This blog series will provide an overview of the challenges to project strategy and provide a comprehensive solution. Today, we cover the disconnects between different organizational departments.
Enterprise organizations rely on multiple departments working separately to achieve the Organizational Mission. While they may all be working toward the same long-term goal, the immediate and short term goals often seem at odds with each other, which creates various strategic challenges.
In such a heterogeneous organization, it is difficult to have a clear top-to-bottom message with clear communication between each link in the chain: from stakeholders, to management, to employees, and even to the external stakeholders that were discussed in the previous section. Maintaining a clear, consistent message can be like playing Whisper down the Lane with a thousand people.
Even when an organization manages to deliver an organizational message consistently, it requires so much repetition that it may seem impossible to sustain energy in the message. As Christopher J. Nassetta, the chief of Hilton Worldwide, warns: “You can find yourself communicating the same thing so many times that you get tired of hearing it. And so you might alter how you say it, or shorthand it, because you have literally said it so many times that you think nobody else on earth could want to hear this.”
These goals need to be much more than an aphorism. They need to be translated into metrics that can quantify the organization’s progress toward the goals.
The next challenge, then, is developing shared interdepartmental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As organizations become more complex, your “Scoreboard” needs to be simplified and standardized in order for it to be relatable and updateable across all departments.
Interdepartmental cohesion is further complicated when different departments, programs, and even projects are drawing from the same resource pool. There can be confusion and in-fights over money, people, and priorities when departments and project managers are concerned about the success of their own segment of the organization.
Often the problem is even more fundamental: the organization doesn’t have a reliable means of determining what resource capacity they have in the first place to fulfill which demands. Balancing demands with ongoing business performance is a difficulty that often keeps organizations under-utilizing what they have to invest. The optimal amount of projects don’t get done; therefore the mission doesn’t get fully fulfilled.