21 December 2009

The New ERP – Part 28

Strategic alignment is the "best determinant" of success

According to writer and researcher Meridith Levinson, "Many factors influence project success and failure…. But new project management research from training company Insights Learning and Development, the Project Management Institute and a strategic execution consultant suggests that the single most important factor influencing project success is the project's link to the organization's business strategy and the project manager's understanding of how the project supports the business strategy." (Levinson 2009) [Emphasis added.]

This should be an encouragement to any executive or manager who has been following along with us in our development of The New ERP – Extended Readiness for Profit. I say this because we have emphasized the following THREE SIMPLE STEPS:

  1. Discover what needs to change, which we have helped you do by applying the Thinking Processes (TPs) and leading you and your management team to the creation of your own Current Reality Tree (CRT). By looking to the roots of your CRT, you were able to see clearly those few things (usually fewer than a half-dozen) that need to change in order for your business to reach more of its goal of making more money tomorrow than it is making today.

  2. Work through what the change should look like. Here again, we suggested that you apply the Thinking Processes to build a Future Reality Tree (FRT) and Transition Tree (TrT). These two logical trees will help you and your management team understand with considerable clarity what the changes should look like if your "system" is going to improve.

  3. Last, how to effect the change must be considered and, actually, if you have built your Transition Tree, you already have determined how to go about making your changes. It is worth mentioning, however, that sometimes the evidence at the "roots" of the CRT is so plainly evident that it is not necessary to build either an FRT or a TrT. (We do not advocate this approach, but some matters are so plain and so easily changed, that the actual work can be documented later, or a new CRT is drafted immediately following the implementation of the "simple" changes.)
You will note immediately that, having applied the TPs, you and your management team have already addressed the next element Levinson mentions: "Strategic value alone is not enough to ensure project success…. Project managers need to understand the business strategy and how the project supports it." (Levinson 2009) Having built your logical trees (i.e., CRT, FRT, TrT), you have the tools in your hand to quickly, accurately and effectively communicate "how the project supports" your business strategy of ongoing improvement to anyone involved in any part of the improvement projects that might be set forth.

A strategic road map for the improvement project

Here is a terrific side-benefit you get by having used the Thinking Processes to guide your New ERP – Extended Readiness for Profit project up to this point: For no additional investment of time, energy or money you and your team have a ready-made road map to keep yourselves and your project leads on target with the projects.

Levinson states that under traditional ERP scenarios, "[P]roject managers lack 'the context required to flag when the project is veering from its original intent and course-correct towards the intended outcome,' [write Suzanne Dresser and Mark Morgan, authors of a report published by Insights Learning and Development and the Project Management Institute]. And that's when cost and time overruns begin and when projects start to veer from business requirements." (Levinson 2009)

Your Thinking Processes diagrams provide not only the crystal-clear rationale for your efforts, the logic has already helped your management team set unambiguous metrics by which to compare outcomes with desired results. No fumbling around is required or allowed. Furthermore, the budget that you team has set is equally unambiguous.


In short, if alignment of IT projects with "business strategies" is, indeed, the "best determinant" of project success, you and your management team are well on their way to success if you have been following along with us in applying The New ERP methods. Plus, you have provided for yourself and those involved at every level with a clear, concise road map to keeping the entire effort – or even multiple efforts – on target for the desired ROI (return on investment) and within a budget that makes sense.


Levinson, Meridith. Business Strategy: The 'Best Determinant' of Project Success. Nov 17, 2009. http://www.cio.com/article/508018/Business_Strategy_The_Best_Determinant_of_Project_Success (accessed Nov 17, 2009).

No comments: