Meeting organizational strategy goals is a key indicator of future project success.
Without a strategic plan, businesses are left scrambling trying to put something together that should have been planned weeks before.
But when a team does have a strategic plan?
Watch out, world.
With strategic planning in hand, everyone knows how the company plans to hit its project goals.
This means no more guess-work. The team knows what to do, how to do it, why they need to do it, when they need to do it, and who’s going to do it.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the strategic planning process so you can start implementing it, and watch your project success soar.
Why do you need a strategic plan?
There’s nothing worse than a confused team member. A strategic plan can help a team feel guided and supported as they chip away at their project deadlines.
A strategic plan ensures your goals and strategies align in a way that satisfies your stakeholders and can help grow your business.With a strategic plan, you’re taking the time to make sure you’re working on the right projects at the right time. This helps prevent sinking money, time, effort, and other valuable resources into projects that won’t help take your business where you want it to go.
A strategic plan carves the best possible path to achieving your vision. It’ll help you not only spend less time on unnecessary projects, but also reduce project errors and poor decision-making, since your organization has more clarity and transparency.
Ultimately, a strategic plan helps you complete goals more quickly. And who doesn’t want that?
What is Organizational Project Management (OPM)?
OPM is a strategy execution framework that gives teams a competitive advantage with organizational strategy. In other words, it’s a structure that helps teams hit their strategic goals.
What kind of management does OPM use in its structure?
OPM is broken up into 3 levels using 3 kinds of management:
- Portfolio management
- Program management
- Project management
What’s the difference between portfolio, program, and project management?
The language of project management can feel tricky, but when you boil it down to its basic concepts, it’s actually pretty straightforward.
Portfolio management is at the top of the pyramid. Here’s where portfolio managers are making all the strategic plans and decisions. Portfolio managers take a 30,000-foot view of the program and project landscape and are primarily interested in outcomes.
An organization can have 1 portfolio or multiple. Typically, portfolio managers care less about day-to-day performance or even monthly performance and care more about how projects deliver against long-term strategic benefits and organization goals.
Portfolio managers make decisions based on high-level information and are chiefly concerned with balancing risk and reward. That balance boils down to prioritizing the right projects and programs to ensure they’re using the best use of their budget, people, and resources.
In the middle, we’ve got programs. Typically, they contain 2 or more projects, and instead of focusing on deliverables, they’re focused on the benefits. As a result, program managers take a wider view than project managers.
A common misconception is that program managers are managing multiple projects. It’s actually more strategic than that. Each project will have its own project managers, so program managers are more concerned with managing dependencies, delivering program benefits, and keeping an open communication line with the stakeholders.
An excellent way to frame the program manager’s point of view is to say they tend to look outward rather than inward. They’re still concerned about risks, budget overruns, and daily issues, but only if it affects the overall delivery of the program.
At the bottom of the pyramid are projects. Projects focus on the time, cost, and quality of the product they’re delivering. Project managers live and breathe the various project registers, budget tables, schedules, and resource plans.
It’s plain to see how these 3 frameworks combined together are quite a powerful force of strategy and implementation. Defining them is the easy part. Where it gets complicated is in the execution. The lines between portfolio, program, and project management are blurry since people often attempt to do all of it under the guise of project management.
What’s the purpose of OPM?
From a practical view, OPM is an umbrella term that provides a strategic framework that guides your portfolios. Typically, it’s high-level company executives that discuss OPM and finalize a strategy that they can then pass down to the portfolio, program, and project managers so they can deliver on it.
OPM aids the entire organization in the understanding of:
- Initiatives which are the investment and dedication of resources to accomplish an organizational objective.
- Goals which are objectives set by the organization as a desired endpoint reached by setting and working toward specific targets.
- Strategies that indicate a preferential path toward reaching the desired goal.
- Deliverables which are the final products provided to the client or stakeholder according to your contractual obligations.
- Vision statement which helps craft a realistic and viable view of an attractive future the company hopes to bring to fruition.
What are some OPM strategies?
Coordinating all 3 levels of OPM can feel cumbersome if you don’t have the right tools.
Strategy needs to flow down through all 3 layers, while results and outcomes need to flow back up. To attain this level of seamless communication, you need a platform everyone can collaborate within.
Using a work operating system (Work OS) like monday.com can help you manage all 3 tiers of strategic planning and implementation.
Our high-level planning templates and roadmaps help portfolio managers outline and communicate the vision and strategy. While our reports and dashboards make it easy for project managers to report back up how they’re doing with achieving the set goals.
Everyone can work within the same tool. No data silos means much less chance of someone veering away from the strategic plan.
Here’s an example of monday.com’s Portfolio Management Template.
At a glance, it shows you:
- Who’s representing the portfolio on the company’s board, so you always know how to find your go-to person
- The funding status along with what action took place in the last round
- Current and previous valuation alongside risk and satisfaction ratings
- Comprehensive totals and calculations so you always have a high-level view of portfolio performance
The beauty of monday.com is it has templates for everything.
Portfolio, program, and project managers all have an option, and they all integrate and feed off each other to give you a comprehensive top-down strategy alongside a granular day-to-day platform that drives toward project excellence.
What’s the PMI Talent Triangle, and how does it apply to strategic planning?
These days, it’s not enough to just have technical skills as a project manager. To be the most effective at strategy planning, project managers also need to have leadership skills and a strong grasp of business know-how.
That’s where The PMI Talent Triangle comes in.
The talent triangle demonstrates the following balance that all project managers should strive for, to be as effective as possible:
- Technical project management: technical aspects of the project manager role and anything specifically related to the 3 OPM levels. In case you forgot, those are the project, program, and portfolio management levels.
- Leadership: skills to guide, inspire, and lead a team to reach its business objectives.
