Strategy and Project Alignment Process
There are only two paths to executing strategy, either:
through continued or improved business-as-usual—executed through normal operational and continuous improvement management processes;
through changes to business-as-usual—which you execute through (a portfolio of) projects or programs.
Operational management should manage strategy execution through continued and improved business-as-usual. This is part of their ‘day job’.
Strategy execution through changes to business-as-usual needs to be managed and driven by executive and operational management—assisted by project management specialists in a supporting role.
In many organizations the development of the strategy is viewed as a one time event and project selection and funding is a separate event. However, another approach is to look at project selection as a process that is connected to the execution of the business strategy.
To ensure your limited resources are visibly working on the highest priority projects requires you to have an objective means of scoring and assessing their priority. Most importantly, the process must be both “visible" and “transparent" so that everyone understands the basis of the assessments.
Traditional statements of strategy (including the strategic plan) are mostly too general or inappropriately worded to enable each project to independently assess and ‘score’ its strategic impact or contribution on a basis which allows project scores to be compared. You need to get behind the strategic statements to the strategic drivers and business imperatives that determine the strategy. This isn’t difficult; it just requires an additional process to generate a “Strategic Contribution Assessment Tool" and scoring mechanism. Once developed, the same Framework can be used across the organization to score all projects (of whatever size) on a common basis.