white paper project meaning

These smart executives realize there is an opportunity to grow and pick up frustrated customers, so they come up with a multi-year plan that has some bullet points like this:

  • Increase revenue by 25%

  • Be recognized as offering the best customer service in the industry

  • Add 50 more planes to our fleet

  • Be seen as a leader in adopting new FAA regulations

This is great. Your executives have stated their objectives clearly and concisely. You now know the direction and you have a list of strategic drivers to begin a portfolio analysis, right? Perhaps not.

A common mistake many companies make in defining their strategic drivers is to take this list and use it as their Strategic Drivers. You might be wondering why I am telling you these are not good enough.

White paper project meaning

Rather it represents a shift in priorities. Our project might need to be re-scoped, re-prioritized or even killed. These decisions can be very emotional.

A great way to remove some of these emotions is to attack the challenge head-on with a standard approach to making important project decisions.

The approach I am referring to is Portfolio Management. An approach to making informed decisions is to align Projects with your organization’s strategic objectives.

Microsoft Project Server 2010 has some very powerful features that enable real-time decision making based on all sorts of criteria, including business strategy.

What You Will Learn

This article is primarily devoted to ways in which you can define measurable strategic drivers that will assist your executives in selecting the right projects.

White paper project meaning bts

You have to look at your own situation to see where integrating these tools and concepts can pay back the right dividends before tying them together.

About the Author

Chris Vandersluis is the president and founder of Montreal, Canada-based HMS Software, a Microsoft Certified Partner. He has an economics degree from McGill University and over 30 years experience in the automation of project control systems. He is a long-standing member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and helped found the Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec chapters of the Microsoft Project Users Group (MPUG).

Publications for which Chris has written include Fortune, Heavy Construction News, Computing Canada magazine, and PMI’s PMNetwork, and he is a regular columnist for Project Times.

White paper plan meaning

If we look at data from Portfolio Management, Project Management, and Task Management, it might look very similar. I’ve got an ID field, a description field, and a start and end date in all three. Linking all three of these should be natural then.

Perhaps not.

Let’s take these three concepts one at a time.
It’s easy to see their similarities, but there are fundamental differences in the three perspectives.

Portfolio Management — a top-down approach

People can mean a lot of different things by “portfolio management,” but the most meaning common is probably project selection and prioritization. The principles ultimately affect everyone in the organization, but the process is of great interest to senior executives.

Now it is time we get to a point where the project teams have something they can use, too.

Let’s say after Step 3 is completed we came up with the following Drivers and Weightings:

Strategic DriversStrategic Drivers WeightingIntroduce new premium products Increase energy efficiency40% 15%Reduction of call hold times Pre-emptive service programs10% 5%Penetration into family destinations Increase short-haul business destinations10% 5%Standardize fleet and components15%TOTAL WEIGHTING100%

At this point, we could ask our project teams to get all their proposed and in-play projects aligned with these drivers. The problem we are faced with is measuring just how well these projects are aligned.

White paper project meaningful

As a marketing tool, these papers use selected facts and logical arguments to build a case favorable to the company sponsoring the document.

B2B (business-to-business) white papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, grow email lists, grow audiences, increase sales, or inform and persuade readers. The audiences for a B2B white paper can include prospective customers, channel partners, journalists, analysts, investors, or any other stakeholders.

White papers are considered to be a form of content marketing or inbound marketing; in other words, sponsored content available on the web with or without registration, intended to raise the visibility of the sponsor in search engine results and build web traffic.

White paper project meanings

Like Stelzner’s, it’s short and simple, and it identifies two key attributes (also found in Kantor’s definition) of successful white papers: first, they are persuasive, and second, they help solve problems. Plus, Graham’s definition emphasizes the use of solid information (facts and logic), which technology buyers say they want in a white paper.

Three Authentic Types of White Papers

Using Graham’s definition and what we’ve learned about what our prospects are looking for in a white paper, I feel there are three types of documents that can legitimately wear the white paper label.

The first of these is the “problem/solution.” A problem/solution white paper examines an existing problem and promotes a recommended solution.

White paper project meaningless

You might have one locked-down portfolio that represents the work to be completed for the current year then a few working portfolios for the coming years.

The journey to becoming a portfolio-driven company may have just started, but I guarantee you that, if done right, it will pay off in the end. I sincerely hope you have found this article worth your time and am always happy to answer your questions anytime.

About the Author

Bill Raymond is a seasoned executive with over 20 years delivering transformative projects. A businessperson at heart, with a strong technical background, he is able to focus on delivering successful projects while architecting technical solutions that solve difficult challenges.

It tries to make an air-tight case for the superiority of that solution over others. The recommended solution is often an emerging one that may still be relatively unknown to the market. While companies typically create problem/solution white papers to sway readers toward their own products, it is a best practice in problem/solution white papers to address the solution in generic terms—to speak of a solution class rather than a specific product.

The second type of white paper, the “backgrounder,” takes the opposite approach.

The backgrounder begins by describing an emerging technology, methodology, or innovative product and then demonstrates its advantages over its predecessors in addressing the problem it was designed to solve.

And for a checklist you can circulate to your reviewers to help them focus, see How to get great reviews for your white paper.

Step 3: If your writer asks for something, get it to them quickly

That’s one of your roles in the project: To support your team to do their best work.

If you let their requests for information or guidance languish in your Inbox, you are gambling with the outcome of your project.

Attend to their requests as though they were a prospective customer ready to spend millions with your company.

After all, your white paper is going to attract prospects like that, right?

Step 4: Don’t interfere with the creative process

During the Production phase, you may be tempted to jump in and start discussing your pet marketing phrases, fonts, and design details.


Leave this to your writer and designer.

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