IPMA International Project Management Association
4 February 2019 / 9:00

Creating strategic value through transformational programs and projects

The John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at The University of Sydney recently published a research paper which highlights the importance of transformational projects and programmes for creating strategic value. The researchers spoke with executives from “progressive” project-facing organisations to understand how they are transforming themselves to deliver on transformational programs and projects. These executives are transforming their communities, creating new value streams for customers and changing lives through the significant projects and change programs they are leading.

The accelerating pace of change is forcing organisations to look at new ways to adapt to stay competitive and relevant, this is emphasised by executives across all sectors as a major hurdle to success. Technological advances, along with so-called “big data”, has allowed a rapid shift towards reliance on machines, automation and artificial intelligence (AI). The interviewees recognise that technology in all its forms needs to be embraced rapidly and expansively to remain competitive, and relevant to customers. The exponential growth of data raises opportunities, as well as challenges in dealing with its volume, security and digitalisation.

Progressive organisations recognise that the status quo is not an option and are building project and change capability to find new ways to deliver strategic outcomes and value and help navigate their challenging and dynamic operating environments. These organisations realise they are on a journey and are taking actions to experiment, change, reflect and learn. For these organisations, business-as-usual is not a viable strategic choice and are seeking to ‘walk’ this talk. A portfolio of projects and programmes collectively enable organisations to deliver on its strategy.

Senior executives are slowly recognising the link between an organisation’s success in achieving its strategic goals and objectives, and the leadership of individual programs and projects. They highlighted that a greater need for collaboration overall is paramount in their efforts to achieve strategy, whether that be to work with more diverse groups of people to inspire innovation and new approaches, or to bring communities, customers and stakeholders in closer alignment with project outcomes.

The lessons to be learnt from the insights of these progressive organisations as they seek to create strategic value in these challenging and uncertain times can be summarized in the following principles:

  • build a guiding purpose whilst
  • preparing for multiple futures
  • embrace a multi-level capability lens and
  • organise to be adaptive in a time of flux.

The researchers conclude: “The progressive organisations we spoke to have an embedded culture of learning where they learn and adapt. They are well networked not only across their own industry but interact with a variety of industries and sectors to remain relevant and ahead of disruption.”

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.