6th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Projects and Business Strategy Alignment


I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and the first chapter is a general introduction to the framework in which project management exists, starting with section 1.2 Foundation Elements (section 1.1 describes the purpose of the Guide).

In section 1.2.1, PMI introduces the definition of projects (discussed in the previous two posts) and it is then immediately followed by the relationship between project management and change management (this was covered in the previous post).   Then it goes on to show the relationship between project management and

  • business analysis (determination of the business value created by a project)
  • business strategy (the context in which a project is initiated by an organization)

When you ask the question of why a project is being created, there are two answers to the question.   One reason is because the entity requesting the project to be done wants to derive some business value or benefit from it.   The determination of what business value is created by a project is called the business analysis.    This was discussed in the previous post.

Business strategy

But the other reason is that project will align with the strategic objectives of the organization doing the project.

There are four general categories PMI gives for the context in which a project may be initiated:

  1. Meet regulatory, legal, or social requirements
  2. Satisfy stakeholder requests or needs
  3. Create, improve, or fix products, processes, or services
  4. Implement or change business or technological strategies

There are several examples of specific factors that correspond to these four categories listed in Table 1-1 on page 9 of the Guide.   Some of them, such as “legal requirements”, fit one category (“meet regulatory, legal, or social requirements”), while others, such as “market demand”, fit several categories (all of the categories above except the first one).

Because the business strategy of an organization is central to the reason for the project being created in the first place, it is important for the project manager to understand what that strategy is for a very pragmatic reason:   if conditions arise that prevent the project from aligning with the business strategy of an organization, or if that business strategy changes, then that project may be terminated by the sponsor!

The next section 1.2.2 of the Guide, discusses the importance of project management from the standpoint of effectiveness and efficiency.   That is the subject of the next post.

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