Corporate Strategy and Project Management

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41. Corporate Strategy and Project Management: the relationship between them and implications for the management of an international project.

Introduction
This paper draws attention to the detached relationship between the corporate strategy and project management. Solutions offered by various researchers to align both of them are discussed and examine how they could be proposed for the management of international project, in particularly for the construction industry. Relationship between corporate strategy and project management Association between strategy and project are often perceived as a top down approach, where executive managers drives strategy down to projects management levels. (Combe 2000). Historically, in world of business, it is recognized that corporate strategic planning, including project selection, lies on the efforts of executive managers. Project planning and execution on the other hand are done by project managers (Milosevic & Srivannaboon 2006). However, opinion are gaining grounds among scholars that such approach causes disconnection between the strategy and project, and is strongly related with the poor growth in project performances of the past ten years (Standish, 1994-2004; Thiry 2005; Ginevri & Beraha 2006). Numerous literatures also highlighted the fact that most organization are facing difficulty connecting and aligning their project execution with business strategies (Combe, 2000; Morris, 2005; Cabanis-Brewin & Pennypacker, 2006; Tarp, 2007;). Publication by Ginevri & Beraha (2006) had explained that the attitudes and traits among personals who are involved are the reasons for the misalignment: * “the Project Manager – work to constantly achieve appropriate balance on the triple constraint (time, cost and quality), achieving success in project based on project management standards (on time, within cost and achieving quality) * the Executive Manager – work to maintain both business and efficiency in organization and act to ensure company’s profit, the primary purpose for any strategy.” These two distinctly different task and spheres had created a gap between project and strategy. Exhibit 1 illustrated the different work concentrations between the two, and how it intensifies the gap. Executive managers seek to deploy their strategies, weighing business value, plan the use of resources and control the risk incurred. Project managers on the other hand, manage day-to-day issues of project by balancing between controlling cost, ensuring quality and keeping in time. These different attitude and disposition between them causes rift among the two, as if separated by a “glass ceiling (barrier)”, invisible, but in surmountable (Thriy, 2005).

Exhibit 1 Diagram illustrating the barrier between corporate strategy and project management

Research by Thiry (2005) and Ginevri & Beraha (2006) further highlighted the difficulty faced by project manager in the organization when interacting with the executive management. A summary of their finding are listed in the following chart in exhibit 2, outlining the common deficiency faced by the project manager in an organization | Thiry (2005)| Ginevri & Beraha (2006)|

Lack of participation in strategy making| Project manager are seldom invited in decision-making processes relate to project strategy. Project management is perceived as delivery-oriented, operational scope of work.| Project manager feeling of relegation in technical role, with few career possibilities inside company, | Lack of decision making and authority | Project manager not involve in early stages of project selection, prioritization and definition ( a view promoted by PMBOK Guide, 2004)| Project manager lack of decision making autonomy, which should have been conferred as an essential weapon to overcome obstacle| Lack of relationship to business logic | Project management is purposefully...
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