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From Experience Linking Project To Strategy

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1. Successful projects are so important to Hewlett-Packard because of many reasonsThere are many projects doing at the same time in Hewlett-Packard. Some of them are to develop new products with the latest technology, some are just to serve other projects. Failure to projects will definitely lead to waste of resources since a lot of money, time and people were put into the projects without generating anything. This may seriously affect the financial results and hence affect investors’ confidence in Hewlett-Packard. However, this negative influence is just a start. The project may be one of a series of projects which rely on each other to success. In this situation, many projects will be affected by the failure of the project. New products may be postponed, customers may be lost and this may lead to the final failure of the whole company. Even the project is independent, its failure will has negative influence on related employees which will decrease their efficiency and hence reduce the overall performance of the company.

2. The evaluation team should go thoroughly in trying to quantify project contribution to the firm’s mission or goals. The team should begin by listing all projects and then clarifying the goals expected from the projects. Put the projects into appropriate categories will make it easier to know what businesses the company is in and to facilitate decision making process. Within each category, the team should also determine the criteria to help compare projects. Select criteria that can measurably compare how projects support the organizational strategy. Then go through each criterion to compare projects and select the one that fit the organizational strategy most.

This should be done at the first step in selecting projects. If a project that didn’t fit with organizational strategy is chosen, there won’t be value added to the corporation even if the project succeeds. In HP’s project selection process, financial selection criteria are not used for portfolio planning. Instead, strategic portfolio management methods were used where strategy decides project selection. If the team focuses on financial factors before determining the link to strategic goals, they may get in trouble. Team can get much better results tapping their collective wisdom about the merits of each project based upon tangible assessment against strategic goals.

3. The aim for paying considerable attention to the measures HP uses to evaluate its projects is both to simplify the project selection process and to make sure that right measures are used and right projects are selected. HP has to pick the opportunities very, very carefully and selectively, the well designed and developed measures can make sure that the categories and criteria go in the same order with the corporation’s strategy based their relative importance. By using those measures to compare and select the relatively better projects, the final remained projects must be the one that best fit the organizational strategy and will generate great value.

4. The aggregate project plan and the plan of record illustrate many details about the projects to upper management. First of all, projects are in categories with priorities to show which aspect the project is about and how important the project is. Also, it is marked whether the project is in plan or out plan. For different categories, the mix of percentage for each category is also very clear. More details, such as the name of the project, how many head court are included in the project, and the start and end date of the projects are illustrated. The plan of record is both a process and a tool used to keep track of the total list of projects. It also identifies gaps between required and actual resources. For flexible chages, the process gets all people in to the communication loop.

5. Projects are out-plan because of several possible reasons. One is the projects’ inconsistence with organizational strategy, one is the lack of available resources and the last one is not achieving the priority. So, if the organizational strategy changed or the goals of the projects are adjusted so that they are consistent, the resources needed are available and the priority of the projects moves to the top, the out-plan projects will be reconsidered for inclusion.

6. My impression of the impact that HP’s project selection process is that it can significantly decrease the number of projects underway. However, the removed projects are all because of their inconstant with the company’s goal or the lack of required resource, doing them will only become waste of time and money. By reducing the number of projects underway, the corporation can put all of its resources on the most valuable projects which can generate more profit in the future. Also, since there are much more resources for each project underway, the total number of successful projects can even be more. I think HP would score around 90 on project management maturity. They are doing excellent in managing projects. Their measures and tools not only make sure that HP can have competitive strength developed from successful projects, but also help other companies to be more professional on managing projects.

7. Since the decision-making process is very analytical, when dealing with non-numeric projects, the results will be more subjective when compared with numeric projects. The decision is made mainly by people instead of the process. The decision-maker is likely to evaluate the current project with personal experience or historical record projects as a gauge. However, no two projects are the same, the judgment based on decision-makers’ historical experience may be risky because of the difference between the historical and current situation as well as the mental change of decision-makers. The non-numeric projects selected from the project selection process may fail and that will lead to a huge waste for the project as well as for the selection process. The project proposal was significantly changed by the new process. The project management team needs to use a project charter form or a template where all information about each project is clearly recorded.

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