Strategic Project Management

One of the skills that every corporate executive could have is project management, but SURELY every project manager should master the art of strategy.

As our project management class unfolds, I became more convinced that we cannot design or execute projects without the proper alignment of our objectives and resources as Project Managers with our corporate strategy. After all, projects are initiated to achieve business results. Projects should then not only be managed from the operational aspect but from the business aspect as well. Getting the job done does not seem enough anymore, rather getting the Right job done is what is needed. This mindset does not come to cancel the existing ways of doing projects but to expand the projects meaning and give them a broader reason.

To help build the Project strategy one has to identify to following projects components:

  • Perspective “Why”: Defines the reason and the motivation for the project, as well the need, environment and business opportunity. This will help understand the big picture and creates motivation among the staff.
  • Position “What”: Defines the end product of the project which will be delivered to the customer or users. How could this project contributes to our product, and why the customer will buy our product and why our product is better than what is available on the market
  • Plan “How”: This part of the project strategy explains how the objectives and competitive advantage are going to be achieved. At this level statement of work (SOW) and work break down structure (WBS), Project Matrix are developed. Shall a company want to be a first-mover, “time” will then have to be a constraint and delays cannot be accepted. On the other side if a company has the objective of being a cost leader, PM working on product design teams have to ensure that “cost” is a constraint as failing to be a cost leader might put the company’s competitive advantage under threat.

In the recent increase of project based companies, this skill has become inevitable for PM. Projects objectives seem to be giving a project its short term meaning, but its alignment with the strategy extends that meaning to a longer term.

Avoiding this truth can only lead the project to failing to add real value and build a sustainable business model.

Recently i have been involved in several retail store construction projects where it was clarified to us since the early stages of the works that time is our constraint. Opening according to the set deadlines was crucial for our company not only to meet its commitments with the landlord and franchisor but also to remain ahead or aligned with the competition.

Do you agree that projects managers should dispose of great strategic skills? Do you have any project, according to your opinion, being executed without being relevant to the company strategy?

Patanakul, P., & Shenhar, A. J. (2012). What project strategy really is: The fundamental building block in strategic project management. Project Management Journal43(1), 4-20. doi:10.1002/pmj.20282

Project Strategy Components

4 thoughts on “Strategic Project Management

  1. This made me think about the relevance of a project. I found myself wondering what the ultimate aim for any project is. The writing mad me form the opinion that finishing the project is not the main aim, but doing it the correct way. I was reminded of the importance of the process rather than the end.

  2. Your article really made me realize how strategic project management is the pillar of a firms success. In todays challenging business environment, firms must keep in mind project management as a strategic expertise needed for the survival of the firm. The most significant purpose of PM is to create continuous flows of project progress and success. Also, Project management teams must consider other project success strategies to support their organizations business strategy, rather than just focusing on meeting their budget and performance goals. Managers should highly perceive and analyze procedures to aid their firms into developing strategic performance management

  3. The title of this blog caught my eye. I am drawn to strategy. This class is opening my mind to the importance that individual projects be part of the overall strategy of the organization. I never thought of projects in this way, as part of a larger scheme. Projects seem so finite, having a beginning and an end. As the author of this blog recognizes, time is often a realistic constraint. This makes projects move along even faster. The speed (short life cycle) of a project distracts me from the fact that it should be part of a larger, intentional strategy, and not the end result. I hope I’m making sense! When I think of projects, I typically don’t connect them to the larger scope of the organization.

    Now that I have a new view of projects, I am wondering if our group is defining our objective correctly. Instead of just setting out to raise money, or packing meals, which is all very good objectives, I’m thinking that we should first check in with the organization to find out if there is a more relevant focus that would better serve their current strategies.

  4. This post is particularly relevant to me, because I have recently been discovering the importance of the art of strategy in project management. I think that you learn a lot about strategy as a project manager because you learn from successes and failures and that often leads to learning about strategy. Understanding the strategy ahead of time makes project success more likely. Your writing reminded me of the importance of understanding how the project fits into the overall strategy of the company and not simply the importance of the short term goals assigned to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *