All Projects Have a Strategy

What is Your Project Strategy?

Would you agree…every project has a strategy?

All Efforts Have a Project Strategy

All Projects Have a Strategy

All projects are undertaken to solve a problem or fulfill an aspiration. Or, to put it another way: the nature of a project (or other type of effort), is a manifestation of a strategy intended to resolve a problem or fulfill an aspiration. (“We’ll solve this problem by…{project}.”)

A factor that has a material affect on every effort’s strategy is its “context.” Project strategy contextual considerations include such elements as:

  • Resources & limits on those resources;
  • Project “drivers” (e.g., reducing operational costs is a common driver…and is quite different from a ‘first to market’ driver); and
  • Organizational abilities & limits on those abilities (e.g., consider the affect of an absence of authoritative estimating skills).

Each contextual factor will affect, or impact, the strategy adopted to undertake an effort.

Why is Project Strategy Important?

Given there isn’t a canonical way(s) for planning or executing efforts means every effort is unique and all selections are arbitrary. Because of these considerations means every individual effort requires a unique combination of strategy, structure, and resources to achieve success.

The project strategy applicable to your next project is different—in one, or more, important ways—from the strategy that was applicable to prior efforts. The pursuit of all efforts requires a complex optimization of many variables & parameters; such as:

  • Quality,
  • Schedule,
  • Budget,
  • Deliverables,
  • Risks,
  • Participation,
  • Open to risk or risk-averse,
  • Open to changes or rejecting them…

…and the like.

Resource Sourcing is a Strategic Factor

A key strategic impact of every project strategy is selection of the source of resources.

  • Basically, there are two alternatives. Do it yourself; or, engage outside expertise.

While either approach might work…strategically—each has a significantly affect on an effort’s timing, cost, quality, and other, implications.

Strategic Illustrations

Imagine you are responsible for launching a ‘bet-the-company’ product at a once-a-year trade show. That means…if the effort is one-day late…everything is lost.

  • Would you take the same approach to an effort with such an intensely focused schedule driver as you would if your primary consideration was budget? Obviously, no.

What if, a few weeks prior to the trade show, it became apparent that the in-house marketing staff lacked sufficient capacity necessary to complete all the marketing materials? Would it be appropriate to work through a recruiting, hiring & training cycle? (No.) Or, would engaging a skilled (probably much more expensive) consultant be appropriate?

What if your primary objective was neither schedule nor budget but an ultra, ultra-high degree of quality? Ultra-high quality efforts are even less likely to warrant choosing approach appropriate to one whose objective is speedy completion.

You Decide

Is your strategy the same for every effort? Or, do you make arbitrary choices based on the problem being solved…context…other complex optimizations of factors?

In the Next Post

In the next post…“Insist on ‘Stakeowners;’ not ‘Stakeholders.’” There are three critical aspects of every effort…each aspect requires an “owner.” Unaccountably many projects have failed because responsibilities for these aspects were improperly passed from one Stakeholder to another Stakeholder…the Project Manager.

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