- Strategic and business management: the expertise needed to improve performance and achieve better business results.
What’s an Organizational Strategy Portfolio?
An Organizational Strategy Portfolio encompasses the 3 levels of OPM in a visually pleasing portfolio view, so the whole team understands exactly which programs and projects fall under which portfolio. It helps everyone understand how their piece of the pie fits into the whole.
Here’s a sample portfolio to give you an idea of what it could look like:
The strategic planning process
Ready to actually start doing this thing? Let’s get to it.
Step 1: set your overall company goals and objectives
Goal setting is about getting from “as-is” to “to-be” in the most efficient way possible. That process begins by recognizing your current condition.
What critical problems are you facing that you’d like to fix?
Or conversely, what opportunities are available in the short or long-term future?
Once you have a general understanding of where you are and where you’d like to go, it’s time to set objectives. Where goals are typically larger and broader, objectives are smaller and more precise.
Objectives are the steps you have to take to achieve your goals. It’s the who, what, when, where, and how that makes up your objectives.
Step 2: create your company-wide strategy
Now that you have goals, core values, and objectives to guide you, it’s time to determine your company’s strategy. When deciding upon a strategy, it’s important to gather a clear understanding of where your company currently stands in the market and how your goals and objectives affect your target market.
Start by asking yourself some key questions:
- Who do you want to attract? What does your ideal customer look like?
- Where do you currently stand in the competitive landscape? How will this project change that?
- How will the successful completion of this project help you differentiate from your competitors?
Step 3: determine your strategic structure
Each project management office (PMO) is unique since it serves a unique need within your organization. Your company might not be large enough to need all 3 levels of OPM, so you may decide on a more streamlined structure.
If you’re using OPM, you’ll still need to determine how many different portfolios you have and which programs and projects fit inside each of them. Plus, consider who will manage each level of the structure and what they’ll be responsible for.
Some common structures are as follows:
Departmental PMO which acts as a business unit PMO that typically serves a specific division of the company, such as the IT department.
Project PMO that specializes in larger projects. They’re usually temporary positions that pop up ad hoc and are staffed by the company’s chief PMO.
Project Support PMO acts as the guardians of procedures and processes. They support your project and program managers by helping them adhere to corporate standards.
Enterprise PMO is often found within the C-suite and reports to either the CEO or a board member. The main objective of enterprise PMOs is facilitating strategic alignment by helping prioritize projects and formulate strategies.
Step 4: draft your implementation plan
First, develop a list of OPM initiatives. Next, fairly weigh and judge the initiatives by setting up a decision-making method. Then, use that method to organize them in order of importance.
Make sure there’s always a clear connection between the initiatives and the strategic objectives and metrics, and make sure you can back up each strategic priority, otherwise, there’s no point.
Step 5: take action
You’ve set goals, clearly defined your objectives, set a strategy, and made a draft of your implementation plan. Now it’s time to get to work!
This is where you’ll initiate, launch, or try to win projects that support your strategy and implementation plan.
Once you have the right projects, your project managers will take them through the standard project life cycle from initiation to closure. Your program managers will work to manage priorities and dependencies across projects, remove roadblocks, and help ensure outcomes are achieved. And your portfolio managers will help support execution by managing company-wide resources and addressing portfolio-level conflicts.
Step 6: monitor and measure progress
Now that everyone’s on the same page and are performing their day-to-day tasks, you can shift gears to more of an oversight position.
Monitoring and measuring progress so you can report back to stakeholders and drive specific outcomes is easy if you have the right technology.
Thankfully, monday.com provides data-rich reports and dashboards that help you visualize your data so you can analyze trends, track costs, and communicate with your project stakeholders all in 1 place.
Step 7: evaluate and adjust as needed
There’s little to no guarantee you’ll get your strategy right the 1st time around, or that it won’t need to evolve over time.
You’ll need to regularly assess your performance and adapt as necessary to both internal and external variables.
With comprehensive dashboards and all the data you need at your fingertips, it’s a lot easier to evaluate your portfolio’s performance and make any necessary adjustments in real-time.
Why should you choose monday.com?
Having a strategic planning process is only as powerful as your execution. Thankfully, monday.com has you covered from top to bottom with tons of great features:
- Have a safe space to refer to strategic goals and objectives
- Foster community engagement with your teammates
- Feel at ease — more than 100,000 teams trust us
- Manage all roles and responsibilities in a single operating system
- Choose from more than 200 customizable templates
- Design any board the way you want
- Have a clean, easy-to-use operating system to carry you through the entire OPM planning phase
We’re always improving how we help teams manage work, and we gotta say, we’re pretty damn good at it. Improving how teams do things is the apple to our brie panini.
monday.com for strategic planning
Strategy planning is intense enough as it is — your operating system shouldn’t be. We’re here to make sure you have plenty of opportunities to design your plans as efficiently and easily as possible.
- Use our seamless collaboration platform to stay in touch with the OPM team
- Create a vision board, so your team has a clear visual to refer to
- Use our Automations to move your plan forward while you sleep
- Stay organized with our Organizational Plan Template
- Use our charts to create an OPM implementation roadmap or a strategy map
- Add an OPM schedule to any board with our timeline column
- Use our status column to monitor OPM initiatives
P.S. check out how the Spokane Fire Department used our Goal Tracking Template to focus on its strategic plan work here.
At this point, you’ve learned quite a bit about strategic planning, how to go about it using OPM, and how it can improve your business performance across the board.
What did you think? Ready to give it a go?
Let’s make strategic planning less stressful and more efficient, shall we? We’re standing by, ready to help. Get started with our Portfolio Management Template, and start enjoying how fun it is to use monday.com.
Try us out and let us know what you think.