Implementing Business Strategies Through Projects
Strategically managing the growth
of a company, agency, institution, or other human enterprise requires:
- A vision of the future
of the organization at the top level;
- Consensus and commitment within
the power structure of the organization on the mission and future direction
of the organization;
- Documentation of the key objectives
and strategies to fulfill the mission;
- Planning and execution of specific
projects to carry out the stated strategies and reach the desired objectives.
Objectives are descriptions
of where we want to go. Strategies are statements of how we are going
to get there. Strategies are carried out and objectives are reached, when major
growth steps are involved, through execution of projects and multi-project programs.
Projects translate strategies into actions and objectives into realities.
It is important to recognize that
objectives and strategies exist in a hierarchyand not just at one levelin most
organizations. A useful way to describe this hierarchy is to define three levels:
Level 1: Policy
Level 2: Strategic
Level 3: Operational
Figure 2 shows how the strategies become objectives at
the next lower level in the hierarchy, until at the operational level projects
are identified to achieve the operational objectives. Unless the higher-level
objectives and strategies are translated into actions through projects, the plans
will simply sit unachieved on the shelf. The linkage between strategic and project
management is also shown in Figure 2. Strategic managers
set the future course of the organization. Project management executes the specific
efforts that achieve the growth strategies. The managers of these projects are
acting for and representing the project owners, and receive their direction through
the project sponsors.
Figure 2: The heirarchy of objects, strategies and projects.
Two broad classes of organizations
can be identified: First, those project-driven organizations whose primary
business is in fact made up of projects. Examples of this class include architect/engineer/constructor,
general contractor, and specialty contractor firms; software development firms
who sell their products or services on a contract basis; telecommunications systems
suppliers; consultants and other professional services firms; and other organizations
that bid for work on a project-by-project basis. Growth strategies in such organizations
are reflected in the type, size, location and nature of the projects selected
for bidding, as well as the choices made in how the required resources will be
provided (in-house or out-sourced) to carry out the projects, if and when a contract
is awarded or the project is otherwise approved for execution
The second category of organizationsthose
that are project-dependent for growth includes all others that provide
goods and services as their mainstream business. Projects within these organizations
are primarily internally sponsored and funded. Examples include manufacturing
(consumer products, pharmaceuticals, engineered products, etc.), banking, transportation,
communications, governmental agencies, computer hardware and software developers
and suppliers, universities and other institutions, among others. These organizations
depend on projects to support their primary lines of business, but projects are
not their principle offering to the marketplace. Many of these sponsors of internally
funded projects are important buyers of projects from project-driven organizations.
In both of these types of organizations,
projects are the primary vehicles for executing their growth strategies. For
this reason the project management capabilities of organizations are crucial
to their current and future success.
From Archibald, Russell D., Managing High-Technology
Programs and Projects, 2nd Ed, 1992, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 9.