Improving Project Selection

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

Project initiation decisions live in the space between strategy and project management. To ensure the right strategic initiatives are supported, organizations need to reframe how these decisions are made, be it politics or processes. Here’s an executive-level roadmap with critical questions to begin a reality check.

The previous two articles have explored how individuals can improve their ability to be effective in supporting the initiation of a single project. You may be the project shaper, championing the initiation of a project. Or you may be the executive (or executive team) actually deciding to proceed with a project opportunity. In either instance, the focus so far has been primarily transactional, getting one project idea off the ground and successfully having someone buy into proceeding with it.

The challenge is how to bring this up to organizational scale. In other words, how can you rethink how your organization considers how it initiates its projects? For the organization that endeavors to be strategically focused and wants to optimize the use of its staff and investments, this is a critical question. Project initiation decisions live in the middle space between strategy and project management. Getting these decisions right is critical in ensuring the most important and highest priority projects get underway, while those of lower priority are deferred, or …

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