Sunday, March 15, 2009

Value is in the eye of the beholder

Value is in the eye of the beholder

Most projects do not stand apart from the business models of the enterprise that hosts them. The value proposition is always in the eye of the beholder -- stakeholders and customer alike -- meaning that value is bestowed by the beneficiaries. Simply put, projects fill a need not obtainable by other means and that is why the enterprise places a value on the outcomes.

Projects absorb the culture and demands and investment attitudes of the enterprises they benefit. These attributes affect not only means and methods but they affect pace and velocity. The worthiness of the endeavor is often a matter of timeliness, the time-value of benefits, a point well recognized by agile practitioners.

Most organizations pull all this together in a strategic plan. Strategic planning, as commonly practiced, sets goals and objectives and a notion of how to get there. This notion we call strategy: strategy is a linked and ordered set of activities that point unambiguously to a goal. Strategy is a plan for action set in context of culture and attitude, strengths and weaknesses, and threats and opportunities. Projects are a part of the action, an element of strategy and thereby a means to achieve goals.

A project management tip
Strategy is like a vector, possessing direction and magnitude. Strategy provides the linked actionable steps to achieve a goal

Projects with real business value are instruments of strategy
Projects without strategic alignment may provide momentary value but are lacking the sticking power of being on the road map to a beneficial goal

Projects are instruments of strategy, providing the means to execute important steps on the pathway to goals.

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