In Step with Projects

In Pace with Progress

Promoting Strategic Project Management and Project Management Strategies

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Author: Ding Ronggui     Translator: Yu Yanjuan     Source: PMR
The responsibilities of traditional enterprise operation and management should be undertaken by Strategic Project Management and Project Management Strategies. 

The strategic direction of future enterprise will be nonlinear or even discrete and its realization strategies will be thus soft and flexible. In the book “How Google Works” written by Eric E. Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenber, it is noted that, “We dare to bet 100% that if you have a business plan, then your plan must be wrong. As long as it's an MBA-style plan, no matter what kind of deliberation it takes, there must be some defaults in certain aspects.” In such context, an enterprise’s strategic plan must be reflected by strategic projects. Enterprises should make timely adjustments and take corresponding measures with the progress of strategic projects.

Huawei has changed its notion from “needing engineering businessmen instead of scientists” to “not only needing engineering businessmen, staff, operators, but also scientists as well as thinkers". The focus shifted from tactical projects to a balanced development between tactical and strategic projects, which will be a challenge to management. Strategic projects are important and pivotal, but this importance and pivotality may not be seen in the short term, especially for scientific research projects with higher failure rate and no direct economic benefits. How to judge the importance and pivotality of these projects? How to define the scope and milestones of these projects? How to control the progress, cost and quality of these projects? How to measure the performance of these projects? It is difficult to use conventional project management methods to answer these questions. Therefore, strategic project management will be a new topic both in the field of theory and practice.

An aircraft carrier with competitive fighting capacity needs to rely on submarines, frigates, supply ships and carrier aircraft. If the enterprise's strategic project is compared to an aircraft carrier, the aircraft carrier also needs a number of tactical projects to cooperate in order to play a role. In other words, strategic project management needs the support of systematic project management strategy. We tend to consider projects from a tactical perspective and take them as means to achieve the strategic objectives of an enterprise. However, in the VUCA environment, the project will no longer be the embellishment of the daily operation of enterprises, and project management will no longer only play the supporting role of functional management; enterprises should not only regard project management as a tactical or campaign issue, it’s necessary and urgent for enterprises to build project management strategies. Without project management strategies, many "squad leaders" who command battles and "call for artillery" will become "bandits" who occupy the mountain as the king. The enterprise will suffer from disorder development and internal "war disaster" and "bandits".

Sino US trade friction will promote China to attach more importance to innovation. With the emergence of innovative projects such as scientific research, technology and product development, there will be a huge number of failed projects, bankrupt enterprises and wasted funds. Though some enterprises have realized the importance of system construction related to enterprise project management strategy such as multi-project management, project platform, they do not seem to be paying enough attention to the challenges posed by the nomadism of technologists to project management. Still intentionally or unintentionally, scientists and technicians are treated as a kind of "human resources" that can be attracted and employed with high salaries, which is likely to cause "unfinished talent building project". 

In the future it will be common that the enterprise itself will be a project and that the project itself is corporate strategy. Accordingly, enterprise-oriented investment will turn into project-oriented investment. Pricing of intellectual property rights will be replaced by sharing product benefits. There will be an increasing number of nomadic scientific and technological talents and capital. The forms of project legal persons, project shareholders and product shareholders will be more and more common.

In order to achieve the state when "The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may be attained to. To that calmness, there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end" described in the Great Learning, we need to strengthen the "strategic project management" and "project management strategy". In an environment full of temptation and uncertainty, only by clearly defining strategies can we have the ability to concentrate and reach a balance between stable values and changing strategies.

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