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5 Key Questions for Strategic Planning

In the latest of his Future Trends in Project Management series Project Management advisor and lecturer, John McGrath puts forward five key questions for strategic planning that you should consider asking in your organization’s next planning session.

1. Can we define our strategic objectives?

It is really important that not just your senior leadership team, but that everyone in the organization has an awareness of what the organization’s strategy is – “Where is our North Star? Where is the vision? Where is the organization aiming for?”

Typically, organizations overcomplicate the strategy and people within the organization fail to understand what is the purpose of the project and how does it contribute to the bigger picture.

2. What project should we prioritize to implement our strategic objectives?

The importance of selecting the high-value projects – the projects that have a much greater strategic contribution, cannot be over-emphasized. The third question also relates to this subject:

3. What are the consequences of not delivering on a particular project?

It really comes back to that fundamental challenge for every organization. There will always be more projects than there are resources, or budget, to deliver. A key part of any strategic planning session is to identify what are the organization’s high-value projects.

4. Next, ask your senior leadership team “Can we draw a line from each project initiative to a strategic objective?”

The essence of answering this question is to focus on simplicity. It should be absolutely clear as to why we’re focusing on a particular project and how that project contributes to a strategic priority or objective for the organization.

5. Finally, ask how is the senior leadership team supporting the achievement of our strategy beyond the role of strategic planning?

It’s very important to realize that delivering this strategy is everybody’s job. Everybody at all levels of the organization should make a contribution. Strategy can only be delivered with senior leadership team support. It is simply not enough for the senior leadership team to define their strategy; they also have to put their shoulder to the wheel in terms of supporting projects that contribute to that strategy.

Learn more about strategic planning

This article is part of a series on future focus in project portfolio management. The first post in the series, “What is a Strategy Realization Office?” examined the difference between a Project Management Office (PMO) and a Strategy Realization Office (SRO). The SRO helps answer some of the questions for strategic planning outlined above by focussing on the delivery of strategically aligned projects. Learn more about the benefits by downloading our free guide “How to Move from PMO to SRO”.