The project management industry is set to grow to $6.6 trillion by the end of 2020. Interestingly, project management itself is expensive, consuming up to 20% of a project’s budget. Pursuing a project without rock-hard project management, therefore, meets more harm than good.
In this respect, it will be relevant to note some interesting figures:
- 70% of all projects fail to succeed.
- 42% of companies fail to understand the significance of project management.
- Companies undervaluing project management see 50% or more of their projects failing.
- 9.9% (or almost 10%) of each dollar spent is wasted due to poor project performance.
Precisely this is the reason strategic project management has become the most recent trend and so is the project management career. Strategic project management is the knowledge (of a set of methodologies and frameworks) responsible for moving a project from start to finish to support a company’s business as a whole by dealing with the business aspects of a project instead of just focusing on typical project management issues like goals, budget and timelines. A project without a strategy is almost useless.
A recollection of the famous case history of Coca-Cola introducing the New Coke in 1985 would be an interesting point of reference as to why a company needs proper project management. Preferably by adept professionals with the skills and knowledge derived from some best project management courses for better control over a project.
In the year 1985, Coca-Cola wasted $4 million in the project of new product development (New Coke) and an additional $30 million in unsold products. Making it one of the most famous ‘poorly managed project’ examples.
Instead of in-depth marketing research, data and information collection the team conducted more than 200,000 ‘taste’ tests to conclude that the participants liked the taste of the New Coke more than the classic one, including Pepsi.
The consumers however hated the new taste, and the project went down the drain along with the money.
Sound strategic planning in project management undoubtedly improves the project-success possibility and ensures cost-saving and risk reduction. With proven project management practices in place, high-performing companies have met their goals 2.5 times more often, as revealed by the Pulse project management statistics.
Certainly, using the experience, skills and the knowledge of project management derived from PMP certification training pursued by millions of project managers, successful completion of any project is possible. Those who wish to crack the examination fast without wasting much time undergo the PMP exam prep course to remain ahead in the race.
What is Strategic Project Management - An Overview
Strategic project management or SPM considers the big picture of how a project may facilitate company’s competence using business and project management methodologies, frameworks and business strategies to meet organizational breakthroughs. Some project management strategy examples include branding, inbound marketing and content marketing among others.
Brainstorming and problem-solving techniques accelerate SPM, resulting in efficient and faster project completion. Professional project managers handle these better. Typically, they undergo some project management courses to have better control over every aspect of a project.
The Importance of Strategic Project Management Strategies
Including the strategic project management methodologies to project management function in the selection of projects allows businesses to:
- Identify and select projects that provide maximum value to companies and their clients both.
- Reduce repetitive tasks that eat up productivity. A Monday.com survey revealed 54% of people spend five or more hours a week on tedious, repetitive tasks lacking creativity.
Process of Strategic Project Management
There are many frameworks of strategic management processes. Typically, the processes can be captured in five phases.
- Assessment – of a company’s current strategic situation
- Identification and analysis – of the internal and external strengths and weaknesses
- Devising a plan of action
- Putting plans to practice
- Evaluation – to what extent the plans have been successful (or not) and whether the required changes would bring the desired result.
These phases are assisted by data collection, effective communication and organizational culture, especially in the case of large and complex ones where they play a very significant role.
Improper communication or miscommunication can jeopardize any project. As per the Project Management Institute (PMI) in their Pulse of the Profession report, poor communication is a major contributing factor in 56% of project failures.
Likewise, a negative corporate culture of a company that does not value quality work or contribution of people, lacks leadership and direction, operates with profit as the only deciding factor, can see misalignment of its strategic management plan and the activities. Demotivated employees cannot produce results.
How to Develop Strategic Project Management in Easy Steps
Both traditional and strategic planning and project management require priorities management. These include:
- Simplify decision-making by using strategies of defining a problem, gathering information and options, evaluating options and taking action.
- Improve priority management (for example starting the day with priority tasks instead of replying to emails).
- Link budgets to strategy- every project must involve business strategy in all financial decisions or budget allocation.
- Contribute to the project strategy- irrespective of having more or less experience in strategy, all project managers must contribute to project strategy.
- Focus on organizational ambitions- resting aside personal recognition or the urge to focus more on challenges or issues that might affect one as a person, project managers must keep the bigger picture of a company’s needs in mind.
- Revisit strategic progress- the project team must constantly review, measure and revise the strategy whenever needed instead of considering strategy-making merely a one-time thought exercise.
