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I am a college student studying a unit on Web Project Management. I have an assessment in which I have to plan a website design project for a client as part of an agency.

I am currently writing the business case based on the template provided by my Professor. All our readings and lectures have been based on the scenario of creating a new internal software product for a large IT company. I am stuck on the Strategic Alignment section. It says to provide an overview of the organizational strategic plans relating to this software including how this project supports the strategic plan.

In this scenario would you provide the strategic plan for the client or for the agency? The agency's plan is to make money and of course create excellent websites. The client is wanting an eCommerce website to sell their products.

I am learning remotely. I have asked the Professor but he didn't really answer the question he referred me back to the textbook. The TA has not responded to my email. Which is not helpful at all. Can someone point me in the right direction?

Thank you.

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    @Em_Bass - having taught that course, and asked the same question, I'll recommend that you answer the question from both perspectives (client and agency). Both need to entail more than just "make money" or "make good web-sites" because presumably, there are goals that are more important than a quick buck. To wit: the agency might believe that this project will help them enter a new business vertical; the client might be seeking a more unique user experience to heighten their brand awareness. – Sam Mar 16 at 13:13
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I would align the project with the strategic plan of the customer. In order for a project to be perceived as useful and valuable, the project has to deliver something that advances the strategic aims of the client.

Right now I'm working with a project client who has defined their project in terms of ensuring resources are available for the organization, but they haven't defined what the resources will do - there is no outcome, just process. I can predict that this project will fail - because it contributes nothing to the strategic goals.

"The agency's plan is to make money and of course create excellent websites." - That is an excellent example. Just as a thought experiment compare two agencies

  • Agency X wants to make money and of course create excellent websites

  • Agency Y wants to create excellent websites/value to the customer, and as a side effect, make money.

Those two agencies will make different choices about ethics, quality, and investment, etc. I predict that Agency Y will last longer and produce more value for the customer. I'd rather work for agency Y.

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If this is a document that would be given to the client, then the business case and hence the strategic alignment should be from the client's perspective. The client should have little interest in how the work fits within the agency's plans or strategies short of being content that the agency wants to do the development work and provide any subsequent management / maintenance / support. What the client wants to know is how the work will support its long term objectives, which you can't get by sitting in a darkened room just thinking about it: the answers to such questions would need to come from the client's own personnel.

On the other hand, if the document is internal to the agency, it should be written from the agency's perspective. Does the development take the agency into areas where it does not want to be operating, or is this a good fit with the agency's future plans? - That's the sort of question it should address.

So, what I am really saying is that it depends on the audience for the document. In some respects this is an odd document for an agency to write: the client should know how the project supports its own objectives before going out to the agency to ask for a development, while the agency's sales and management teams should know that the development is consistent with its own direction. Given that you do have to produce the document as part of your assignment, I think you need to state some assumptions and perhaps try to cover both bases, by structuring it in such a way that you say up front that it is strategically aligned to the agency's goals. You can justify this to the client because it shows that the development is important to the agency.

Then explain how it meets the client's goals: you can justify this by showing what the client needs to achieve, so that the agency is clear on what it needs to deliver to be successful.

It's a bit of an unsatisfactory approach, but without more information on the audience for the document, I don't think you can take a more focused approach.

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