June 22, 2023
min read
Last updated:
November 28, 2023

Why projects need to align with organisational strategy

June 22, 2023
min read
Last updated:
November 28, 2023

Why projects need to align with organisational strategy

Aligning project objectives with organisational strategy 

When we think of projects, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day; is everything running smoothly; are deliverables being achieved; are timelines being met, etc. But if we take a step back from that, it’s important to understand why we’re running the project in the first place. One common challenge faced by PMOs, and project managers is the lack of alignment between project objectives and the overall organisational strategy.  

Why align projects with business strategy? Well, it’s pretty simple when you think about it. If a project has been granted funding, approved and resources provided but it isn’t tied to the organisation’s strategy, then where is it actually going?​ (Tharp, 2007*)​. To work toward an organisational strategy, everything that business executes needs to support it, which includes projects.  

The disconnect between projects and strategy isn’t just a problem because it isn’t working toward achieving the company’s goals, it’s also a disconnect of alignment for PMOs and project managers themselves when understanding the purpose of their work. Thankfully, there is a way to keep things aligned and even track that alignment using customisable tags and metadata to categorise projects based on strategic objectives and business drivers.  

Does it matter if projects don’t align to business strategy?  

Short answer: Yes. The cost of misalignment between projects and strategic objectives can be substantial for a business.  

Operationally, when projects don’t align with the overarching strategic direction, resources are wasted, and efforts are diverted away from the organisation's primary goals. This misalignment can result in financial implications, as resources are allocated to projects that don’t contribute to strategic objectives, leading to inefficient resource utilisation.  

The impact of misalignment is not limited to operational aspects alone; it also affects the morale of project teams. When projects lack clear alignment with strategic objectives, PMOs and project managers may find it challenging to motivate their teams and maintain a sense of purpose. This lowered morale can lead to decreased productivity, decreased project closure success rates and delayed project timelines.  

The key to unlocking value through alignment 

Introducing the practice of aligning project objectives with organisational strategy brings substantial value to the project management process. It enables organisations to ensure that every project undertaken directly contributes to strategic goals and objectives, enhances the decision-making processes, improves resource allocation, and enhances overall project success rates. This alignment empowers project management stakeholders to understand the "why" behind their work and fosters a sense of purpose and motivation within the team.  

The sweetener on top is that C-suite execs are happy too! Recognising the importance of alignment, C-suite level executives strive to ensure that projects are closely aligned with strategic objectives. They understand that effective alignment enables efficient resource allocation, maximises the utilisation of talents and capabilities, and enhances the organisation's ability to achieve its long-term goals. 

5 key reasons to align projects with organisational strategy for PMOs

Why is it important to align project objectives with the organisational strategy? Unlocking success for project management stakeholders comes with numerous benefits:

1. Strategic clarity:

By aligning projects with the strategic objectives of the organisation, stakeholders gain a clear understanding of how their work fits into the bigger picture. This leads to a sense of purpose and direction, empowering teams to work towards common goals.

2. Resource optimisation:

Alignment allows for efficient resource allocation, ensuring that resources are utilised effectively to support the organisation's strategic goals. By aligning project priorities, teams can strategically allocate resources and avoid wasteful expenses.

3. Improved decision-making:

When project objectives align with organisational strategy, stakeholders can make informed decisions based on a shared understanding of priorities and strategic direction. This alignment fosters a cohesive decision-making process, enabling teams to focus on initiatives that contribute directly to the organisation's long-term success.

4. Enhanced risk management:

Aligning projects with the organisational strategy enables better risk management. By considering strategic objectives during project planning and execution, stakeholders can identify potential risks and mitigate them more effectively. This proactive approach minimises the impact of unforeseen events and increases the likelihood of project success.

5. Increased stakeholder engagement:

When projects align with the organisational strategy, stakeholders feel a stronger sense of ownership and involvement. This alignment fosters better communication, collaboration, and engagement among project teams and key stakeholders. The result is a more motivated and invested workforce, driving project success and organisational growth.

By aligning projects to organisational strategy, PMOs can unlock these benefits and create a more organised and successful project management environment.

How to align projects with business objectives

Now we’ve highlighted just how important the alignment of projects with business strategy is for project management stakeholders, let’s explore how to start this process effectively.  

  1. Define strategic objectives: Start by clearly articulating the organisation's strategic objectives. This involves identifying the overarching goals, priorities, and key results that the organisation aims to achieve. It’s essential to ensure effective communication of these strategic objectives to the project management team.
  1. Evaluate project alignment: Assess both existing and potential projects against the strategic objectives defined in the previous step. This evaluation means determining the level of alignment between each project and the strategic objectives. Identifying any gaps or misalignments is key for successful project execution.
  1. Adjust project priorities: Prioritise projects that closely align with the organisational strategy and resource plan accordingly. Reevaluate project priorities based on their alignment with the strategic objectives. By prioritising projects that directly contribute to the overall strategy, resources can be allocated effectively to ensure successful execution.
  1. Enhance communication and collaboration: Foster effective communication and collaboration between project management teams and key stakeholders. This includes providing regular updates on project progress, sharing insights, and seeking feedback to maintain ongoing alignment with business objectives.
  1. Monitor and review: Introduce a strong monitoring and review system to continuously assess the alignment of projects with business objectives. Regularly evaluate the progress and impact of projects against the defined strategic objectives. This allows for timely adjustments and course corrections to maintain alignment and maximise project success.

By following these steps and consistently aligning projects with business objectives, organisations can enhance project management effectiveness and drive successful outcomes.

Driving strategic excellence by aligning projects with business strategy 

If you’re using PPM software, there are even more steps you can take to really hone in on that alignment and ensure that you can track it too.  

Customise metadata 

With Fluid, admin users can create, remove, or alter fields of various types in order to capture a variety of project data points. Customise metadata or create custom properties to reflect the organisational taxonomy, strategy and objectives. This customisation enables meaningful reporting and tagging of projects based on their alignment with strategic goals for example.  

Create custom fields 

The customisability that Fluid facilitates allows your organisation to create relevant and meaningful fields. Create custom fields that can be attached to project creation forms that enable you to fully capture meaningful data points tailored to your organisation's taxonomy. For example, you can create a field called "Strategic Alignment" and set options that align with the goals defined by C-suite level executives.  

Track progress and reporting 

Leverage the vast reporting capabilities of Fluid PPM software to track project progress and alignment with strategic objectives. Utilise customisable dashboards to visualise the relationship between projects and strategic goals. This functionality allows project management stakeholders to gain insights into which projects are contributing to specific strategic objectives and assess the overall health, cost and effort towards each objective.  


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