As shown in Figure below, there are four “strategic thrusts” that must be considered before your project management methodology can be turned into a sustained competitive advantage. These strategic thrusts must be identified while the methodology is being designed and developed, not later on. Developing a methodology and then having to make major changes to it because the strategic thrusts were not considered can waste time and money, as well as lowering morale. Poor morale can cause the workers to lose faith in the methodology.
The first strategic thrust is the core values/purpose. The core values/purpose thrust describes the heart of the company, as well as the basic reason for its existence.
Generally speaking, all projects undertaken using the project management methodology must support the company’s core values/purpose, which could very well be regarded as the most important strategic thrust.
The second strategic thrust in Figure above is the strategic focus. The strategic focus identifies the product/market element in which the organization competes.
There are three primary questions that must be addressed in the strategic focus:
The answers to these three questions provide guidance on the quality and competencies of the resources and assets needed. Project management methodologies must be designed around the competencies of the resources. The third strategic thrust is the competitive focus. Although this thrust has some similarities to the strategic focus thrust, there are other overriding factors. The competitive focus emphasizes the differences between your organization and your major competitors. The differences can exist in such areas as:
These strategic competitive differences can give your methodology one step up on the competition.
The final strategic thrust in Figure above is synergy. Synergy reflects the organization’s ability to perform more work in less time and with fewer resources.
Organizational synergy is a measure of how well the employees cooperate with one another. Does the organization have a cooperative or noncooperative culture? Cooperative cultures allow for the design of a flexible methodology that will take advantage of continuous improvement opportunities.
Because market conditions and the environment can change, continuous improvement is necessary to maintain the sustained competitive advantage. Change generates risk that, if not properly analyzed and mitigated, can cause a firm to lose its competitive advantage. The key here is for the competitive advantage to become a sustainable competitive advantage. Typical risks associated with maintaining a sustainable advantage are shown in Figure below.
Risks associated with maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage:
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