* This month’s Feature Article: Starting on Strategic Planning
Feature Article: Starting on Strategic Planning
Since Esther and I published Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (see below for the official announcement), I’ve received several emails asking how to do strategic planning for small groups. Here’s an outline of a technique I’ve used before.
First, make sure you know what the company pays you to do (your mission). Once you know what you’re supposed to do, you can ask yourself two questions:
- What are we doing that advances the strategy?
- What do we want to do in the future that advances the strategy?
Now, collect everything in your project portfolio. Yes, this is hard to do, and well worth the time you’ll invest. The project portfolio consists of:
- project work,
- periodic work,
- ongoing work that’s not part of a project, such as support or operations,
- ad hoc work, and
- management work
Once you’ve collected the portfolio, it’s time to evaluate everything in the portfolio. Now you have different questions to ask yourself:
- Does this work support the strategy?
- Does this work advance the strategy?
If you have work that no longer supports or advances the strategy, move that work to your not-to-do list and create a project or action item to move that work out of your portfolio.
Now it’s time to consider current and new projects that advance the strategy. I ask a series of other questions here:
- For projects, what’s the strategic reason behind this project? (Does the strategic reason behind the project change the importance of the project?)
- How does this project fit into all the projects we’d like to do? (What tradeoffs do we have to consider?)
- What environment/staff/resources do we need to make this a successful project? (If we’ve never done a project like this, or if we have doubts, or if we’re missing necessary resources, are we dooming this project to failure?)
- Can we adequately fund this project as we’ve envisioned it?
Once you’ve done this, you may need time for brainstorming and more questions, depending on how large your group is. Don’t be afraid to timebox your brainstorming into several shorter sessions rather than one long one.
At the end of this, you’ll understand which of the current work to continue and what to flush. You’ll also have some great ideas for moving the organization forward.
“Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management” is shipping! Take a look at http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/titles/rdbcd/index.html to see some of our reviewers’ comments. We also have some excerpts in text and audio.
Dorset House is still running their holiday sale (until Jan 13), so if you haven’t yet bought your copy of “Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People,” now is the time. See http://dorsethouse.com/25/ for details.
We’re starting to plan the 2006 AYE conference (Nov. 5-8, 2006) in Phoenix, AZ. See http://www.ayeconference.com for more details. If you’re not on that mailing list, you can either sign up on the AYE site, or send me an email to add you.
Thanks for reading, and please do send me your comments.
© 2005 Johanna Rothman
Tags: project portfolio management, strategic planning