Investigating Strategic Alignment through Project Implementation – The Case of BMW i


By Amela Trokić, Jeta Sahatqija, Konstantin Koehler and Katharina Machovsky

Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Germany




In recent years, project management has become more concerned with strategic alignment whereby project success is defined in part by its ability to align with the organization’s overall strategy. Oftentimes, a project can be implemented successfully but not contribute to company success because it was not adequately incorporated into the company’s organizational framework rendering it inept. This emphasis on strategic project management can be seen throughout various industries, where more and more project managers and concerned with strategic alignment as a measure of success. This paper attempts to look at strategic project management from a practical perspective, by investigating the strategic project alignment of BMW’s Project i with the company’s overall business strategy.


The orientation of business activities in a company wishing to maintain a competitive advantage within an evolving market requires an emphasis on strategic intent. Strategic intent refers to a defined course that a business plans on taking over a given period of time, in order to establish and maintain a leading role in the market (Campbell and Yeung, 1991). The strategic intent must be clearly defined and understood, it should be consistent yet flexible in order to allow a company to take advantage of new opportunities that arise (Hamel and Prahald, 1989). It also incorporates long-term goals which force the company to compete in innovative ways (Hamel and Prahald, 1989). During this course, the strategic intent requires a company to take specific actions in order to achieve its strategic goals, including the development and implementation of advanced projects. The ability to realize these projects in accordance with the company’s overall strategy helps attribute to the success of not only the project but the company on a whole. Successful alignment of projects requires consistency in the mission, vision and objectives throughout the company’s operational framework.

With BMW Group’s strategic objectives focusing on growth, shaping the future, access to technology and customers, and profitability, the ability to adjust to market fluctuations with new projects is necessary to maintain a leading strategic position. This is particularly true for today’s shifting markets which are reflecting changes in lifestyles as a result of depleting resources, ecological concerns, growing populations, and similar. With that in mind, this study will analyse the strategic alignment of BMW through the implementation of its projects. Starting with the establishment of the BMW Group and their rise within the premium automobile industry, this research will demonstrate how the organization implemented their new corporate strategy “Strategy Number ONE” as a response to changing market trends. The new mission and vision which developed as a result, were based on sustainability. The study will investigate how this change in strategy, which led BMW Group to invest in Project i, encouraged growth and the development of new technology, as well as contributed to shaping the future of sustainable e-mobility. It will present the evolution of Project i into the Group’s new series, BMW i, which led to both the electric i3 and hybrid i8 models as well as corresponding mobility services. Finally, this study will establish how BMW Group was able to successfully align their Project i initiative with their overall strategy and establish strategic intent through the implementation of BMW i into the Group’s portfolio.


History and Establishment of the Brand

Founded in Munich, Germany, BMW Group began operations in 1916 as an aviation company. The Group experienced significant success in the late 1930s, both on a domestic and regional level, largely due to a broadened product line which included motorcycles and automobiles (Norbye, 1984). Political and economic factors in 1945 nearly led the BMW Group into bankruptcy, necessitating reform on an organizational level (Nerad, 2006). Restructuring in this period saw the BMW Group turn towards new market segments focussing on high-performance and quality, a strategy which would become their model for success (Norbye, 1984). According to BMW Group’s 2013 Annual Report (2014), the company conducts activities in 150 countries with 28 manufacturing facilities in 13 countries, and a human-resource capital of 110,351 employees worldwide. They are an international leading luxury car and motorcycle manufacturer with 76.1 billion euros of reported revenue in 2013, and an automobile sales volume surpassing 2 million in 2014 (BMW Group, 2014a).


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About the Authors

Amela Trokić

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 Bosnia Herzegovina flag

Amela Trokić
holds a Master in Strategic Project Management from Heriot Watt University, Politecnico di Milano and Umea University, and joint Master in Islamic Banking from the University in Sarajevo and the University in Bolton. She currently works as a project manager in the cabinet of the CEO at Bosna Bank International, an Islamic bank operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also has experience as a project manager in the NGO sector, having worked on and implemented projects dealing with economic development in the US, Turkey and Balkan countries. Ms. Trokić can be contacted via https://ba.linkedin.com/in/amela-trokic-b845a263


pmwj44-Mar2016-Trokic-JETAJeta Sahatqija

Gjakova, Kosovo

Kosovo flag

Jeta Sahatqija
holds a graduate degree from the consortium between Heriot Watt University; Politecnico di Milano; and Umea University in Strategic Project Management. Jeta has completed Bachelors of Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with concentration studies in Management, Public Policy and minor in Legal Studies. Additionally, she has attended the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Programme in New Hampshire, United States of America. Professionally, she has worked in various fields from business administration to human rights. Currently, she mainly provides consulting services across start-ups which are still at initial phases of establishment. Ms. Sahatqija can be contacted via https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeta-sahatqija-0323a962


pmwj44-Mar2016-Trokic-KONSTANTINKonstantin Köhler

Austria / Germany



Konstantin Köhler
studied business administration at the University of Münster and Marmara Üniversitesi in Istanbul. He recently finished his Master’s degree in Strategic Projekt Management (with distinction) at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and is currently working as a consultant/project manager for deckwerth Projektberatung in Austria and Germany. Mr. Koehler can be contacted via https://www.linkedin.com/in/konstantin-koehler-a7bb31a0/en


Katharina Machovsky

Munich, Germany


Katharina Machovsky
holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Munich School of Management and a Master of Science in Strategic Project Management. During her Master studies she gained profound international experience. She has been living in three different countries and worked together with people from 20 different nations. Katharina’s professional experiences focus on marketing; from online marketing to advertising strategy. Furthermore, she worked in the field of product management within the aviation industry. Currently she is working as a strategy consultant in a medium-sized company in Munich, Germany. Ms. Machovsky can be contacted via https://www.linkedin.com/in/katharina-machovsky-8285a37b