Project Portfolio Management

How to Derive Projects from Strategy

Everything begins with strategy. Strategy leads the way. What it does not necessarily do is answer all of the “how” questions involved in realizing it. In a post for Strategy Execution, Elizabeth Harrin shares some advice for how to derive actionable projects from an established strategy.

From Nothing, Something

Whether your corporate strategy exists in a PowerPoint presentation or as a fat stack of paper, it has some big key points somewhere. These are the underlying themes of the strategy, and each one may be broken down into fertile soil for projects. For each strategic theme, you should take these steps:

  1. Define the leading indicators.
  2. Choose the measures.
  3. Set the targets.
  4. Define the project.
  5. Join the projects up.

Leading indicators are valuable for understanding operational effectiveness because they can be tracked in real time. They just incur less risk than other indicators, which is always a good thing. You can then choose your measures accordingly.

After that, you are ready to set the targets to be achieved, which, in tandem, will realize project strategy. These targets should be clear and precise, as they will become a foundation for the business case. Projects will be spun out of and defined by these targets that must be met.

About joining projects up at the end, Harrin adds this:

Once you have done this exercise for all the strategic themes, you’ll potentially have a lot of possible projects. I think there is value in joining it all up again. Take a big picture view of how the strategy breaks down and take the time to review and prioritise the projects that you have identified. Some might not be that important, given the wider view. Others may jump to the top of the pile as the critical activities to kick off in the next quarter.

Accomplishing all of this is not as easy as a quick explanation makes it out to be, but it must be done all the same. The strategy depends on it!

For additional elaboration on these ideas, you can view the original post here:

John Friscia

John Friscia was the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success from 2015 through 2018. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and grew in every possible way in his time there. John graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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