Contrary to your standard project, strategic initiatives are far more complex. There is usually some dire, unyielding element of the initiative that can come from schedule, costs, or even consumer satisfaction. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Kevin Korterud discusses three specific dimensions that need to be considered when leading a strategic initiative:
- Stakeholder management
- Progress tracking
Managing at a Wider Scale
Unlike a regular project that has specific, singled-out stakeholders, strategic initiatives do not. The stakeholders comes from numerous departments within the company, allowing a multitude of primary stakeholder groups. This might bring forth clashing as each group all banks on successful completion its own way. Furthermore, a primary or secondary stakeholder role will come into effect with governance functions such as risk management, etc.
Due to the complexity of stakeholders, communication needs to be designed and catered to uniquely. Korterud says, “There exists both a two-dimensional communications problem: one dimension is horizontal (i.e., across stakeholders) and the other is vertical (i.e., involving higher levels of leadership). What once was a linear communication process on a project now becomes more of a matrix process to deal with the breadth and depth of stakeholders.”
Finally, the normal avenue for tracking progress on projects is not applicable to strategic initiatives. This is again due to their complex nature. That being said, the project manager will have to review, refine, and agree on a common progress tracking process–one that uses reporting and metrics that all suppliers can accept.
You can access the original article here: http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/23965/Managing-Your-First-Strategic-Initiative–Here-s-What-You-Need-to-Know-