Why Project Managers Need To Understand Strategy

Project managers need to understand more than logistics; they need to understand strategy formulation, execution and management. A successful project is about more than simply completing the project to desired specifications; it’s about completing it the right way and at the right time. Project management must have intelligent direction and highly defined objectives if they are to be integrated and aligned into a business strategy. Despite this, only 42 percent of businesses actually find that their strategy aligns with their project management.

Managing a Project Strategically

Projects will often evolve and adapt as they are undertaken, and this necessitates the ability to identify that which is critical and non-critical and adjust as necessary. A project manager cannot be so determined to finish the project to the desired specifications that they lose sight of the actual plan, nor can they adjust the project outside of the parameters of organizational usefulness. In this, the project manager must have a larger picture view of where the project fits into the business plan. Project managers must also know when to step back and when certain aspects of the project aren’t necessary to its success.

Integrating Project Management Into Business Strategy

Project management and business strategy must be able to openly communicate with each other. In other words, it must be a two way street. Just as project management must strategically react to the business strategy, the business strategy must be able to react to the project as it progresses. Project management outlines and potential contingency plans should be thoroughly outlined to ensure that the rest of the business is able to work in tandem with the project, however the project is eventually conceptualized. This is often done by identifying key aspects of the product or milestones that absolutely must be met, to ensure that both sides are able to operate in sync with one another.

Pivoting When Scope or Strategy Changes

In addition to understanding how to integrate project management and business strategy, a project manager must be able to quickly and easily pivot between strategies without wasting time or losing valuable resources. This is where contingency plans become critical. Everything must be as clearly defined as possible to avoid any confusion and to utilize the resources of the business as efficiently and effectively as possible. A project manager must be able to clearly define cases in which these strategies need to change and must be able to make decisions in an educated, quick and decisive manner: all hallmarks of an excellent strategist.

Project management is about more than simply formulating a project. It’s about developing a project within a business plan. Business strategy and project management strategy must be able to work together to ensure the ultimate success of the business; otherwise, either could falter. Consequently, project managers need to be strategic in their thoughts and planning if they are to lead their team towards their goals.

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