For a project manager to become truly successful, they must have the ability to align their project within the greater context of the company. Understanding the core business strategy is the key to reaching a positive outcome.
Strategic alignment and delivery shouldn’t be a conversation solely reserved for senior-level executives—as the results affect everyone within the organization. Rather, a project manager should be intimately involved with every aspect of the project, including understanding and caring about corporate strategy.
Although it seems counterproductive to focus on greater goals rather than the project itself, there are some key reasons why project managers should care about business strategy:
Boosts Team Morale
A team will care about what the project manager guides them to and linking your project to a greater organizational strategy gives everyone a sense of purpose and community. It makes people understand that they are contributing to a greater good, rather than simply performing the task at hand. In this context, it boosts team morale because it gives people a sense of purpose.
Additionally, it’s easier to convince people to pivot on a project when they sense there is a greater good at stake. When teams can see the big picture influence they tend to understand more when there is a pause in work or resources need to be reallocated.
Establishes Stakeholder Support
Understanding the executive lingo means greater leverage when requesting and securing stakeholder support. If a project manager can explain to senior team players how their involvement would benefit the company as a whole, they tend to get a greater amount of cooperation.
Understanding the company strategy helps a project manager to frame requests in ways that are more likely to gain them backing and positive feedback. If a project manager can tie value into both their team members as well as senior stakeholders, the chances of project success are much greater. The more support, the more likely a positive outcome will occur.
Outputs and Outcomes
Business strategy is about stepping back and looking at the ultimate goal. The old style of project management deemed the outcome of a project was about output and what someone did with that data was their responsibility. The modern means of project management asks a professional to consider the business strategy as a whole and what exactly will happen with the output of the project after it leaves your hands.
It’s all about being business-aware throughout the course of the project so it can always be steered with the company’s best interests in mind. This is how great employee morale is accomplished and stakeholder support is secured. Today’s most successful project managers are the ones who can make the connection between project deliverables and successful company outcomes.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, being aware of corporate strategy simply makes for a well-rounded project manager. The ability to speak about your project within the organizational context will help you stand out. Executives typically care little about daily project management processes (think Gantt Charts and tracking spreadsheets) but they are entirely interested if you can speak about how it affects the bottom line.
A good project manager should know enough about their company strategy that they can use it to boost team morale and paint a bigger picture for their staff. Once the team is on board, these same conversations can be utilized to gain stakeholder support. Finally, the ability to connect output with outcomes will ensure your project is successful every step of the way.