Strategic Initiative Management – The Missing Domino

Have you ever played the game of domino’s? I did many years ago and I was never very good at it. If you remember the game, it involves trying to place your dominoes in some sort of order to block and beat your opponent. The other great thing you can do with dominoes is balance them on their edge, line them up, push the first one over and watch the cascading effect as one falling domino causing the next to fall. If one domino fails to fall or is missing, then then no other dominoes will fall. There are some great world records set for this and if you have time take a look online.

Anyway, the point of that preamble is to rather clumsily introduce the idea of connected, interconnected and dependent events. It’s a particularly important concept when looking at achieving organizational strategy. Achieving strategic success is not simply a matter of defining the strategy and then sitting back and watching it happen. A series of interconnected events needs to occur to ensure that strategic success occurs. In fact, there are many variables that contribute to strategic success but for the purpose of clarity and brevity I am going to focus on the link between strategic success and organizational project management capability.

Organizational project management capability refers to what practices and processes the organization has to assist with successful portfolio, program and project management. The individual components of organization project management capability are many and varied, and listing them all would take up the rest of this blog but it does include the following elements:

  • Portfolio management techniques for selecting and prioritizing the right projects.
  • Organization wide support for project management – a move to Total Project Management (TPM) which is like the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM).
  • The right PMO for the organization right now
  • A talent management strategy for assessing and improving individual practitioner capability
  • An organizational project management methodology
  • Individual tailored project management methodologies including tools techniques and templates

If you view achieving strategy as the final domino to fall you must ensure that all the parts of appropriate organizational project management are in place and playing their part. They must be in place and ‘fall’ first in order to achieve your strategic objectives.

What this means is that you need to begin to view organizational project management capability as a key management tool for achieving strategic initiatives. You need to see the interconnected relationship between strategy and project management. You need to foster and strengthen the links between C level executives setting the strategy and practitioners at all levels charged with delivering the projects which deliver that strategy.

So, take some time to make those clear links between individual elements of your organizational strategy and the specific parts of organizational project management capability that will contribute to delivering them. Focus on the weak areas of each and my final tip is to begin the process by only choosing those projects that align with and deliver organizational strategy.