Your step-by-step guide to managing strategic advantage projects
There are two types of companies: those that only pay lip service to strategic planning and those that donot. It's the second guy who wins because he has a strategic approach to project management. They know strategy is about winning and initiating transformation across the market.
That's what the Cambridge Online Dictionary saysstrategic advantageis when a company has "a particular characteristic or practice that makes it more successful than others". In other words, strategic advantage is your ability to draw on your unique attributes and win over the tough competition.
Many companies have had to learn the hard way - it takes time and multiple steps to strategically manage projects. In project management for strategic advantage, you should develop a perspective, set a direction and create a system to achieve the best possible benefitin the long run.
Step 1: Adopt a strategic mindset
"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire Cat in a tree. "Which street do I take?" she asked. "Where are you going?" was his answer. "I don't know," Alice replied. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, couldn't have said it better. You don't have project management for a strategic advantage if you don't know where the journey is going.
Strategic project management doesn't just run your project from A to Z. Instead, strategic management creates and highlights the connection between themthe projectAndthe larger goals of the company.
On-site management is often detached from strategic project management. Strategic meetings tend to be the ones you absolutely want to avoid. But there you decide on the criteria for selecting the next project. There you build itstrong connectionbetween the business strategy and your project plan.
With a strategic mindset, you can confidently plan, evaluate, and review to maintain the competitive advantage of your product or service. This is the best shortcut to stay one step ahead of your competition.
Step 2: Select theTo the rightProject
How do you decide which project to complete and which to reject? To the right. You evaluate your project based on the organizational goals.
Let the company's vision guide you. Daily or monthly projects are designed to help you tie the results to a key strategy and the company's vision. You take those long-term goals and weave them into every single project you undertake. That's what they call seeing the big picture.
It's not about moving on to the next project just because it looks great. You must analyze strategically, select strategically, and execute strategically if you want to gain a strategic advantage in the marketplace.
Step 3: Focus on business outcomes.
When the first generation of the Ford Taurus was launched in 1986, it was an enormous success. customers loved it! It quickly became the best-selling car in America at the time.
Ford Taurus has set new standards in the market and demonstrated how to manage strategic advantage projects. However, after the project was completed, the project manager was fired. The reason was that the project was not delivered on time (in fact, there was a delay of six months).
When the new project manager came on board to oversee the launch of the second generation Taurus, he knew exactly what to look out for. The second generation of Taurus was launched on time but delivered disappointing results. The outstanding success was not repeated.
“That's what we call the difference between an operationally managed project and onestrategically managed project“writesAaron Shenhar, Professor of Project Management, in one of his articles.
No wonder project management is becoming a strategic advantagelong-term improvement in business outcomes. If you aim for innovation and a refreshing customer experience, don't just fill out templates and tick boxes for completed tasks. Put customer needs and strategic advantage at the heart of strategic project management.
With these three steps, the scene is now set. But even after you've started the project, external and internal factors can cause disruption, putting the project on hold or even forcing you to abandon it.
Step 4: Monitor the competitive landscape
You don't want to be surprised at any stage of project completion, do you?
Strategic management in project management always goes hand in hand with monitoring the competitor's activities. This means that you take care of the internal processes as well as being on the lookout for external threats and opportunities.
Unexpected twists and turns in the market can give you an early warning or an extra nudge in a certain direction. Ask questions like "Is this change significant?" or "How will this change affect my project?" will guide your action plans successfully.
For competitive evaluation, consider using Michael Porter's "Five Forces Framework," which helps assess the top five forces affecting industries, their business strategy, and profitability.
Step 5: Strategically manage risks
It's time to ensure your project is risk-informed and resilient to uncertainty.
A detailed risk management plan will not only help youWatch out for barriers in project managementbut also contributes to the strategic success of the project. dr David Hillsonmention, thatSix steps in the risk management process:
- Define risk goals (What are we trying to achieve?)
- Identify Risks (What might prevent us from achieving it?)
- Assess/analyze risks (Which are most important?)
- Planning Risk Responses (What Can We Do About It?)
- Implement Risk Responses ((Do it!) Did it work?)
- Monitoring and Review (What has changed?)
But there is more.
If you are striving to find a strategic advantage, you should recognize that strategic risk management is not just about risk; it also includes opportunities. If you spot a gap you can fill or an uncertainty you can capitalize on, congratulations! You were in the right place at the right time!
Therefore, strategic management in project management will aim to minimize risks and maximize opportunities. This helps you to optimize your project execution and to manage your projects more successfully than your competitors.
Step 6: Put your employees first
What if research shows customers are?Worry about customer service more than priceyour product or service? Would this information force you to change the way you hire and manage your team?
Let your workforce schedule become a strategic advantage in itself. Prioritize these two steps: make sure your team has the ability to do something your competitors can't just copy, and take care of your people as best you can so nobody poaches them.
To be present. offer guidance. Make sure your team fully understands the company's business strategy. Confused and insecure team members will drive the entire project into mediocrity. And mediocrity means you're in trouble.
As surprising as it may sound, when you think beyond a single project and consider the larger goals and vision of the organization, you are more likely to recruit the best talent for your project. Try to find answers to this question: What knowledge, skills and competencies do my team members need to respond to long-term market needs and deliver business results?
Aside from that,transparencyis a central currency in project management. Involve your team members in the process of developing project goals. Get people to agree on the direction in which to go. "You need the cooperation and participation of the people concerned, not only in the execution of the plan, but also in the planning itself," writes Dr. Joseph M. Juran, engineer and management consultant. This empowers people to deliver results, boosts employee morale tremendously, and creates a strong link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
If you are moving from pure team building activities and conflict resolution to setting up aTeam spirit, meaning, motivation and vision, start managing your project for strategic advantage. Go the extra mile to inspire the team and your employees will develop organizational skills that you will all be proud of. Your team has unique strengths. Recognize them and build on them!
We know it. You want your competitors to admit that your company has a deep strategic advantage. Do not worry. If you chose project management for strategic reasons, you will continue to deliver excellent results.
Take a short break before allocating resources to the next project. Look at the company's mission and goals and see if the project brings you one step closer to your company's vision.
Most companies are still busy finishing the next project. Don't be one of them. Your dedication to managing projects for strategic advantage will soon reward you. The few who make it core to their working style will thrive in tomorrow's marketplace.