“Opportunities don't happen. You create them.”

– Chris Grosser

Project Manager as a Strategic Leader

So, what is strategy and why is strategy important for a Project Manager?

Project strategy is a document describing goal related activities to achieve the project success. It is a roadmap to success!

The project strategy, when developed, should be able to provide a clear understanding and answers for Project Manager to answer questions on:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where should we go?
  • How do we get there?

One of traditional strategy frameworks called AFI, requires three steps: Analyze, Formulate, and Implement.

These three steps are a key for success factor of your project! They are not serial. They are interdependent and in many practical situations happen simultaneously.

Let’s not forget that the project manager often makes critical project decisions when conditions are uncertain and ambiguous.

Following this simple framework Project Managers will be able to maintain constant awareness of effective and efficient project planning and execution. Monitor and evaluate the progress toward the achievement of project objectives and adjust strategy if required.

In addition, the success of your project is directly connected to the development of new skills, swift reaction to change, and effective decision making.

1. Analyze the Problem Statement and Stakeholders Impact

The flip side of the problem or an opportunity is a benefit: what will be delivered to the customer to solve the problem or attack the opportunity?

We have to understand why project was initiated in the first place and what customer problem it is going to solve.

  • What part of the problem are you trying to solve?
  • What value do you deliver to the customer?
  • What will make your customer happy?

Above all, value focus and value delivery is a key. Without that, it does not matter how well we plan and design our processes, align to the organizational strategy, goals, etc.

The value needs to be very clearly defined and understood by the project team as well as stakeholders.

What are tangible and intangible benefits are going to be delivered by the project? How is it going to impact each group of project stakeholders?

2. Formulate Goals and Objectives for Your Project

Do you have a goal or do you have a strategy?

Goals are not strategies. Each goal should state exactly what needs to be achieved. The strategy is how is the goal going to be implemented. During this phase each goal is identified and supported by the strategy to achieve this particular goal and roadmap how to reach your objectives is created.

This step will help you to understand company capabilities and balance and transform company resources into products and services.

3. Implement (Apply The Previous Steps) Your Strategic Project Vision

  • Design your project: structure, culture, and control.
  • Link project expected outcomes to project deliverables.
  • Keep focusing your project resources on project activities.

Strategy implementation means continuously focus your resources on project objectives.

These three steps, which should be continuously reviewed and managed, add an important strategic focus to your project and help you to balance strategic and operational aspects of the project.

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