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Project Manager : Project Manager June July 2013
10 Project Manager Bring PM to the centre A much-changed corporate environment means it's time to abandon the age-old cascading model of corporate strategy and to invite project management into the boardroom. THOUGHT LEADERS Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest by researchers, scholars and practitioners about how project strategy can be aligned more closely with corporate strategy, particularly by Morris and Jamieson, Dietrich and Lehtonen, and Milosevic and Srivannaboon. ese studies start with the same basic assumptions: rstly, that there is a fundamental di erence between corporate and project strategy, and secondly, this di erence is the reason why strategy implementation fails. is article challenges the traditional strategy typologies and presents an alter nate model for corporate and project strategy alignment. Challenging traditional typologies e problem with traditional strategic models developed in the second half of the 20th century -- culminating in the cascading model that considers corporate strategy to be developed by those at the top of the organisation and handed down to those below to be implemented -- is that the commercial environment has changed. As Acur and Englyst point out, these days markets rarely remain stable long enough for the lower levels of the organisation to implement a three to ve year plan. Economic instability, technological advances and rapidly changing internal and external environmental considerations can render a corporate strategy redundant, even before those at the coalface have had time to commence the changes required. As Ensign notes, today's corporate strategy needs to build uid organisational capabilities. Corporate strategy no longer has a three to ve year window for implementation; it needs to be viewed as a temporary, adaptive process that can allow the quick allocation of a company's scarce resources to achieve co-alignment and congr uence with its environment. ese changes raise signi cant questions for those tasked with developing corporate strategy. For example: • Does this change in environment require a new model for strategic decision making? • Does this mean a di erent set of skills (to those traditionally expected of corporate strategists) should be developed? • If the answer to both of these questions is 'yes', where can a strategist nd these new skills? Of course, project management regula rly deals with the challenges facing the new corporate strategist. Our body of knowledge has grow n from the need to handle uid situations and has developed disciplines for managing scarce resources within ever-changing internal and external environments. e guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) describes a project as a "temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique [...] result". PMBOK continues that 'temporary' does not necessarily refer to the endeavour's duration; instead, it highlights that a project has a de nite beginning and end. is de nition of a project is not dissimilar to that of corporate strategy. Like projects, corporate strategy must now be considered a 'temporary endeavour'. In addition, the purpose of both projects and corporate strategy is to create a 'unique result'. In the case of corporate strategy this can range from market positioning to pro t maximisation to organisational cultural development. To further add to the similarities, one could note that both projects and corporate strategy follow similar life cycles. A project moves through a distinct life cycle (initiation, GREG USHER CPPD Greg Usher is a Senior Project Manager with Point Project Management, with more than 15 years' experience in Defence, aged care, commercial, industrial, land development and residential projects in Australia and internationally. He is currently completing research for a doctoral thesis investigating how project management disciplines can be used to develop better corporate strategies. TODAY'S CORPORATE STRATEGY NEEDS TO BUILD FLUID ORGANISATIONAL CAPABILITIES. IT NEEDS TO BE VIEWED AS A TEMPORARY, ADAPTIVE PROCESS
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