Project Management

Early and Broad: The Key to Strategic Implementation Success

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the last few years, there has been increasing recognition of the role that projects play in strategy implementation. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that projects are the implementation arm of strategy—they take the concept and plan and turn it into reality.

Now granted, not every project can be tied directly back to strategy, and sometimes we have elements of program management in between (and hopefully there is always a portfolio management function); but at the basic level, organizations implement strategy through projects.

It therefore follows that project managers are the individuals responsible for strategy implementation. And to have the best possible chance of success, they need to be involved early in the strategic planning and delivery cycle. I know the argument about when a project manager should be appointed is one of the oldest in project management, and I don’t want to simply regurgitate it again here. But when it comes to projects that are specifically designed to help an organization achieve its strategic goals, I believe there is a need to select, appoint and engage the project manager earlier than usually happens.

I also believe that they need to be involved more broadly. Projects aren’t delivered in isolation; they combine to collectively contribute to business goals and they impact on one another during execution. Unless …

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"The reason why worry kills more people than hard work is that more people worry than work."

- Robert Frost