The Strategic PMO: Aligning Projects and Strategy
Strategy is the organization's game plan. And although that plan does not precisely detail all future moves of the organization, it does provide a framework for managerial decisions. Without such a framework, it's easy for an organization-even a small one-to spin toward chaos. A business is presented with new opportunities and challenges each day; without some guiding point of reference to anchor present decision making to the future, various functions in the organization can wind up working at cross-purposes to one another.
A strategy reflects an organization's awareness of how, when, and where it should compete; against whom it should compete; and for what purposes it should compete; it is the integrated vision and direction of the organization as well as the manner in which it derives, articulates, communicates, and implements that vision and direction. Strategy answers the question of how a company will position itself against competition in the market over the long run to secure a sustainable competitive advantage.
Far from being some sort of "soft" fluff, strategic planning is where risk management is born. Strategy has, alas, become something of a buzz word. Many companies claim to have strategy that is, in fact, nothing but a wish list of outcomes or a shopping list of tactics. Often, companies fail to distinguish between operational effectiveness and strategy. Targets for productivity, quality, sales, efficiency, or speed masquerade as strategies.
These targets, while essential to superior performance, do not move an organization toward a strategic position in the marketplace. As a seminal article in the Harvard Business Review stated, "Operational effectiveness means performing similar activities better than rivals perform them. ... In contrast, strategic positioning means performing (Click here to continue.)
From The Strategic Project Office, Second Edition by J. Kent Crawford. New York: Auerbach Publications, 2011.