Successful companies know a little secret – making your dreams a reality requires alignment between your strategies and your projects. It's not a matter of just working harder; success requires doing the right things at the right time with the right people. Let's look at ways to boost your bottom line through projects.
Improving your organization's bottom line starts with answering these strategic questions:
- Where are you today?
- Where do you want to be in the future?
- How will you get there?
Let's focus on the last question: How will you get there? This is a question about strategy, the broad activities that will move you from your current state to your desired future state.
"Success is where preparation and opportunity meet." –Bobby Unser
Once you've collaborated with key stakeholders and reached an agreement on the most critical strategies, you must determine how the work will be performed. You have a choice. You can do things ad hoc, or you can take a more disciplined approach to the work. I suggest the latter.
Divide and conquer through projects. Develop your project charters and seek approval. Once each project is approved, develop your project management plan. Staff your teams with members who possess the right skills and knowledge. Assign strong sponsors.
I'm here to help you develop your project charters today! In my online course, you will discover:
- The Importance of the Project Charter
- What is a Project Charter?
- Why Project Stakeholders Are Critical
- How to Create a Project Charter
- What to Include in a Project Charter
- The Business Case Study
Join me in the online course: What, When, & How of Powerful Project Charters!
Types of Strategic Projects
Perhaps all of this is new to you. Allow me to share examples of different types of strategic projects that a property and casualty insurance company might pursue. Think about examples for your industry.
- Market demand (e.g., company authorizes a project to promote an enhanced personal auto insurance product)
- Strategic opportunity/business need (e.g., company authorizes a project to create a new course to decrease expenses)
- Social need (e.g., company authorizes project to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research)
- Customer request (e.g., company authorizes a project to provide customer information and digital signatures via virtual meetings)
- Technological advance (e.g., company authorizes a project to develop a mobile app to allow policyholders to file a claim from their smartphones)
- Regulatory requirement (e.g., company authorizes a project to prepare an ORSA report to the state department of insurance)
Once you've kicked off your projects, monitor the progress to make sure the projects stay on schedule and within budget.
How to Perform Benefits Realization
How do we ensure that the projects produce the desired business results?
Have a business analyst determine the impact to the business at designated times in the future (e.g., six months and twelve months after completion of each project).
For example, if you plan and execute a project to introduce a profitability bonus program for your sales agents, determine if your sales are increasing at the desired rate.
You should also have an analyst monitoring impact on your strategic objective – in this case, Increase Revenue. In an insurance company, we would consider the impact on written premium and the earned premium.
Lastly, we analyze the impact on the targeted performance – profitability. In the insurance world, we look at the combined ratio that is comprised of the expense ratio and loss ratio. Is everything moving in the right direction?
Call to Action
Select one major problem or opportunity for your company (e.g., aging employee population, lack of response plan for a cyberattack, increasing frequency and severity of a line of business, desire to implement a work from home policy). Define your strategies. Define the projects that will support your strategies.
Load and fire! Monitor your progress.
Project Risk Coach Tips
Sign up for the weekly Project Risk Coach blog posts and receive the Project Management Plan Checklist. This will allow you to deliver projects with fewer problems and greater value.
"Intelligent leadership, creative communication and depth of technical skill all describe Harry Hall." –John Bartuska, Director of HR–ONUG Communications