Patterns of Strategy



Book Title:  Patterns of Strategy
Author:  Patrick Hoverstadt, Lucy Loh
Publisher:  Project Management Institute
List Price:  $41.95
Format:  Soft cover, 406 pages
Publication Date:  March 3, 2017
ISBN:  978-1138242678
Reviewer:  Dr. Charles Y. Chen, PMP
Review Date:  June 2018




Patterns of Strategy offers a framework that helps one understand the forces acting on an organization’s strategic relationships, from competitors to partners and from the regulator to the marketplace itself. While traditional approaches, such as the famous Porter’s Five Forces, require organizations to assess the environment around them, the authors observe that they have ignored the dynamic nature of the relationships. The authors of Patterns of Strategy offer a system-level view in developing strategy, where the strategy influences the nature of each relationship over time, leading the changing relationships to influence the strategy and an organization’s strategic fit.

In addition, Patterns of Strategy offers 80 common patterns of strategy in a recipe book fashion together with detailed descriptions and examples of the steps required to achieve that strategy. Leaders and strategists can use this toolkit to understand the relationship of their business and their strategy to the actors around it, and then adapt or readjust the strategy as necessary.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Patterns of Strategy is divided into four parts. The authors use Part One to lay out a set of arguments on why conventional strategy fails and how the Patterns of Strategy approach addresses these shortcomings. Part Two introduces the building blocks that the authors use to assess the current strategic situation and then to design strategic maneuvers to improve the organization’s strategic position. Part Three is a catalog of 80 strategies. Each strategy contains detailed description and examples on the steps required to achieve the strategy and the metrics to assess performance. Part Four guides the reader through how to build a strategy using the methods presented in Part Three. In order words, Part Four provides a strategist the steps of strategy creation and then process to manage it.

When one picks up this book, it is tempting to jump straight to Part Three. I certainly was. However, I recommend against it. Reading Parts One and Two is a necessary prerequisite to understanding the fullness of the insights and advice in Parts Three and Four.


Patterns of Strategy examines a fundamental issue affecting all organizations, “Why do most strategies fail? Patrick Hoverstadt and Lucy Loh shine a light on the gaps in conventional strategic thinking. Based on the authors’ collective experience, they see conventional strategy as nothing more than a mental construct. They contrast this with what strategy actually is, which happens in real life and includes the actions and reactions of other actors; these actions ought to forces the organization to check to see if the other actors have reacted in the way that was expected.

Specifically, the authors differentiate the Patterns of Strategy approach from the conventional ones with the following six differentiators.


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About the Reviewer

Dr. Charles Y. Chen

Texas, USA





Dr. Charles Y. Chen has had the privilege of leading teams of engineers and scientists to transform ideas into viable products. His career began at Northrop Grumman, initially as a systems engineer and then as a program manager, he led matrixed teams of engineers to innovate, mature, and produce new electronic sensor technologies and algorithms. Energetics Incorporated introduced Charlie to the world of management consulting. Initially as a director then as the Chief Strategy Officer, he led teams to help clients transition ideas developed in the laboratory to the marketplace, overcoming the so-called valley of death. At Hover Energy, Dr. Chen led the key activities to build a new wind turbine designed for the urban environment.

Dr. Chen received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. He received his Executive Education from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As a PMP, he looks forward to leading his next team to achieve the impossible.

Email address: [email protected].


Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. 

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