“Opportunities don't happen. You create them.”

– Chris Grosser

What is Strategic PM Canvas and why do we want to use it?


Strategic Project Management canvas is adopted from the original Business Model Generation Canvas by Alex Osterwalder, the author of the “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers”. We believe PM Canvas represents a groundbreaking strategic approach to business model design for tomorrow’s enterprise.

The book represents an idea of a “Business Model Canvas” that takes powerful strategic ideas and tools and makes them easy to implement in your organization. The Business Model Canvas approach is for doers and all of those ready to abandon outmoded thinking, and is used by such forward looking companies as Apple, Skype, Fujitsu, Oracle, and many, many more.

I often get asked why I created Strategic Project Management canvas?

The main objective for creating a Strategic PM canvas was to make the process of Strategic Project Management as visual and actionable as possible while following clear steps of strategic planning to create a visual blueprint for project execution and management.

A Strategic PM canvas is a story of how an investment in the project will work. The canvas brings together stakeholders to articulate the project goals and deliver those benefits to the organization. SPM Canvas users will be able to identify strategies and desired outcomes.

As a means to communicate a program visually, within your organization and to external audiences, a canvas provides a common language and reference point for everyone involved in the project and explains how your project is supposed to be implemented, why your strategy is a good solution to the problem and how the desired benefits are going to be realized.

A Strategic PM canvas also represents the thinking process behind a project plan. It explains why the project ought to be successful and how project goals, objectives, and subsequent project activities are going to be aligned with expected benefits.

During project planning phase, the Strategic PM canvas is used to:

  • clarify project strategy
  • identify appropriate outcome targets (and avoid over-promising)
  • align your efforts with other departments
  • assess the potential effectiveness of an approach
  • set priorities for allocating resources
  • estimate timelines
  • identify needed capabilities
  • identify required resources
  • make your planning effort more effective

During implementation phase, the Strategic PM canvas is used to:

  • keep track of what you have accomplished and what you need to do
  • keep a project management plan up to date and make mid-course adjustments
  • incorporate findings from research and pilot projects
  • define roles and responsibilities
  • identify differences between the planned and actual project performance

Once the initial draft of the canvas is created, you should be testing each item on the canvas with an idea of eliminating any items that are unnecessary and can weigh your project down. 

“Perfection is achieved, not when you have nothing left to
add, but nothing left to take away”.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I will be teaching you how to build and model a Strategic PM canvas in our upcoming workshop “Strategic Project Management” on October 23, 2015.

Till next time, Happy Canvasing!

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