully communicate business strategy to the project manager and project team. When business strategy is unclear, project teams can deliver projects that have no value or are even damaging to the business. Resources and money are wasted.

To avoid this, it is crucial that a project manager understands the strategy and goals of the business. They must understand business context to bring meaning ton project work. Without sight of the goal, project managers are effectively blindfolded. Try reaching the finish line of a marathon with no sight of it.

The question is, how can organisations ensure that business strategy is communicated effectively to project managers and their teams?

5 Steps to Communicate Business Strategy

1.      Envelope the business strategy in project management policy

Ensure that the business strategy is a compulsory piece of project management strategy, and that each project is reviewed in line with business strategy.

2.      Link project outcomes to the business strategy

The outcomes and project products must support the business strategy. Projects should not be initiated simply because they will be profitable.

3.      Employ effective project management governance

Project work should be governed effectively, employing best practices and a project management framework to control the project. The Prince2 framework validates the project at each milestone throughout the project lifecycle, and ensures that the project delivers projects that align with the business case.

4.      Review the project regularly

As per Prince2, projects must be reviewed regularly. Updates should be provided to project stakeholders, with milestone outcomes monitored against measurable criteria. Only by challenging outcomes can the project manager and the business assess whether the project remains viable and aligned to current business strategy.

5.      Communicate effectively

Establish communication protocol ahead of project work. It is essential that business leaders remain accessible to project managers, and that contact between them is regular. If business strategies and goals change, the project manager should be informed. This will enable projects to stay aligned with evolving strategy, with project goals shaped accordingly.

Cascade Strategy – The Project Manager’s Responsibility

Projects that are aligned to business strategy are more likely to deliver their expected outcomes. Those projects that don’t add value to the business are more easily identified and eliminated, and high value projects will be prioritised.

If the project manager has little knowledge and understanding of business strategy, focus may be given to low level projects. This wastes resources, and delivers poor results.

To achieve the many benefits of project alignment – such as deeper executive sponsorship, better resource allocation, greater project success, etc. – it is the responsibility for the project manager to cascade information to the project team. This should include business strategy. Only by knowing why a project is being undertaken can project team members become fully engaged i n its success.

To ensure your projects benefit from better outcomes and greater success, contact Your Project Manager today:

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