How you link your project to the corporate strategy

Anybody who works on projects or would like to get a project approved is challenged when it comes to show how the project creates value to the company and fits into its vision and strategy. Of course, it can be done by writing several pages in a report. But if you need to show it to your decision-makers in the company that is not going to work.

Recently, when I was working on my latest project, a global implementation of a new Intranet in Arla Foods, I had the same challenge.

Here is what I came up with – it´s a classic strategic house that many decision-makers can relate to.

You start on the top, on the rooftop – this is the Company vision. Here you type in the vision of your company.

The first brick below the Company vision is the company strategy. Just write the main focus areas in your business strategy. Try to translate thebusiness strategy into short headlines.

After the company strategy, you have to show the derived business needs that link to your project. To succeed with this you might also have to study some of the more local strategies (HR, IT, Communication strategies, Company Culture, Core Values etc.).For instance, if you work in a global company and a part of your strategy is to grow outside the EU, then a derived business need could be a “global mind-set”.

Your project is simply the name of your project.

Every project should have a purpose – or several purposes that link to the derived business needs. Here you show what the main purpose(s) are. It doesn´t matter if you have 1, 3 or more. However, I would stick to max 3 as each additional purpose adds to the complexity of the overview. Surprisingly, we have exactly three purposes in my project – “One Arla Feeling”, “Collaborative Workplace” and “Working Smarter”.

The key improvement area is where you show the link between the purpose and the improvements you deliver. For instance, we had areas such as “New front page”, “Global Access”, “New Service Portals” and “New News module” under the “One Arla Feeling”purpose.

Naturally, the key improvement areas should also give your business some business benefits. You put them in the main business benefits area. Here you can choose just to show a few or split them up as I did in one main buiness benefit and some additional benefits. You can use numbers or text arguments – it depends on what makes sense in the situation. I used text arguments like “Improve efficiency”, “Increase knowledge sharing” etc. But you could also just use the numbers from your business case.

Next question you have to answer is how you measure your success. Here you set up some general KPIs and KPIs per track. Again, this could either be plain text or numbers. Whatever makes sense.

Finally, we have to look at the foundation of the project – the critical success factors. I´ve got three (again…) in my project – Project cost, Business Readiness and Governance.

When you go through this model with your decision-makers/executives make sure, that you use animations in Power Point to walk it through step by step, otherwise it can become too overwhelming.

You can also use it as a kind of report by using colours to indicate your achievements.

I hope you find this little tool helpful. If you have any ideas on how to improve it then please share your thoughts!