Build a successful project strategy

Building successful project strategy includes many steps and you have do analysis and research from enterprise level in the beginning. After you know main target, project objective (reason to start, begin it at all) it’s easy to think about project strategy.


Create materials and documents which will link all together

1.       Planning documents

These will include in written format planned steps and timelines, main objective and sub-objectives and how you plan to get there and reach your goal

2.       Status reporting

If team includes many people it’s important you give all people ways to tell their progress in structured way, follow the common guideline

3.       Communication items

This will have people or groups of people recognized and planned messages during the process of building project strategy; what’s the impact, how to manage


After this is done, make simplified documentation how each new team member will be trained and communicated to all content in the list of three above. This will help in implementing your project strategy into practice later. After all people know about objectives and outcomes, it’s easier to work in a way they can participate into process on their own.


Organize workshops or meetings if they are needed to have all relevant people involved in strategy building process. This will also mean that project sponsors and other stakeholders are invited during the building process of project strategy. They will give instant feedback when needed.


You can use these tools in building project strategy

1.       Project charter and plan

You can also simplify by recognizing work packages and tasks only (agile methodology)

2.       Different templates, for example trackers for issues and tasks

You must know current readiness; this can be communicated in meetings

 Linear Responsibility Chart

It will be used to recognize people, roles, impact and communication needs and tasks

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Important things for successful project strategy


Strategy building and implementation process is a learning process. Make sure to involve people, ask questions and think about a bit further, the reason why project strategy is defined and also why project in the beginning was establish, wanted to be done.


No strategy can be successful without right people in your team and right directions to be understood by each team member. This means both team members (working) and stakeholders (supporting). All people will give feedback, their personal opinion and impact to be more successful.


Project portfolio management is a good way to have linkages between all programs and projects to enterprise strategy process. You can take a look at your enterprise level or if the company is small, you may need to interview top level management to get alignment. Any way is useful, keep in touch.


Known methods like earned value management is one way to start, it has clearly measurable KPIs but it may also give wrong information to you or stakeholders. Don’t only keep schedule or budget related KPIs in discussion, it will easily put your project in wrong direction which will not help to reach project objectives. KPIs must be visible, easy to understand and give signals for needed changes.




As a conclusion I want to share you three phrases from influential thinkers about strategy. These will help you not only to think about project strategy, but also to help you in making sure you have understood why strategy is defined.


“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do” Michael Porter, strategy professor

Recognize importance in planning of project scope, strategy is a tool to reach outcomes and keep scope.

ð Reason to begin


ð  Reason to reach target


ð  Reason to be successful


 “You cannot be everything to everyone. If you decide to go north, you cannot go south at the same time” Jeroen De Flander, influential strategic thinker

Your project has schedule, everything can’t be done.

ð  Project usually failed because they had too many changes


ð  Remember to be a referee, judge between needed and wanted changes


ð  Keep the scope, be more successful


“You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless” Charles de Gaulle, French army officer who was against Nazis

Time is money, be fast or you will spend budget without results. Make sure any member or team isn’t spending too much.

ð  Budget is limited all can’t be done


ð  Any delay will add more cost


ð  Keeping the budget will give more space in the future


Don't forget to measure your strategy after implementation

What kinds of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are good? First of all you must think about outcomes, desired situation at the end. After that it’s easy to see steps how to get in there, project direction. Once you know this, it will be easier for you to know what you should follow to make things happens. These are your KPIs, items to follow-up.


What kinds of KPIs keep strategy in correct direction? You have to avoid people working into direction which is opposite project intention. Also don’t forget to align your project strategy to enterprise objectives. Then you will not make mistakes, conflict with enterprise direction.


Make KPIs clear and understandable. Then it’s easy for people to follow your rules and directions. If there’s any possibility to compare to other programs and projects you can use similar KPIs. When you share resources between other projects, people don’t need to learn new things. One way to do this is benchmark inside your own organization, but you can find general KPIs from literature or discuss with other organizations confidentially with people you know.


This will definitely affect to initial success factors. Normally project sponsor is a person who is the most obvious, not the one who could help you most in reaching project target and giving consultation when needed. I have many times had even top level support, but they always know as much as they are told. It’s important to reach all levels, top level and lower levels before reaching key person. Some cases nearby board of directors there’s for example communication manager and people who prepare important decisions in advance. If you can keep in touch with them unofficially, you have keys you need from the beginning. Select project sponsor who has power, but don’t expect them to work in the project, they have the connections you need.