As I have been working through and delivering my new strategic planning and execution workshop, one of the key benefits to strategic planning that keeps raising its head is what I will call “Small Project Portfolio Control”.
A solid strategy will help keep those pet projects or last minute “let’s just build it” projects from getting to the table. If it doesn’t fit into the strategy, it doesn’t happen. Our road map will clearly define the work that needs to be done, by whom, how and when and so that new ideas must be held up to the map and judged for its connectivity to the plan.
Most organizations have a ’Project Portfolio Control’ process that deals with the large multi-million dollar projects. These are not the problem. It’s all the small pet projects that fly under the radar in so many environments that can do a lot of damage.
Many organizations will complain that resource allocation and management is so difficult because of the tug and pull from different camps, divisions and even individual leaders who think that they can pull resources away for their ‘pet projects’ or ‘new idea’. One, once in a while, is fine. But typically, these small projects start to add up and put a real strain on our production engine.
So our strategic plan, or road map, helps keep us all in line – at all levels. It produces, as a natural output, a list of work to be done in order to achieve our goals. And here is where the ‘strategy execution’ piece falls into place. Most organizations will run off and start to implement the plan without any thought of the process. But with a strong engine driving the execution of the plan, things won’t fall off the rails. Your Small Project Approval process can become a key ingredient to that execution engine.
If it doesn’t fit the plan it does not get done. No exceptions.
However, you might say, the strategic plan deals with such a big picture. How can it control the multitude of projects that lie underneath the radar? That radar should be scaled down to all parts of the organization.
Every division, department or cluster should have its own strategic plan. You have a budget of $X,000,000 for the year, a team of X people and certainly a finite time frame. You need a plan and that plan should be driven by a ‘Small Project Approval’ process. All work, all projects and all initiatives must go through this door.
So, look at your organizational strategic plan. Build your own from the branches of this one. Once you have a plan, outline the work that needs to get done to make it happen. Feed it all into your ‘Small Project Approval’ process and go to work confident that a process is in place that will keep you on track and heading in the right direction.
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