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Jun 14, 2022 02:02 PM EDT

Why Rely on a Professional Course for Leading Strategic Projects?

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Jason Goodman on Unsplash

(Photo : Jason Goodman on Unsplash)

The business world is rapidly changing every single day and the traditional approach to project delivery and metrics to gauge success are rather insufficient to keep up with this constant change. Business innovation, digital transformation, and continuously changing customer requirements have made it critical for project managers to incorporate business objectives within the scope of the project strategies to create long-term sustainable value.

Strategic project management (SPM) is the process of thinking about projects in the light of their connection with the long-term objectives and strategies of the organisation, and not just completing tasks for the sake of it. 

The leading strategic projects programme is a professional course with a unique contemporary approach to project delivery. It equips project managers with the leadership and strategic project management skills needed to facilitate successful deliveries that align with the broader context of the strategic frameworks. Students undergoing this course develop a better understanding of the benefits of SPM and strategic leadership and learn how to use various tools to redefine the approach to projects on an organisation-wide basis.

In the following post, we take a look at the various modules taught in a leading strategic projects programme and the benefits of taking this course for the growth of an individual and the company as a whole.

What is taught in a professional strategic project leadership course?

In the traditional project management world, project teams primarily focused on achieving optimum operational performance and meeting the time and budget goals. In the new era of project management, teams need to find new ways of utilising projects to create a competitive advantage and win in the marketplace.

A professional course for leading strategic projects usually consists of the following.

  • Understanding the inherent complexities and risks in strategic projects and how strategic leadership overcomes these challenges.

  • Reinterpreting the definition of success and performance and the role of leadership in evaluating performance and efficiency.

  • Responding to structural complexities of scale and pace and how to address these challenges in a contemporary workplace.

  • Responding to socio-political complexities in strategic projects, i.e., challenges with response to people, power, and politics.

  • Risk management, i.e., how uncertainty and change can disrupt delivery times and how to address these efficiently.

  • Designing principles and practices for leading strategic projects in an organisation.

Principles of strategic project leadership

Strategic project leadership can be summarised into six principles. While these principles themselves are simple and straightforward and often found in traditional project management practices, these principles are yet to be adopted by a majority of organisations around the world.

1. Strategic leadership - turning project managers into leaders

Traditional project management typically involves a clear distinction between managers and leaders. Managers are problem solvers and find the best ways to deliver projects on time and ensure optimum efficiency, while leaders create project vision and meaning. One of the major changes in the contemporary business world is the move away from an autocratic world to combining leadership with strong management. Under the new paradigm, project managers must develop the power of leadership, i.e., to motivate and inspire team members and create meaning.

2. Strategy - defining the competitive advantage of your product

Typically, project plans used to be the starting point and included the primary objective and outlined the delivery timelines and resources available. Excessive focus on urgent deliveries led to rushed timelines, which compromised the quality of project outcomes. The project strategy, which is different from the project plan, is something missing from current project management practices. Winning in the market requires creating a competitive advantage with the help of a strategy, which consists of product definition, competitive advantage, the scope of the project, business perspective, and strategic mindset and guidelines.

3. Project vision - developing a proper project spirit

Effective leaders know how to mobilise the motivation of their team. Teams working without a clear focus over vague objectives will severely impede the delivery timelines, which will, in turn, hamper the quality of the final product. Strategic leadership encourages project managers to break up the project into fathomable parts and describe the feelings that will be present when the project is completed. The project vision is created by not simply focusing on the technical terms but the excitement and emotions of the product vision.

4. Adaptation - Evaluating the environment and tasks within projects

It is rare for projects to not meet any risks at all. Despite knowing this, only a few organisations use well-defined frameworks for risk management. A leading strategic projects programme enables leaders with the ability to place a robust process around finding, managing, and mitigating potential risks in the early phases. Evaluating tasks within a project allows the managers to develop a contingency plan to minimise the damage should any of these risks materialise during deliveries. How efficiently an organisation deals with risks decides how successfully and consistently it can deliver projects.

5. Integration - Creating integrated hierarchical plans

In the context of leading strategic projects, planning a project involves several hierarchical concepts like strategy, spirit, process, and tools. The project teams must ensure that what they are delivering is of value and fits within the broader context of their clients' strategic framework. More often than not, the specific goals of a project change in line with a materialising risk. Without strategic leadership, the project could falter and the organisation would incur serious losses. SPM allows teams to refocus on the objectives in line with these integrated hierarchical plans.

6. Education - Creating a project learning organisation

Project teams must acknowledge that each project is different and involves non-repetitive activities. Hence, each project must set up processes for internal learning before and after the completion of the project. When everything is going according to plan, status reporting and documentation might appear extremely unnecessary. However, regular documentation allows teams to reflect upon their experience while completing the project and learn from their successes and failures continuously.

A professional course on leading strategic projects programme helps students develop personalised leadership skills that will help them guide teams and achieve organisational objectives. Guidance from leading industry experts helps students get a better overview of the resources and events, driving their careers forward.

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