Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
—Sun Tzu, Chinese military strategist, c. 490 B.C.
Many organizations are accustomed to investing in the development of strategies that will drive them forward. Multiple days of leaders' and cross-functional teams' time are spent each year in offsite meetings to define or refine the organization's strategy. Participants leave the meetings with the satisfied feeling that they have raised options, hammered through them, and achieved an essential alignment among participants on the key methods that the organization will pursue to achieve its goals.
Independent of the passion exhibited during the development of strategies, the goals these strategies are intended to make happen are frequently not achieved. The inability to execute against the strategies may be related to a lack of understanding, lack of accountability, lack of resources, lack of competencies, or changes in external factors to name a few. The assumption that a "can-do" attitude alone can be counted on to deliver on complex and interdependent strategies is naive; it ignores issues of cross-functional resource allocation and competing priorities that cause drag on the organization. At the end of a measurement period, if goals are not achieved, blame for lack of results is meted out, and the cycle begins again. Over time, belief in the organization's ability to develop effective strategies and achieve goals lessens. Funding sources retreat, and when the economy is good, talented associates who want to contribute to a successful organization leave.
An explicit rigor is necessary to execute against strategy effectively. Project portfolio management is the process, projects are the vehicles, and project management is the discipline that can bridge the gap between strategy and the realization of its related goals.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.