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A Key Responsibility of a Project Manager Is to Understand the Business Goals and to Make Sure There Is Alignment With the Project Objectives": Why You Think This Is Important?

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Often we want all the moving parts to connect together in our business. We want everything and everybody rowing in the same direction together. This is not always easy to accomplish. In today’s competitive climate with global competition we need to break down internal barriers and align the strategic thinking and goals and objectives of our departments. The starting point is to ensure that you have developed the key strategic vision and mission along with our strategic agenda items. Once that is complete alignment planning as part of the strategic planning process can be embraced.

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Without it, what holds the team and client together? And without it, who is left to navigate through the ups and downs, clashes and catastrophes of projects? Great project management means much more than keeping project management’s iron triangle in check, delivering on time, budget, and scope; it unites clients and teams, creates a vision for a successful project and gets everyone on the same page of what’s needed to stay on track for success. When projects are managed properly, there’s a positive impact that reverberates beyond delivery of ‘the stuff’. Why Is Project Management Important? Project management is important because it ensures what is being delivered, is right, and will deliver real value against the business opportunity. Every client has strategic goals and the projects that we do for them advance those goals. Project management is important because part of a PM’s duties is to ensure there’s rigor in architecting projects properly so that they fit well within the broader context of our client’s strategic frameworks

Good project management ensures that the goals of projects closely align with the strategic goals of the business. Of course, as projects progress, it is possible that risks may emerge, that turn into issues or even the business strategy may change. But a project manager will ensure that the project is part of that realignment. Project management really matters here because projects that veer off course, or which fail to adapt to the business needs may end up being expensive and/or unnecessary.

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Effective measurement must be an integral part of the management process. For each strategic objective, the organization creates appropriate measures, and an associated target. Projects may then be designed and implemented to meet each objective. Measures must be focused on moving the company forward (Kaplan & Norton, 1992). In the same way that the Strategy Map encompasses the entire Vision, each objective should be wholly addressed by the measures behind it. That doesn't mean having dozens of small measures, but rather define a few larger measures for each objective. These measures include incremental, medium, and long term targets, though the organization may not have all levels for all strategies (Niven, 2002, p 181). Traditionally, project management has focused on tactical measures. The project is on time, on budget, risks and issues are properly addressed

Tracking and reporting on such tactical measures are critical to good project governance. Strategic measures are how the organization knows that it is working on the right things. Even areas that don't seem inherently tied to strategy, such as a simple maintenance project, can free up funds for new development. If described in those terms, more value will be recognized in a project. Risks should be described in terms of impact on strategic objectives, not just project status. Strategic measures may address elements such as resource optimization, cycle time, customer retention and governance (Alleman, 2003). As project managers, cost and schedule are primarily measured as lagging indicators. What has happened and when? For proper execution, the project needs to also measure leading indicators. A leading indicator, if promptly reacted to, can change the outcome of the strategic objective it influences. For a leading indicator to be effective, it needs to be continuously measured, not just at the end of large phases, so corrective action is possible.

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In essence, if project staff members do not know what their tasks are, or how to accomplish them, then the entire project will grind to a halt. If you do not know what the project staff is (or often is not) doing, then you will be unable to monitor project progress

Finally, if you are uncertain of what the customer expects of you, then the project will not even get off the ground. Project communication can thus be summed up as knowing “who needs what information and when” and making sure they have it.

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Alleman, G.B. (2003, October) Using Balanced Scorecard to Build a Project Focused IT Organization, San Francisco, California, USA

Niven, P.R. (2002) Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons

Kaplan, R.S. & Norton, D.P. (1996) Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System Harvard Business Review [Electronic Version] Retrieved on 3/2/2006 from http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbrsa/en/issue/9601/article/96107.jhtml;jsessionid=Q5MQQYL1A3OBUAKRGWCB5VQBKE0YOISW?path=arc&pubDate=January%201996

Kaufman, G. (2006, September) How to Fix HR. Harvard Business Review 84/9, 30

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