What project strategy really is: The fundamental building block in strategic project management

Peerasit Patanakul, Aaron J. Shenhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Strategic project management is gradually becoming a popular and growing trend within the discipline of project management. The general idea is that project management teams must learn how to deal with the business aspects of their projects, as well as better support their company's business strategy and sustainability, rather than just focus on meeting traditional time, budget, and performance goals. Although this approach has been gaining popularity, strategic project management has not yet become an explicit and widely used approach in the practice of project implementation. One of the concepts mentioned as an important element is project strategy; however, no universal framework or even a clear definition of what project strategy is has so far emerged. The goal of this article is to fill in this gap and provide a useful definition and a framework for the further study and implementation of the project strategy concept. Specifically, to achieve this goal, we first look at the origins of strategy in military and business research to discuss the question of what, exactly, project strategy is; we follow this discussion with an explicit definition of a project strategy. We then outline a framework for building a dedicated project strategy document for an individual project, and show how this framework can guide the project planning and execution processes. Using a case study approach, which included an action research phase, we demonstrate how project teams can adopt the strategy concept in a natural way that would lead their project to better business results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalProject Management Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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