23 October 2008

Strategy and business

Thinking out loud today...

Businesses have strategies, and staying aligned to startegy is supposed to be a sensible thing.  It helps maximise the effort spent on the strategic goals and targets.  And the more effort is expended the more likely the goals will be achieved.

Often strategy is about transporting you into the future.  So the goals are described in terms of where we will be in 3, 5 or 10 years.  And yes, projects are the main vessels that take us there.

Does this mean all strategic initiatives should be deliverred through projects?  No, I don't think so, although many of the non project initiatives could well be projectized.  Think for example of a change in culture as a strategic initiative (e.g. "We want to become a more family friendly workplace.")

The actual change in culture might not come with a project, and while projects may help enable it, they may not be forthcoming.

And does it mean all projects are strategic in nature? Nope.

They aren't even all aligned with strategy (although they should be.)  Some projects are very down in the detail of an organisation.  How, for example, do you align an office fitout with a startegic imperative?  Some things are just maintenance work.

But are there projects that are of a strategic scale that are not aligned to organsiational strategy?  Yes, there are plenty.  How do they do?  Not so sure.



  1. Projects may be a tactical way to carry out the strategy, but they don't have to be. They should always be in alignment with the strategy however.

    So, maybe:
    -maybe a project is carrying the strategy forward

    -a project must avoid conflicting with strategy for maximum benefit

    Josh Nankivel

  2. Craig,
    There are two fundamental activities in a business - operations and projects. Strategy may be implemented by either. Alignment with strategy can take place through eiither. In both though this alignment needs to be explicitly stated. In projects is seems to be easier, but in operations there is usually more benefits.
    Balanced Scorecard can be used to aligning strategy with projects or operations.

  3. Anonymous8:37 pm

    I would argue that in your example of "We want to become a more family friendly workplace." strategic initiative that you aren't going to succeed with that initiative without putting a project in place around making it happen.