Translating Strategy into Projects

Once the strategy has been determined and has been approved by the company executive team, the responsibility of the project success does not fall only at the feet of the project manager. The chief executive officer (CEO), chief information officer (CIO), directors, functional management, and staff all have specific tangible and intangible roles in the project. In this manner, mutual expectations can be met and benefits realized. For a successful transition from strategy to project, the business must have in place

Agreement on what needs changing, and why (this should be clearly supported by the project sponsor);

A common "language" for analyzing and describing requirements, based on a shared understanding of the business processes across "client," purchasing, and information systems (IS) departments (don't assume this is the case);

Agreed processes that involve the users in the selection and design of systems solutions (consider making a "client," rather than an IS specialist, the program manager responsible for delivering the business benefits);

■ The support of a skilled, experienced technology project manager.

Each and every project should have some sort of a mission. The mission identifies the client's requirements and clearly defines the purpose of the project. A project's mission must be completed for success of the project. Objectives define the success criteria for the project. The objectives relate directly to the completion of the project's mission. Completing all of the objectives should accomplish the project's mission. Measurable objectives provide a method of quantifying the results and establishing quality standards to evaluate the success of the project. Figure 1.3 illustrates the need for strategic thinking on a typical project.

Figure 1.3: The basic beginnings of strategy on a project life cycle
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