Of course strategy gets accomplished in many ways, not just via projects. Although . . . in this increasingly fragmented and yet networked world, I do wonder sometimes if most organisations can be seen as a set of projects, rather than functions with the occasional project overlaying the traditional departments of HR, Finance, Marketing, etc.
Everyone writes about being nimble these days, about living in a non-hierarchical world. Career paths are being adjusted so people can go deeper into their technical areas and not “have” to become a manager, for example. (Expertise getting deeper and narrower is another pet topic.)
Margaret Wheatley says in “Leadership and the New Science” that in this “dramatic and turbulent world [that] makes a mockery of our plans and predictions. . . . [it is] relationships not individuals [that] are our building blocks of life” (p.170) So, conversations and participation are more highly regarded now than individualism, and it is through effective teams that the full range of expertise that most projects demand, can be tapped.
Different expertise is required at different phases of a project, and there are different types of experts within each of the broad titles we assign ourselves. Many projects could probably benefit from a change in Project Manager from one major phase to another; someone with expertise relevant to that phase, or someone more comfortable with managing a plan than developing one, for example.
It’s not only the assembly of a team that requires us to be nimble, and flexible; it’s in the design of the project outcomes that we have to be very open to change, especially as the organisation’s strategy changes. We must try to fit our project’s objectives into the overall corporate objectives in play at the beginning of the project, and then keep that tie inextricable, so that as priorities change, our project adjusts to meet those.