Last year (yes 14 days ago), I graduated from the University of West London. I completed a 2 years part time Masters of Science course in Applied Project Management – Managing Innovation and Organisational Change. The course was so beneficial because all the case studies in all modules were based on real case studies.
One of the modules was Project Strategy. During the course, Dr Chekfoung Tan took us through a variety of tools and techniques to use to effectively manage an organisational’ strategy. Those tools work for managing several projects, an entire programme, a portfolio, or a complete operational strategy. During this course, I submitted two papers:
- The current methods available in project portfolio management in small-medium enterprises [you can read about it here]; and
- National Express: Youth Promise Strategy
I have worked with various stakeholders to help them bring clarity to their strategy. It is very easy to fall into the routine of tasks to do day-in-day-out without assessing their return on investment; especially if you are a hands on leader. And Leaders who have a very clear, measurable and dynamic strategy sometimes end up working with project managers who do not fully understand how dynamic the strategy is, and where their project actually sits in the scheme of this financial year.
When Dr. Tan asked me if I can go and speak to the current Masters class 2019/2020, I felt very humbled and I was honoured to do so. I decided to share with the students some real cases I came across and provide them with a simplified model. Because it is one thing to understand what SWOT, PESTLE, McKinsey 7S, 5 Porter methods are, and it is a completely different thing to bring them to practice in a very dynamic and growing organisation. I decided to introduce to them the model in 4 steps. Because someone once told me that 7 is the magic number – more than 7 items the human brain will not fully stay tuned. Anything less is a bingo! Without checking whether this is scientifically proven or not, I chose to believe it! 😉 Here is the 4 steps model
- Analyse the current status
- Determine what needs to be worked on
- Define the ‘how’ and the KPIs
In each of the above steps, we talked about key tools and skills required from today’s project managers; whether it being the talent triangle of the Project Management Institute, or the competency framework of the Chartered Quality Institute.
I enjoyed sharing some of the experience with the students and I believe they did too – as they all agreed to stay behind for the picture ☺️.
If you are a strategist, or contribute to the strategy set up process in your organisation, what is a simple model you use? Please comment and share your thoughts.