In a series of blogs, we look at the steps to leading a successful project planning exercise.

At some point in your life, you’ve had to create an annual household budget. That budget typically includes the cost to “keep the lights on,” several small projects, and of course, big ticket items like a cool sports car or a first-class European vacation.

At the same time, you have to consider more responsible expenses, like retirement savings or replacing that leaky roof. The bottom line: Tough decisions have to be made.

How do you make those decisions? Ideally, household members discuss the benefits of each option, negotiate, and draft a plan that makes everybody happy. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.

The process isn’t always easy, and the right decisions aren’t always made.

As the leader of a Project Management Office, you are faced with a similar dilemma. How does a PMO leader help the business identify, evaluate and select the right projects through the annual strategic planning process? We’ll tell you how.

Three Steps to Project Planning

In this series of articles, we will explore the critical components of a successful project planning exercise, which include:

Step 1: Project Intake

  • What would your stakeholders say about your process?
  • Do your stakeholders understand your process and feel that it represents their needs?
  • Are you bringing the right process and tools to demonstrate the PMO’s value?

Step 2: Project Evaluation

  • Do your stakeholders understand and agree on the prioritization criteria?
  • How should projects be categorized for your organization?
  • How confident are you that the projects will achieve their business value and benefits?

Step 3: Project Selection

  • Does the prioritized list of projects align to your vision, culture and strategy?
  • Does your process include mechanisms that remove emotional and political barriers that can impact the decision making process?
  • Have you identified who are the formal and “true” decision makers?

Whether your budget is $1 million or $1 billion, it’s important to select the right projects by taking into consideration: your organization’s budget, mix of projects, culture, and return on investment.

Project planning can make or break an organization’s ability to achieve its immediate and long-term strategic priorities.

Go Further

About the Author

hill-150x150Jennifer Hill is an experienced consultant in Chicago who serves in senior roles focused on delivery management across industries. She started her career leading all phases of software delivery lifecycle, including complex aspects such as vendor management, data architecture, and alignment of iterative development approaches. She also established a Project and Program Management Practice that integrated cloud-based solutions.