The success of your project management office (PMO) relies on the project managers you work with buying into your work and your mission. Your office and they are working towards the same ends, and to align your PMO and Project Managers (PMs), you need to set the right objectives.

It’s not enough to tell your project managers what you want. You need to set clear goals and objectives that directly relate to business strategy. This will ensure the direction of travel for the projects you support and their priorities contribute to the business.

Here, we’re going to look at five objectives and actions you can give to your project managers that will help them work towards the overall organisation’s goals.

Set project objectives that connect to business objectives

Every project should have objectives, just like your PMO and the business does. Make sure that an early stage of your project framework includes setting objectives for the project.

It will depend on the type of project, whether it’s internal or client-facing, and the timeline it’s projected to deliver over, among other factors, as to what type of objectives you’ll want projects to set. Some examples of project objectives include:

  • Environmental impact
  • Return on investment
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Quality of deliverables
  • Team development

When reviewing the objectives with the PM, you can make sure that they fit in with what the business expects from its teams.

Complete training on the business strategy

You want to be sure that your project teams are fully aware of what the business strategy is. A large organisation should already have a program to deliver the business strategy to all colleagues, but you should work with HR to develop one if there isn’t one.

It can be challenging for a particular project to understand how it fits in with the wider business. At the start of each project, you can set the objective for PMs to run a session with their team to identify how their work will align with the business strategy.

Having this training session should kick off the process of embedding the strategic goals into every other step of a project and keep it front of mind for PMs.

Set priorities based on strategic goals

While the main aim of a project is to deliver on time and on budget, there will be priorities based on the other objectives the project has set.

When working through task prioritisation, you need to make sure PMs are working within the business strategy. Make sure the business and project objectives are embedded into the project prioritisation process.

In the decision-making process for priorities, you can make sure that strategic justification is included. When the question of “how does this fit with business strategy” regularly comes up for a PM, you can be sure it will become a natural part of their processing.

Track progress against business strategy

Embedding business strategy within a project at the outset is vital, but you don’t want PMs to take their eye off the ball. Just like your PMO will always be reviewing its work again strategic goals, this needs to also happen in projects.

During the regular reviews you have – quarterly, six-monthly, annually – you need to be challenging the PM on how the work feeds into business goals. Build the question of strategic alignment into your review process so that PMs know it is something they will need to justify.

This should also help your PMO keep focussed on strategy. When reviews and data all point towards business goals and objectives, it will be hard to not be aware of them on a daily basis.

Evaluate completed projects against business strategy

At the end of a project, your office and the project team will work to assess the overall success of a project.

Success will look different across industries and business types, but it should always have an eye on business strategy. Make sure that the success metrics you use at the end of a project include whether the project delivered in line with the strategy.

When a PM knows this is how they will be evaluated, it will ensure they are continually working to that end.

Setting objectives to keep your project managers aligned

Your project managers need to have business strategy front and centre of their thought processes throughout the project lifecycle. The PMO can ensure this by embedding strategy within project objectives and through to the end of the project.