STRATEGIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT:
“The formation and implementation of over-arching Project Management Guidelines and Initiatives taken by an Organization’s Management on behalf of Project Stakeholders, based on Resources and an assessment of Tools, Techniques and Competencies considered Best Practices for Projects being implemented to meet Organizational Strategic Goals and Objectives. It provides overall direction to the Enterprise and involves specifying the Organization’s Project Management Objectives, developing Policies and Plans designed to achieve these Objectives, and then allocating Resources to implement the Plans. It is often not static in nature, for it includes a feedback loop to Monitor Execution, Develop and enact Systemic Change and inform subsequent Projects.”
I have always tried to simplify the concept of Project Management. As a young Program Manager in the Aerospace industry (with Project Management as a major part of my job) I always took pride in my project teams’ accomplishments. I recall once being asked by the president of our division “How would you sum up your PM job in one sentence?”. Now, let’s put this in proper perspective – he asked this question at the end of a 30 minute presentation I gave (as the “spotlight” speaker) during an NMA (National Management Association) dinner meeting attended by over 300 people. My spontaneous answer was “I focus on taking away everyone’s excuses.” Fortunately he liked that answer. That is what I refer to as a “Silver Bullet” – a catchy simple answer to a question warranting much more elaboration.
At other times in my career I caught myself saying “Project Management is all about Managing Risks”, or “Project Management is all about Managing Requirements and Change”, or “Project Management is all about Planning”, or “Project Management is all about Team Leadership”, etc. More “Silver Bullets”. So which one is right? Is there one that stands out the most? Are some methodologies better for certain PMs then others? Is it only about the PM and Team, or about the entire organization?
Several years ago, after decades of experience and ascension up the corporate ladder, I concluded that it was more important (organizationally) to ensure that all projects are as successful as possible versus just hoping all the PMs will do a good job based on their individual capabilities and competencies. I’ve concluded that all those “Silver Bullets” are important, but you get the most “bang for your buck” if they are combined in the most cohesive and symbiotic way – the answer is “Strategic” Project Management.
Strategic Project Management, thus, has several tenets. Additionally, since there are so many different industries, markets, organizational constructs, and “Best Practices” to accommodate, it must be robust. As it turns out, this concept was easier to articulate than I thought, for it is very logical and makes sense, and does not promote any special “Silver Bullet”. If you are curious, check out my recently published book on this topic. And if you need PDUs (Professional Development Units) to maintain your PMI® (Project Management Institute) certification, consider the Strategic Project Management on-line Course and Badge Series offered by Clarkson University.
Get the book “Achieving Epic Business Results with Strategic Project Management” by Michael M. Bissonette!