What is Strategic Project Management? A key to project success

What is strategic project management?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Business is in a constant state of evolution. Even 8 months ago, pre OpenAI, the world could be described as a different place and because of the rapidly evolving state — businesses need to keep up and execute well.

One way to do that is to consider strategic project management.

Strategic project management has emerged as an essential discipline that enables companies to align their projects with overall business objectives, optimize resource utilization, and drive successful outcomes.

By adopting a strategic approach to project management, businesses can enhance their ability to adapt to change, maximize value creation, and ultimately thrive in a dynamic market environment.

Understanding Strategic Project Management

Strategic project management is a high level approach towards managing projects. It involves a systematic and proactive effort to managing projects and is intended to keep alignment with an organization’s strategic goals.

Still project management in it’s core; it involves the integration of project management principles, methodologies, and techniques… but now combined with strategic planning and decision-making processes. Unlike traditional project management, which primarily focuses on delivering projects within scope, time, and budget constraints, strategic project management takes a holistic view by considering the broader business context and long-term objectives.

Always asking the question,

“Is what we’re doing right now in alignment with who we are, where we want to be, and what our customers need?”

It’s worth adding that this does not mean that strategic project management is no longer considering the traditional elements of scope, time, and budget — they are. It is just now done within the framework of the overall business strategy as well.

Key components of Strategic Project Management

Strategic Alignment

Strategic project management starts with a clear understanding of the organization’s strategic direction.

Projects are evaluated and selected based on their alignment with the overall business strategy.

This ensures that project outcomes contribute directly to the achievement of organizational goals: whether that be something such as market expansion, product innovation, or operational excellence.

Stakeholder Engagement

Effective stakeholder management is crucial in strategic project management. Stakeholders of all types — including senior management, customers, employees, and external partners — all play a vital role in defining project objectives, providing input, and offering support.

Engaging stakeholders early on and throughout the project lifecycle helps build consensus, manage expectations, and mitigate risks.

Not only this but it imparts vision and purpose to the team working on the projects. Particularly in a day where remote work and COVID has created significant separation and even disengagement with work, returning purpose and impact to the team can mean more success.

Risk Management

Strategic project management emphasizes proactive identification and management of risks.

Project managers can minimize potential disruptions and capitalize on opportunities by conducting thorough risk assessments and developing mitigation strategies. Risk management in strategic project management goes beyond the project level and considers the impact on the organization’s strategic objectives and overall portfolio.

This often requires a longer term view of risks overall as it’s no longer just about the project being worked on; it’s about the company.

Resource Optimization

Resource allocation and optimization are critical aspects of strategic project management.

Organizations must strategically allocate their resources. Resources can include personnel, budget, and technology. These must be considered, and thoroughly, in order to ensure projects are executed efficiently and effectively.

By prioritizing projects based on their strategic importance, organizations can make informed decisions about resource allocation and optimize their capacity for maximum impact.

Performance Measurement

Strategic project management requires a robust performance measurement framework that goes beyond traditional project metrics.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are established to assess project progress, measure outcomes, and evaluate the contribution of projects to strategic goals. This data-driven approach enables organizations to monitor project performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-backed decisions for future initiatives.

It also forces teams and stakeholders to think of impact in terms of something quantifiable and more than simply is the project on time, budget, or within scope.

Benefits of Strategic Project Management

Improved Decision Making

Strategic project management provides organizations with a structured framework for making informed decisions about project selection, prioritization, and resource allocation.

By aligning projects with strategic objectives, decision-makers can focus on initiatives that drive the most value and support the long-term vision.

Enhanced Competitive Advantage

You’ll get ahead of the competition. Strategic project management enables organizations to respond swiftly to market changes, seize opportunities, and stay ahead of competitors.

By aligning projects with emerging market trends and customer needs, businesses can develop innovative products, optimize processes, and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Efficient Resource Utilization

Organizations can optimize their use of personnel, budget, and assets by taking a strategic approach to resource allocation.

This leads to increased efficiency, reduced waste, and improved project outcomes. With limited resources, strategic project management helps prioritize investments that generate the most significant impact.

Better Risk Mitigation

The proactive risk management practices in strategic project management minimize potential project disruptions and enhance the organization’s ability to navigate uncertainties. By identifying risks early on and developing mitigation strategies, organizations can minimize the impact on strategic objectives and ensure successful project delivery.

Conclusion: Strategic Project Management is better for outcomes

This is why we incorporate strategy as a default state into Leantime. We think you shouldn’t have to know how to do strategic project management in order to reap the benefits of combining strategy with your execution. The two together give your team, your stakeholders, and the organization a better chance for success and enable more members to hold and carry the vision.

All in all, strategic project management is a game-changer for organizations looking to achieve their strategic objectives and thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape. By integrating project management practices with their strategic planning and decision-making processes, companies can ensure that their projects align with their overall business goals and contribute to long-term success.

Embracing strategic project management not only improves project outcomes but also allows businesses to adapt to changing market conditions, capitalize on emerging opportunities and drive innovation. Organizations can maximize their value creation and achieve sustainable growth by considering the broader business context and aligning projects with strategic objectives.

In conclusion, strategic project management is a powerful approach that empowers organizations to navigate complexities, overcome challenges, and deliver successful outcomes.

By adopting this holistic and proactive approach, businesses can ensure that their projects are completed on time and within budget and contribute to realizing their strategic vision.

Gloria Folaron is the CEO and founder of Leantime. A Nurse first, she describes herself as an original non-project manager. Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life, she has hands on experience in navigating the world of project and product management and staying organized with ADHD.

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