A further note on involving program/ project managers in organisational strategic planning


By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia


In 2011 I wrote a paper in PM World Today which discussed the question about “Involving program/project managers in organisational strategic planning?” (Stretton 2011j). That paper is reproduced in this edition of PM World Journal as a Second Edition, and this note expands on some of the materials in that paper.

The original paper identifies two main components of organizational strategic planning:

  • First establishing the organization’s strategic goals
  • Then planning how these goals are to be achieved/implemented

Regarding the first component, I observed that this is not normally regarded as an area for involvement by program/ project managers, even in the project management literature. This is in spite of the fact that there are significant exceptions in practice, notably in projectised organizations, but also some others. Although I argued in favour of involving program/project managers in this first component, I did not find a great deal of material in the literature to support the argument.

Regarding the second component, I noted that the project management literature has quite substantial materials on processes for planning achievement of the organizational goals via strategic portfolios, and thence via their component programs and projects. There is certainly sufficient material in the literature to make a strong case for the benefits of involving program/project managers in this work. However, senior managers in many organisations evidently remain unaware of the potential benefits of involving program/project managers in this second component, let alone the first.

Now, a recent paper by Usher 2013 in this journal discusses corporate strategy in the context of the more dynamic environments in which most organisations currently operate, and makes a strong case for involving program/project managers in corporate strategy at all stages. This note discusses Usher’s contribution in this context. 


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About the Author

flag-australiaalan-stretton-bioAlan 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 120 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected].