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Project Manager : Project Manager Apr May 2013
40 Project Manager THOSE OF US WORKING IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT consider that projects can be used as vehicles to introduce technology, construct a building or deliver organisational change. The notion of using projects as a means to implement strategy is also something that makes perfect sense, but very little research has examined how to do this. Divergent paths Strategy implementation is concerned with the translation of strategy into action through organisational structure and design, resource planning, and the management of strategic change (Johnson & Scholes, 1997), to take a company from where it is to where it should be (Stonich, 1982). Strategy implementation and project management have largely developed separately and independently (Grundy, 1998) and, as such, each of these disciplines has developed its own theories, tools and techniques. Linton argued in 2001 that "the use of project management techniques to reduce uncertainty and increase control assists in implementation". However, the strategy implementation discourse has largely ignored the field of project management. There are isolated examples that cover this concept, such as McElroy's 1996 discussion of how project management, program management and portfolio management approaches can be used as vehicles to implement strategy and discussions of projects, project planning and implementation projects by Okumus in 2003 and Kazmi in 2008. New perspectives There appears to be two quite divergent approaches being taken to explore strategy implementation. The first is emerging from the project management discipline where the focus has been on exploring alignment and linking of project plans to organisational strategy. Research undertaken by Turner in 1999 suggested that business strategy is cascaded down into project strategy and project objectives, re ecting the 1960s thinking in strategic planning. A 2005 study by Morris and Jamieson (2005) has followed a similar tradition. There have been relatively few developments, and Young and Young suggested last year that this could be due to such approaches failing to engage and resonate with senior managers. The second approach is exploring the various implementation factors that contribute to success or that result in failure, and has been largely driven by the disciplines of management theory and strategic management. ese factors are examined from two perspectives: the process used that results in a successful implementation outcome, and the underpinning and associated behaviours required of the various parties to ensure implementation success. Surprisingly, project management does not feature strongly in this approach. Obstacle course When we examine the progress made to improve strategy implementation, the results to date are not great. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hambrick and Canella (1989) and Mintzberg (1994) claimed that more than half of strategies are never implemented due to unexpected di culties faced during the execution stage. ese gures are re ected in a 2008 study by e Economist (and cited by Yang, Gouhui and Eppler), in which 57 per cent of rms surveyed were unsuccessful at executing strategic initiatives. In his 2009 book, Speculand revised this gure, suggesting that as many as 90 per cent of all strategies fail in their execution. Twin synergies Project management has been largely ignored in discussions of strategy implementation until recently. Now, two schools of thought are exploring how the two can fit together. MICHAEL YOUNG, AIPM KNOWLEDGE RESEARCH COUNCIL CHAIR IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT WE MAY BE WORKING WITHIN A COMPLEX AND MESSY SPACE THAT IS DIFFICULT TO DEFINE, AND THEREFORE COULD NOT IDENTIFY ALL IMPLEMENTATION FACTORS
Project Manager Feb Mar 2013
Project Manager June July 2013