The core strategy of an organization will ultimately decide how the organization will compete with its rivals in its chosen field. Most organizations tend to use different projects to convert their long-term strategy into a steady stream of new services, products, and processes that may well be critical for their overall success.

For understanding purposes, we can take the example of Intel and its reliance on a strategy based on the ‘differentiation’ of its products.  One of the main reasons behind Intel’s success is its ability to be highly innovative, and the low time frames it needs when it comes to releasing its products into the market.

Apart from that, it has also been instrumental in filling the niche for very high specialty products in the security industry, automation, smartphones as well as the defense sector to name but a few. In fact, its ability to differentiate, innovates, and works on extremely tight delivery schedules are the key reasons behind the company’s overall success.

Another reason the company has been so successful is it has successfully reduced its overall project cycle times for most of its products.  This means that Intel has more products being released than any of its competitors and in fact, has been instrumental in decreasing project life cycle periods throughout the computer hardware industry. Intel has been able to do this because of two reasons—its projects are aligned with the organizational strategy and there is a proper product flow system in place to churn out thousands of new products.

The Importance of Aligning Products and Projects with Strategic Objectives

To make a product flow system for you, you need to align your products and projects with your organization’s strategic objectives. This is why it is absolutely imperative for managers and supervisors to both think and act strategically.

If a project cannot be aligned to the core vision of the company, managed flows or product flow systems will prove to be futile.  The odds are that there will be dissonance between the two. This dissonance may be harmful to the long-term goals of survival, especially when added to the complications arising from global competition and financial uncertainty (both of which are quite common today).

Taken together, all of these conditions make the alignment of core organizational strategy with the project’s key goals all the more essential for success. As a matter of fact, virtually every major project needs to have a very strong as well as a viable linkage to the main strategic plan of the company.

However, a point to be noted is that always trying to ensure both a strong as well as a viable link between the strategic plan and projects is an arduous task (at best) that demands near-constant attention from both top and middle management and those executing things on the ground. In fact, the larger and more diverse a company, the more problematic it is to create and maintain this link and thereby help ensure that it remains strong throughout the duration of the project.

There exists a lot of ambiguity regarding this crucial alignment and that means that there are quite a few organizations that have not developed any set protocols that clearly align project selection to the overall strategic direction of the company.

The end result almost always leads to a less than judicious utilization of the organization’s resources, such as core competencies, equipment, people, etc. (that may have been easily utilized elsewhere).

Advantages of Coherent Linkage between Projects and Strategy

Many organizations that usually have a coherent link between their projects and their overall strategy tend to boast of greater cooperation all across the organization, while simultaneously performing better on all their projects both when they have more or fewer projects in a given time frame.

Now the question is, ‘how can an organization ensure this link and alignment’ in between the two?

The answer requires the integration of all fixed duration projects with the strategic plan. Here, integration assumes the existence of a strategic plan and managed flows for prioritizing projects based on their overall contribution to the central objectives of that organization.

An important aspect to look into, so as to ensure the success of integrating the plan with different projects lies in the adoption of a process that is both transparent and open for all participants to appraise as and when required. (This would include not just the project, the manager and the project team but also all the key stakeholders of the organization, per se).

Once there is complete harmony with the project as well as the core goals on which the company is based, there will be certain outcomes such as clear organization focus, best use of scarce organization resources (including, but not restricted to the capital, people as well as equipment.) Finally, such an alignment will also be responsible for significantly improved communication across both projects and the different departments of the company.

At Production Flow LLC, we help businesses establish production flow systems valuable enough for others to pay for it through carefully thought-out and well-defined steps or managed workflows. We ensure your success by assisting you in the establishment of such a system right from planning all the way through to deployment and monitoring analytics. Get in touch with us today to know more about how we can help you get the most out of your processes.

By Clifford Woods.

Clifford Woods is the CEO of Production Flow Systems LLC and an Advisor on Advisory Cloud. Other articles by him can be found here. For updates on future articles subscribe here.

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