IT-Business AlignmentProject Portfolio Management

Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Execution

At the nexus of organizational alignment are project portfolio managers, their efforts gluing the two halves of the organization together. To understand how these experts bridge the gap between the executive suite and project teams, Matt Alderton interviews three globally seasoned, mid-level professionals in an article for the Project Management Institute.

These professionals include Amany Nuseibeh, former program / project manager and PMP; Jennifer Buchannan, PMP and product director; and Mohannad Amr, project management officer at a data storage and security firm.

Forcing the Flow

Those tested in the field understand that misalignment equates to loss of investment, as does Amir:

If a project portfolio fails to meet business goals, no matter how successful individual projects are, business and subsequent projects will likely suffer.

In other words, it is impossible to assess value if progress to strategic goals cannot be tracked. Nuseibeh says that strategy has a way of trickling down to each and every individual in the organization. Like oxygen, it must reach the extremities of the organization, which will otherwise atrophy without a connection to strategic value. But let there be no mistake, nothing is “trickling,” without a structured and well disciplined approach from management:

Overall business strategies are usually broken down to smaller strategies, or missions, at the division or department level. Those sub-strategies, in turn, need to be broken down to objectives for teams and groups. Heads of those teams have to also break down their groups’ goals into tasks that can be assigned to individuals.

No Lack of Options

Nowadays, the means through which leaders may communicate strategy to individuals are virtually inexhaustible: face-to-face, chat forums, social media, meetings, emails, workshops, ad infinitum. So if communication isn’t happening, it’s not from lack of options.

The element of timing is important too – as in, do it the right way! Keep the team in the loop from day one and communicate every change from above so they can react accordingly. From the other direction, cautions Buchannan, connect with team member needs so they do not feel caught in a one-way conversation.

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