Stage 3: Augment and consolidate strategic initiatives

 

Organisational Strategic Planning & Execution

SERIES ARTICLE

By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia

 



INTRODUCTION

This is the third of a series of five articles on organisational strategic planning and execution. I have been using the following basic strategic management framework developed from earlier articles in this journal as the common base for this series. (The summarised materials for Stages 3 and 4 in Figure 1 have been slightly amended from those shown in the first two articles of the series).

Figure 1: An organisational strategic management framework, with project contributions

The first article in this series (Stretton 2018d) addressed Stage 1: Establish strategic objectives, and discussed the extensive preliminary work needed before strategic objectives can be reasonably established; the importance of “emergent” strategies; and the need to re-establish strategic objectives as the latter come into play.

The second article (Stretton 2018e) addressed Stage 2: Develop options, evaluate, and choose the best. It focused on the importance of developing alternative strategic initiatives, and of achieving reliable conceptual level estimates, to facilitate valid evaluation of the ‘outline’ business cases for these initiatives, and choice of the best.

This third article addresses Stage 3: Augment and consolidate strategic initiatives. The augment part of this heading is shorthand for first augmenting and elaborating the chosen strategic initiatives into sufficient detail to be able to expand the relevant ‘outline’ business cases from Stage 2 into detailed business cases with appropriate levels of confidence about the underlying estimates. The latter are generally associated with bottom-up estimating, which is more detailed and reliable than the top-down estimating typically used for conceptual estimated in Stage 2. For strategic initiatives with softer projects whose parameters cannot be so well defined at this stage, I have provided for iterations with the double-headed arrow in Figure 1

The feasibilities of these strategic initiatives and their business cases can then be re-checked and confirmed, and formal approval given to proceed to the next step.

The consolidate part of the Stage 3 heading is shorthand for prioritising and  balancing the group of strategic initiatives, and then consolidating them into a strategic portfolio (or portfolios), to facilitate effective strategy execution. We will also discuss three different understandings in the literature about the scope of management of strategic portfolios, and touch on responsibilities for managing them.

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How to cite this article: Stretton, A. (2018). Stage 3: Augment and consolidate strategic initiatives, Series on Organizational Strategic Planning and Execution, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 6 – June. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pmwj71-Jun2018-Stretton-strategic-planning-series-article-3-augment-consolidate.pdf


 
About the Author


Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 190 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.

 

 

Stage 2: Develop strategic options

evaluate, and choose the best

 

Organisational Strategic Planning & Execution

SERIES ARTICLE

By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia

 



INTRODUCTION

This is the second of a series of five articles on organisational strategic planning and execution. I am using the following basic strategic management framework, based on earlier articles in this journal, as the common base for this series.

Figure 1: An organisational strategic management framework, with project contributions

This model places project planning and implementation in the broader context of organisational strategic planning and execution. In this series I am focusing more attention on certain elements in the top strategic stages, although projects will also figure in many of these discussions.

The articles in this series discuss each of the five stages in strategic planning and execution in turn. The first article (Stretton 2018d) addressed Stage 1: Establish strategic objectives, and summarised some of the extensive preliminary work that needs to be done before strategic objectives can be reasonably established; the increasing importance of “emergent” strategies in times of increasingly rapid change; and the need to re-establish strategic objectives as the latter come into play.

This second article addresses Stage 2: Develop strategic options, evaluate and choose the best. It will focus particularly on the importance of developing alternative strategic initiatives to achieve the strategic objectives, and on the importance of good conceptual level estimates, to help get meaningful comparisons in evaluating the alternative options, and to ensure that the chosen alternative will be viable.

DEVELOPING STRATEGIC OPTIONS

This second stage begins with developing alternative approaches – i.e. alternative strategic initiatives – for achieving the desired strategic outcomes and thence realising the  benefits.

The importance of developing alternative strategic initiatives

In Stretton 2017k I emphasised the need to develop alternative “approaches” to achieving the desired organizational strategic outcomes and benefits. In my substantial experience in many types of planning, I have found that the first approach is rarely, if ever, the best. The development of such alternatives receives a moderate amount of attention in the project management literature, and I discussed specific contributions by Archibald 2009 and Prieto (in Archibald et al 2012:22) in that article. However, I also believe that it does not always get the kind of direct attention in the literature that its importance deserves, in spite of the fact that it is often implicit in discussions by some who do not address it directly.

I also noted in that article that, in my time in Lend Lease, it was virtually mandatory to consider all available options in planning activities, including strategic planning.

Checklists re developing alternative strategic initiatives

At this point I will summarise and adapt a checklist from Archibald et al 2012, which relates to what they called a project incubation/feasibility phase. Instead of “project”, I am going to use the broader descriptor “strategic initiatives”, which include both project and non-project components. This checklist essentially says that a strategic initiative “must begin with a reasonable understanding of what the principle objectives, scope, schedule, and cost” of the initiative is expected to be, including:

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Editor’s note: This is article two in a five-part series on strategic planning by Alan Stretton, one of the world’s experts in program and project management.  This series is based on Alan’s research and writing on this topic over the last several years, much of which has been published in previous editions of the PM World Journal.

How to cite this article:
Stretton, A. (date), Stage 2: Develop strategic options, evaluate, and choose the best; Series on Organizational Strategic Planning and Execution. PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Stretton-developing-strategic-options-series-article2.pdf



About the Author


Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 190 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.

 

 

Stage 1: Establish organisational strategic objectives


Organisational Strategic Planning & Execution

Series Article 1 of 5

By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia

 



INTRODUCTION

This is the first of a series of five articles on organisational strategic planning and execution. The series will discuss, in turn, each of the five stages of strategic planning and execution shown in Figure 1, which is based on models used in some of my recent articles in this journal (e.g. Stretton 2017l, 2018a, 2018b).

Figure 1: An organisational strategic management framework, with project contributions

This model (now somewhat modified) places project planning and implementation in the broader context of organisational strategic planning and execution. My previous articles were particularly concerned with project contributions to achieving strategic objectives. In this series I will be more concerned with the five strategic management stages per se, but will not attempt a comprehensive coverage of these. Rather I will tend to focus on particular issues that do not appear to be adequately covered in the project management literature, and/or where there are significant differences of perspective by different writers.

This first article of the series is about Stage 1: Establishing organisational strategic objectives. It will be primarily concerned with summarising some of the extensive work that needs to be done in “deliberate” strategic contexts before strategic objectives can be reasonably established; the increasing importance of “emergent” strategies in times of increasingly rapid change; the need to re-establish strategic objectives as the latter come into play – all of which makes strategic management a dynamic, rather than relatively static, series of processes, and which I have tried to reflect in the (new) summarised descriptor in the Stage1 text box.

SOME ATTRIBUTES OF TRADITIONAL ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGY

Organisational strategy has long been a major subject in its own right

A great deal has been written in the general management literature about organisational strategy, and I do not pretend to be in a position to attempt to encapsulate these materials in a relatively short article. However, the following chapter headings from Johnson & Scholes 1999, in their book “Exploring Corporate Strategy”, give an indication of the types of issues they believe need to be covered.

  1. Corporate strategy: An introduction
  2. Strategic management in practice
  3. Analysing the environment
  4. Resources, competences and strategic capability
  5. Stakeholder expectations and organisational purposes
  6. Bases of strategic choice
  7. Strategic options: Directions and methods of development
  8. Strategy evaluation and selection
  9. Organisation structure and design
  10. Resource allocation and control
  11. Managing strategic change

This represents what Booth 2018 has called a traditional “textbook” approach. The related strategies have often been described as “deliberate” strategies.

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About the Author



Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 190 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected]

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/