3 Best Practices for Aligning Projects to Your Organization

By Sarah Fleming

UCSC Extension Project Communication and Leadership course student

Do you know if your organization is projecting on the right projects? If there are any questions in your mind about that, a key question to ask is “What are project management leadership and communication best practices for aligning project work to the needs of your organization?

While there are many different project types and organizational needs vary widely, there are still some key best practices that will help you and your team remain aligned to your organization and its business needs.
Create a Vision Statement:
“Ignoring the power of vision is failing to tap into one of the most powerful drivers of all” (Source: Lewis p149)

Vision is the foundation of aligning projects to organizational needs.  This is one of the first things you should do in your project.  Would you build a house without a vision of how it should look?

If you are a leader without vision, you will not be leader for long.  Very few willfully follow the lead of someone who doesn’t have a purpose or know where they are going. Ask yourself, would you follow a “leader” if you felt they didn’t understand their direction?

A vision and vision statement that is understood by the entire team is essential to aligning project work to the needs of your organization.  Every project leader should have a clear, powerful vision and vision statement that communicates the purpose and values of the organization.

Key Tip: First, understand your organization vision and align you vision to it.  I recommend crafting a vision statement and sharing it with your team.  Team members will respect a leader who values the team’s contribution.  Ask your team for their input and integrate it into the vision statement.  This will help your team members feel connection to the project’s vision – they helped create it.

Create a Project Charter
The project charter should include the project goal, high-level budget requirements, and project scope.  The project goal should align with the organizational needs and referred to through all phases of the project to ensure the alignment with the original business need.

Key Tip: The charter must be reviewed and signed by all stakeholders.

Create a Project Organization Structure
“One of the important decisions of project management is the form of organizational structure that will be used for the project”
(Source: http://www.pm4dev.com/english/documents/ebooks/PM4DEV_Project_Management_Structures.pdf)

The project organization structure defines the relationships between team members and organization members.  Often the organization structure is communicated as a visual structure (organization chart).

Key Tip: The objective in designing a project structure is to provide a formal environment that the project manager can use to influence team members to do their best in completing their assignments and duties.
(Source: http://www.pm4dev.com/english/documents/ebooks/PM4DEV_Project_Management_Structures.pdf)

Focus on these three tips to improve alignment between projects and strategy.

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