Project Management

Adding project managers into strategy planning can bring a dose of reality

Steve Hendershot

left on the outside, many project managers have conjured up their own idea of how strategic planning meetings work: Executives huddle around a conference table, plotting projects that will be executed easily, under budget, ahead of schedule and aligned to the organization’s vision.

In that scenario, project managers are the killjoys, the ones pointing out details and complexities that challenge that rose-colored glasses view.

Obviously, not every high-level organizational planning discussion must include an on-the-ground project manager. Indeed, too many details offered too early in the process can clutter the conversation—a reality that many project managers acknowledge.

“Project managers are needed to make things happen. They should not be involved in ‘what will we do in the future?’ discussions,” says Pablo Lulinski, PMP, a former IT project portfolio manager at telecom Verizon, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

But when organizations head too far down the project portfolio planning road without considering a project manager’s in-the-trenches expertise, they too often end up with a strategy that is more fanciful than feasible. The PMI 2012 PMI Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report: Portfolio Management study found that organizations that frequently have managers focused on achieving strategic goals (and not just …

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