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How to adopt an organizational project management strategy 9 min read
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Every project manager knows the dread of going over budget or not meeting expectations on a project. It can be tough to see the bigger picture and how your project ties into your overall business goals. But you want your project to be a success and this requires a clear project management strategy.

That’s where creating an organizational project management strategy comes into play. It standardizes how projects are prioritized and managed, meaning you do more of the right things for future projects and success becomes more predictable. Keep reading to learn more about what organizational project management (OPM) is, its benefits to your business, and how plays a pivotal role in creating an effective strategy.

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What is organizational project management?

Organizational project management looks at how all projects are managed from a higher level. It connects all projects across departments with your broader business goals.

If an individual project’s objective is to create a new product, for example, then the organizational project management strategy focuses on how that project lines up with expectations.

The point of this higher-level management is to separate strong and risky projects and to see whether there are gaps in the way all projects are managed. This helps the organization understand if there is a better way to do it in the future to save money and propel the business forward.

But if you’re just dipping your toe into developing an OPM strategy, where do you start?

“Organizational project management” is a part of our Project Management Glossary — check out the full list of terms and definitions!

The three components of organizational project management

Creating an effective organizational project management strategy involves three key elements—project, program, and portfolio management—here’s how they fit together.

  • Project management is the running of an individual project. Let’s take the development of a new app as a project example. Project management includes the people involved in creating wireframes, mockups, copy, customer feedback, development, and deployment, as well as the timeframes, end goals, and cost.
  • Program management takes all projects within a specific department and organizes them together to align with clear goals. The people in charge of managing programs would also look at how specific platforms and tools would help the involved projects reach the overall goals more effectively. This would, in turn, affect how individual project managers and people working on those projects manage their priorities.
  • Portfolio management is a higher-level approach to organizing all programs across the business. It oversees how all projects are managed and looks at what value can be gained from the projects.

Each of these levels relies on having specific business goals, such as boosting customer satisfaction or increasing total income by 10%. Figuring out how the two connect can be tricky, so before you begin putting a strategy in place, let’s explore the pros and cons of organizational project management.

Strategic, actionable business goals should follow the SMART principle—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.

Benefits and limitations of organizational project management

Creating a strategy for project management provides unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s wise to consider these carefully before you decide how to structure your project management.


Predictable outcomes on future projects

There’s no doubt that all projects pose a risk, no matter how many you have under your belt. Adhering to a solid strategy eliminates some of that danger by giving you an outline of how to manage and execute your plans (and what to avoid). A plan takes the guesswork out of prioritizing tasks, timelines, and budgeting.

An effective strategy is one that’s flexible, so every time you undertake a project, you learn areas of improvement and can tweak the overall plan to make future projects more effective.

Higher customer satisfaction

Understanding your customers’ problems and how your new product or service could solve them is one of the most crucial ways to measure the success of any project. Happy customers result in brand loyalty and a better reputation for your business in the long term.

Adhering to your project management strategy means fewer project delays because everyone involved already knows what they need to do. You’ll understand how to relate your actions to what the customers are expecting, which allows you to determine priority tasks and measure their effectiveness. Part of your plan can include providing regular updates to customers too, which offers a great opportunity to collect feedback from them and help the project to completion.

Higher productivity

Having a clear process to follow reduces the risk of wasting precious time and company resources on tools and methods that don’t work. An organizational project management strategy standardizes the way you and your team work together so you focus on what’s most effective.


Communication breakdowns

While a company-wide project management strategy helps contribute to business goals, there is the risk that project changes and updates to the strategy get missed, leading to confusion between executives, shareholders, and departments. It’s vital there’s a process in place for communicating changes when they’re made.

Timeline conflicts

Even with a strong project management strategy in place, there are times when higher-ups have a specific timeline in mind for the completion of a product or service that doesn’t match up with what the project team is realistically able to accomplish. This can cause conflict and delays.

Now you’re aware of the pros and cons of creating a strategy, how do you begin developing it? There are tried and tested approaches to organizational project management strategies that you may want to try.

Examples of effective organizational project management systems

No two project management strategies are alike, but there are three common types that businesses commonly use to align projects with overall business goals. It’s a must that everyone, from executives to employees, understands the hierarchy within the system you follow for it to be successful.

Functional project organizational structure

A functional structure keeps project management within one department, like marketing or IT. Usually, a functional manager holds the responsibility of overseeing the projects within a department and has more authority than project managers do. The upside is that teams are smaller and easier to manage, but as they’re confined to their specific department, the project may miss out on other areas of expertise it would otherwise gain from different departments.

Projectized organizational structure

A team that dedicates its time solely to a project is a projectized structure and can be the most straightforward kind of system to manage. Everyone knows their specific role and there are no conflicts or other time commitments in other areas of the business.

Project managers usually have the most authority, reporting directly to the project board. Project-based teams are focused and driven, but this is an expensive option and may only work for large businesses that can afford to pay for a dedicated project team.

Matrix organizational structure

A matrix structure is a hybrid between the previous two structures, creating a more balanced approach to managing both project and day-to-day work. The functional and project managers share their responsibilities and resources, leading to a more flexible approach to project management which is an efficient way to balance resources. The major drawback that many businesses face is work overload on team members — simply too much work to do and not enough time to do it.

The best strategies are ones that are adaptable. For this, you need a robust project management platform to handle everything from business objectives right down to the individual tasks on a project. Here’s where our powerful Work OS can ease the burden of creating an effective strategy.

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Developing an organizational project management system with

Whichever strategy you choose to follow, is designed to support project management from the little details right up to overseeing project portfolios. Our robust Work OS lets all teams collaborate on projects in real-time, with flexible tools so you can focus on cost, budget, timeline, workflow, and objectives while automating the menial tasks.

You can integrate your favorite tools to fit around how you want to work without sacrificing your existing systems. There’s even the option to notify departments on specific projects or updates and analytics tools to measure the progress of your projects. includes templates you can implement and customize to your needs. The Project Portfolio Management Template consolidates upcoming, active, and completed projects in one place, with an overview of the project managers, budget, scope, phase, and timeline. The Single Project Template offers a close-up view of your specific project, including every step in the process, the assigned tasks, and a progress bar to stay on track.

Having the ideal platform and powerful templates can get you started on the right track with your project management strategy — here are more of your questions, answered.

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Frequently asked questions

What is an organizational plan in project management?

An organizational plan is the agreed structure of a project. For project members and managers, this sets out a clear timeline, budget, scope, objectives, and who is working on what tasks. Overall, it makes the project run smoother and helps the team collaborate more effectively.

What is the difference between OPM and PMO?

Organizational Project Management (OPM) aligns projects, programs, and portfolios with the overall business goals. Project Management Office (PMO) helps projects adhere to the project management strategies, providing the resources needed to carry them out effectively.

Create a project management plan that everyone will understand and want to use

Developing an organizational project management strategy takes all the complicated and unpredictable elements of project management and standardizes it. From project team members up to executives and project sponsors, having a clear strategy that aligns project outcomes with business goals takes the guesswork out of all projects, no matter their length, size, or significance. Using our Work OS helps you put those intentions into action with flexible tools, automations, and collaborative tools.

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