Project Management

3 Ways to Become a Strategic Project Manager

It doesn’t take a genius to know that business is headed in new directions these days. But achieving strategic alignment does require a new approach to project management. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Dave Wakeman explains why the project manager is the most overlooked opportunity for IT and offers three steps to help PMs get it right:

  1. Always jump to “why?”
  2. Examine the business environment surrounding your organization and project.
  3. Think in terms of outcomes.

Strategy & You

If no one in the organization is asking “Why?” then it’s time to start asking why! A project implementation is only as good as the strategy backing it. If a potential project looks like a stinker right from the start, it’s your job as a strategic PM to squash it, or to at least question its feasibility. Be ready to recommend alternatives as well. Due to your closeness to changes and technology that create opportunities, the truth is that as PM, you’ve got the best vantage point to assess the constitution of each project coming down the line:

The key is to stop thinking about just your individual project, and begin to think about how your project plays in the overall strategy. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, you should step into the conversation about how the project is working or not working with the organization’s strategy. But be prepared to explain how you got there and how you can get things back in order.

The management style of a PM in a project-based organization should be one of outcomes. As the workforce transitions into one of off-site teams and employees who crave more work-life balance, the PM of tomorrow will be ever more pressed to contemplate context. How can you best leverage and coordinate communication for the success of the project?

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