How to Develop Strategic Project Management?
Strategic project management is becoming a popular and growing trend within the project management discipline.
According to the main idea of the concept, project management teams must learn how to deal with the business aspects of their projects and better support their company’s strategy, rather than just be focused on meeting traditional issues – time, budget, and goals.
Project management is the process that controls a project from its start to finish. Strategy without projects is just a useless doc collecting dust. Projects without strategy are waste of time and actions losing their appeal. Strategy shapes decisions about products. A strategy that cannot be applied to work has no value.
What Is Strategic Project Management?
Strategic Project Management (SPM) defines the big picture of how the project may benefit the company’s efficiency and as a whole. This process combines business strategy and project management methodologies and techniques to deliver organizational breakthroughs.
It accelerated by brainstorming and problem-solving activities so that a project will not only be completed successfully but more efficiently and faster.
Strategic project management and setting right priorities
Managing priorities is closely related to strategic project management. For example, if a company is focused on educated adult customers, so this customer strategy and focus will affect every aspect of the company’s work. In this case, a project manager should pay attention to the following:
- Simplifying decision-making. If there is a clear strategy, then decision making becomes easier.
- Setting priorities permanently. It’s a good idea to start every day with priorities but not with emails. By starting the day with email, you focus on urgent things instead of the important. Start the day by developing one task that will advance your strategy.
- Energy prioritization. Most people tend to have more energy in the morning before the power is consumed. Scheduling work on your strategic priorities in the morning will improve total results. Projects usually depend on enthusiasm, problem solving and creativity, so ignoring energy levels will definitely lead to failure.
- Linking budgets to strategy. Allocating required budget is a clear signal of the company’s priorities. If you’re managing a project management office, the strategy must guide your decisions.
- Preparing yourself to contribute to the project strategy. Most of the high-performing companies call on their project management offices to contribute to strategic planning. If you’re a growing project manager, you may have limited input on strategy today. Therefore, you need to educate yourself and be prepared.
- Focusing on organizational ambitions. Of course, people want to be recognized and admired for their work. However, some managers seek personal glory at the cost of the company. Seek out what the company needs and fight the urge to focus solely on problems or challenges you encounter.
- Revisiting strategic progress. Often, the strategy is an annual exercise in companies. For a few days or weeks, a great deal of energy goes into developing the document. All that effort goes to waste unless you revisit the strategy and measure progress. Measuring progress should not be complicated. Just add an agenda item to your weekly meeting to review the strategy.
Strategic Project Management advantages
The use of Strategic Project Management leads to achieving a competitive advantage.
Many companies have moved to a project management methodology such as PMI’s PMBOK many years ago. However, they have not completely understood the concept of using a strategic vision for project selection. To gain the advantages in the marketplace, a company must properly identify and select the right projects.
The use of SPM and Project Portfolio Management can provide a lot of advantages to companies to allow them to identify and select those projects that provide the greatest level of value.
There are essential advantages to undertake a rethinking and retooling of the project management function to include strategic project management methodologies in the selection of projects that are undertaken.
Books about strategic project management
What to read? You may improve your SPM skills by reading professional books, such as “Strategic Project Management” by Paul Roberts.
This book gives project managers the knowledge, insights, and skills to use projects to move the business in the desired direction and guard against project failures.
The author uses real-life examples and cases to describe the factors and conditions necessary for projects to thrive and to deliver the organization’s strategic objectives.
There are ten imperatives that senior project managers can implement within individual projects and within the institutions that sponsor them.
The book offers the solutions needed to prioritize and manage a portfolio of projects, communicate aims, evaluate progress and anticipate the risks at every stage. “Strategic Project Management” is accessible, practical and free of jargon.
There is also a useful article “What Project Strategy Really Is: The Fundamental Building Block in Strategic Project Management” by Peerasit Patanakul and Aaron Shenhar.
According to the authors, the approach of Strategic Project Management has been gaining popularity. However, it has not yet become explicit and widely used in the practice of project implementation.
There is still no universal framework or even a clear definition of what project strategy is. The goal of this work is to fill in this gap and provide a useful definition and a framework for the further study and implementation of the project strategy concept.
What do you think about SPM and how strongly do you implement its methods and principles?