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Planning Your IT Transformation Strategy (Part 1)

by Maxson Anthony

This series focuses on preparing you to embark on your transformation journey and help you ask the right questions, understand and accept facts, define realistic goals and consider the right parameters. Most importantly, it helps you establish continuity and sustain such strategies in the long term. The first installment helps you ask the right questions and accept facts.

Topic Teasers Vol. 89: Chasing the Shifting Target

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA

Question: I’ve just been asked to begin to document how my projects and those of three fellow project managers meet the company’s strategic objectives. That’s not really part of what I do at work right now, so I’m embarrassed to admit I understand the term, but have no idea how to prepare what management is expecting. To be honest, that seems a little fuzzy and I prefer to deal with facts and figures. What shall I do?
A. Strategic objectives are marketing magic created to convince stakeholders that an organization is doing well. They are not important to a project manager or a project team, and if assigned you should quickly refuse their care and maintenance. Otherwise, when the company reports do not look good, you will be blamed.
B. While many project managers are familiar with a company having strategic objectives, and even a lucky few are allowed to know what they are for the assigned projects, not many realize that tracking them is very much a numbers game that is well within the skill sets and abilities of most of us.
C. Only the sales team has access to the numbers you would need to create strategic objective reports for upper management. They can manipulate sales numbers to make them look good, so the VP of Sales should ask his staff to capture the data and create the reports.
D. While having strategic objectives sounds good, all that matters is that the project teams are creating the deliverables they are asked to construct or create in the Project Charter. Since you are not involved with choosing them, you cannot fairly be asked to track them throughout the organization as it will take time away from the project work that should be your focus.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Learning & Development: Why It Matters

by Alla Antoniuk

There are many reasons why learning and development departments are vital for organizational success and development. Learning is directly connected to employee performance metrics; it helps people progress in their careers—and the company to move forward faster.

Portfolio Management: Your Next SMART Move

by Jiwat Ram

As organizations become more project-savvy, the concept of portfolio management is gaining some momentum. While inherently complex to set up, manage and measure, a portfolio results in benefits that are worth the pains involved. The question is, what do organizations need to know and do if they wish to take up a portfolio management approach?

The Future Strategy for Your Organization...and You

by Kevin Coleman

Most of you have heard of digital disruption and emerging technologies. The question is, have you internalized the implications and are you preparing for what awaits all of us in the coming years?

Grooming a Successor CIO

by Michael Wood

Yes, it is important! Grooming a successor CIO can create ripples in a tightly cost-controlled budget. Many have weighed in on the challenges CIOs face when trying to identify and groom their successors. Here are 10 major factors that drove this former CIO's eventual identification and selection of his successor.

Disruptive Technology: Good Things...with a Catch

by Michael Wood

Every so often, a technology emerges on the scene that is a game changer for us all. These “disruptive technologies” typically displace an established technology in a way that impacts our daily lives and often give birth to whole new industries.

Project Resources: Appointment or Selection?

by Andy Jordan

The project team can make or break a project; resource assignment can make or break a team. How do organizations ensure the process is effective?

Strategic Project Management: New Skills for the Modern-Day PM

by Ajaykumar Kittur

Developing the business acumen to understand and provide the right feedback to senior leadership to pick and choose the right projects that will help achieve the larger strategic objectives is essential for the modern-day PM. Are you ready for the challenge?

The Politics of Integration (Part 1): Planning

by Andy Jordan

Of of the most significant challenges for PMO leaders is managing relationships across the organization. And as the PMO’s role becomes more and more central to all elements of corporate planning and project delivery, politics inevitably come into play. How do we manage that minefield?

The Strategic Business Analyst

by Andy Jordan

As portfolio planning and the ability to tie strategy to execution grows in importance for organizations, what role can business analysts play to increase effectiveness?

Innovation: The Middle Market Is Where It's At

by Kevin Coleman

Competing in the global marketplace is no easy task these days. So what is the secret for middle-market companies? According to a recent survey, mid-market companies are at the front line of innovation.

Compliance Projects: Fragile, Please Handle with Care!

by Jiwat Ram

By their very nature, compliance projects should be regarded as strategic—as non-compliance could lead to far-reaching implications for business survival and continuity management. But they pose unique challenges for project managers...

Getting It Done: Blame Game

by Grace Willis, PMP, CSM

Look to your organization’s strategy and processes to prevent project failure.

Business Analysis for Emerging Technologies

by Kevin Coleman

Business analysis in support of projects and programs is challenging, to say the least. When you couple the existing challenge with the complexities of new and emerging technology, it adds to the difficulty.

Just Kill It Already!

by Andy Jordan

Many organizations are notoriously bad at cancelling projects, no matter how far removed from their original objectives they become. That’s a problem that has to be solved if an organization is to succeed.

Culture Change Training: Focus on Strategic Initiatives

by Joe Wynne

The PMO is an important force to help keep the focus on strategic initiatives. One way to do this is to support targeted effective workforce training. Your support is only possible if you know what topics effective training includes, especially those topics specific to the PMO role.

Lessons from PMI Global Congress (Part 2)

by Mike Griffiths

This is the concluding installment of Mike's account of attending the recent PMI Global Congress 2016—North America in San Diego. In this article, he shares his thoughts on the other stand-out presentation he attended: Sue Gardener’s “The Future of Work” keynote.

Project Governance: A Matter of Strategy or a Routine Activity?

by Jiwat Ram

Project governance has often been taken as something that is merely strategic in nature. This situation necessitates further discussion about how to make the utility of project governance simple and more applicable for organizations with little to no expertise and foundation in adopting this approach. One way to do that is to look at some of the challenges and work backward to identify solutions.

What Makes an Initiative Strategic? And Why Does It Matter?

by Mark Mullaly, Ph.D., PMP

We hear a lot about strategic initiatives. What we don’t hear about, however, is how and why they get that label in the first place. What makes one project strategic, where another one is just a project? And just what kind of impact does labelling a project “strategic” have on its ability to be successful?

Acknowledging the Two-Tier PM Workforce

by Andy Jordan

The latest evolution of project management is leading to a need for different skills and experience. Project managers are sensing a very real shift in the value that organizations are placing on many of their projects, one that’s going to reduce the sense of self-worth that individuals will have. So what should organizations do about it?

The Untouchables

by Andy Jordan

While the broadest definition of “portfolio” may be all of the organization’s initiatives, there are always a small number of those initiatives that demand the greatest attention and focus. These are the strategic projects that will make or break the organization’s performance.

The Ultimate Strategic Initiative: M&A Projects

by Bruce Harpham

In the corporate world, growth has become difficult for large companies. Buying smaller companies is one solution to that problem. Yet, recent history is littered with examples of M&A projects that started with enthusiasm but ended up destroying value. In this article, the author looks at how PMs can successfully lead mergers--the ultimate in strategic initiative management.

Stakeholder Analysis Worksheet

PREMIUM deliverable

Every project has stakeholders. Your job is to get to know the ones who will be crucial to your project. This analysis worksheet will help you get a feel for what to expect from various key parties who have an interest in your project.

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"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

- Walt Disney