Across companies and industries, successful digital business means getting the same things right.
Your organization probably spends a lot of time defining and refining its strategy. You probably put a lot of thought into identifying the key results and metrics that will measure your success in executing that strategy. And maybe you'd expect that strategy to be the decisive factor when projects are being planned and managed.
Well, we hate to break it to you, but the connection between strategy and project management isn't something you can take for granted. Unless your organization is exceptional, decisions about what resources to apply to which projects are often a lot messier than that.
A cultural problem and a technological problem
The issue is particularly acute in growing organizations where action moves faster than processes can keep up with. In part, it's a cultural problem, especially where established individual and team incentives don't align with what has the most impact toward the company's strategic goals today. "We've always done it this way" bias is real.
But it's also a technological problem. How can we expect project managers to assign resources to get the most strategic bang for the buck without accurate insights into historical costs and results, in a context where the company strategy is always visible?
In a strategic vacuum, subjectivity, inertia, and other factors will fill the void. To solve that cultural problem and get everybody pulling in the right direction, first you have to solve the technological problem and give everybody the tools they need to make the right call.
The problems Adobe Workfront can solve
With its native strategic planning tools, comprehensive work management capabilities, and the ability to integrate with the tools your teams are using to get work done, Adobe Workfront is the operational system of record (OSR) that we recommend first to our clients. Here are the key reasons why your strategy and planning are disconnected, and how Workfront can help.
People don't know what the strategy is. In the crush of day-to-day work, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Workfront integrates your strategy directly into work management so you can define and measure all tasks against how they contribute to the strategy.
We have to guess what costs a project will incur, and what results to expect. Without detailed historical data, even the best project manager is reduced to educated guesses. Every project logged in Workfront helps build a deep repository of data about both inputs and output, so you can better predict exactly how much priority to give the next project that comes along.
Team and individual goals aren't strongly aligned to the strategy. Everybody wants to be essential, for their individual work to be vital the overall success of the company. With Workfront, leaders can see how their team's work contributes to that success and incentivize accordingly.
It's not clear how we're tracking against our goals. Too often, strategic goals are a set-it-and-forget-it affair, announced with a lot of fanfare, then only really paid attention to when next year's review rolls around. Workfront Goals clearly lays out all your milestones and benchmarks where every team member can see them, and gives you real-time data and custom reports to check your progress. No more "oh yeah, we were supposed to be tracking that all year" scrambling at annual review time.
When conditions and priorities change, the plan goes out the window. Reality doesn't run according to planning cycles. Workfront's scenario planner lets you compare a variety of possible plans so you're ready to change when the market does. With a comprehensive view of every in-flight task and project across your entire team, department, or company, you can quickly identify which projects need to pivot along with your strategy.
The problems your leadership team can solve
No matter how robust Workfront is, it's only as good as the organization using it. It's up to leaders to cultivate the context for strategy and planning to really unite and shine.
People still don't know what the strategy is. Clear communication of strategic goals remains essential, no matter how good your technological tools are. If individual contributors are unclear about how their work ladders up to the strategy, your team leaders probably need help articulating the strategy in terms that resonate with the day-to-day reality on the ground.
People hesitate to buy in. Leadership can set an example here. Demonstrate commitment to the strategy, and consistently use the terminology and explain the thinking in your strategy. Also, understand that different people approach change differently. Some embrace it enthusiastically, some resist it until everyone else is on board. Identify those influential people in the middle, the ones who can be won over and who others will follow, and make a special effort to get them on board.
The new processes are causing too much disruption. This is often a sign that not enough input was gathered from teams during the planning stage. Avoid ugly surprises and counter-productive chaos by involving individuals from across the company. A deep understanding of the reality of how work gets done will be a sturdy foundation for any strategic plan.
We don't have the resources, training, or right personnel to meet our goals. The bright light of strategy-driven planning can throw investment gaps into sharp relief. Even the best strategy must be backed by resources. At least now you'll have a data-driven diagnosis to identify what needs to be done and justify the investment.
But where to start?
It's a lot to implement on your own. That's where WNDYR comes in. We're not only Adobe-certified Workfront integration experts, we also bring deep experience in change management for companies of all sizes, across industries, around the world. Our human-first approach to connected work is helping hundreds of thousands of employees get more done and feel better about it. Talk to us to find out how we can bring those advantages to your people, too.