Measuring the Success of Strategic Project Management
An organization may have done fabulous strategic project planning, collected data and formulated roadmaps to execute the plans, assigned duties to the members, scheduled completion time, considered the risk factors – everything done with the finest details. But unless it has some measuring metrics it is never going to know if it has succeeded in implementing the strategies set.
Here comes the need of establishing some measurable and quantifiable metrics. Below is the listed narration of how successful organizations go about measuring the achievements of their strategic project management.
1. Well-Defined Objectives
“A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.
The members involved in the planning process must have the objectives clear, with laid out objectives to accomplish. They can use these as references to refer back from time to time in case of getting off track.
Linking productivity to cost effectiveness helps to see if a company is using its resources to the maximum. Funds should be allocated to meet forecasted and unforeseen situations. By implementing strategic planning efficiency can be improved.
The benchmark for quality parameters could be set by framing the following questions:
- What is the customer feedback on the product or service in general? Positive or negative?
- Are there complaints? How many? What is the turnaround time of attending them?
- What is the feedback post complaint resolution?
- How does the product or service rank against the expectations (both internal and external)?
A business can adopt a system of regular customer surveys to understand if it is faring well and also take suggestions from them and the internal workforce as well.
Points out the closeness of the result to a set standard.
A step towards achieving accuracy is by implementing regular staff reviews throughout a project’s lifecycle. A checklist could be:
- Meeting the timeline
- Keeping focused on the set objectives
- Member engagement at all points during the implementation process
5. Change management
Quickly shift and adapt to any change in a project’s original scope and objectives. It is a basic human inclination to follow the same routine or course of action instead of taking a risk or initiating a transition (which could potentially change the outcome of a project or even the future of a company).
Such propensity comes out of the fear of failure and rejection. Whereas change is a part and parcel of life and work both. At an organizational level when such changes must occur, the company needs to ensure that they provide a kind of impact that transforms the way of working or the work environment towards betterment.
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Is Strategic Project Management Important?
The importance of strategic management in project management can be linked to the following survey data:
- Companies investing in strategic management practices save 28% due to successfully completing their project initiatives by reducing waste.
- Lack of clear goal setting is the most common element in project failure accounting for 37%.
- In the IT sector, 75% of respondents agreed they lacked confidence in their project’s success.
- 44% of project failures occur due to a lack of alignment between business and project objectives.
Such stats are good enough to prove the importance of strategic project management. Let us summarize the major benefits:
- Improves Decision Making – Companies must have clarity and real-time access to the work status of all business functions to learn about the current situation and what needs to be done in the future. With such strategic directions, the business owners can assess the strengths and weaknesses and take tactical decisions accordingly based on data.
- Accelerates Employee Engagement - The strategic management processes help the leaders form a clear vision and goal to motivate employees to deliver their best and remain engaged in a shared goal.
- Smart Hiring – Only with a proper understanding of the business needs can companies assess the competence gap to make the right hiring. Strategic management processes help in understanding and reducing the gaps through intelligent hiring.
- Inspires the Stakeholders - A resilient strategic plan helps to create definite and well-defined roadmaps for the future that interests stakeholders to invest in the business.
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Summing up our discussion, project management has caught the eyes of industries making it a strong discipline practiced by highly trained and certified professionals. Because industries now realize they cannot remain in business unless they manage and close their different projects successfully be it product designing, manufacturing, marketing or any other.
Businesses investing in proven project management practices reduce the waste of their financial resources 28 times than those who do not. Smart businesses are using project management as a critical strategic tool. Consequently, project management online courses like PRINCE2 course online are becoming hugely popular among those who are serious about their career in project management and wish to join successful companies for a win-win achievement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are strategic projects examples?
- Digital Marketing (Organic, Paid, SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
2. What are the 7 steps of the strategic management process?
- Understanding and Defining the Objectives
- Data and information collection
- Current situation analysis
- Formulating strategies (create long-term goals and objectives)
- Implementing strategies
- Monitoring strategies (SWOT analysis)
- Evaluation (and corrective action)
3. What is SWOT analysis in strategic management?
SWOT Analysis - Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat
4. What measures are used in strategic project management?
- Well Defined Objectives
- Change management.
5. What is the difference between strategic and project management?
Project management focuses on the lifecycle of a project in question, whereas strategic management involves the big picture of the entire company’s business, striving for future success.