Commentary on the need to focus as much attention on other strategic work as on projects


in managing organisational strategic initiatives



By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia


This article essentially extends discussions on one of the eight “potential topics” nominated in Stretton 2023l, for appropriate project management people or bodies to consider addressing in more detail. The relevant topic concerns the importance of aligning elements of the management of projects with the corresponding strategic positions of the organisation within which they are undertaken – for example, the management of project risk needs to conform with the organisation’s overall risk strategies.

The point of departure for this extended discussion is that projects are normally only one component of specific strategic initiatives that are undertaken to help achieve an organisation’s broader strategic objectives. “Other strategic work” is usually also required to help deliver strategic initiatives as balanced, comprehensive packages, to maximise their contribution to the broader strategic objectives.

Types and magnitudes of other strategic work can vary very widely – but this additional work is often very important indeed in the context of delivering strategic initiatives as balanced, comprehensive packages. This article will discuss some of the many types of other strategic work, and its potential magnitude. It will also look at different approaches which have been taken with regard to management responsibilities for other strategic work, and then at possibilities for ensuring that such responsibilities are always clearly allocated and integrated with the overall strategic initiative management processes.

This is followed by visual representations of projects and other strategic work in a strategic initiative context, and also the latter within its organisational strategic and operational management contexts. My reason for developing visual representations is to try and reinforce the message in the main body of this article about the importance of taking proper account of other strategic work, as well as the projects. Hopefully, such a visual representation of the two together, in a range of broader contexts, might be a useful aide-memoire, at least for some.

We will conclude with the observation that these discussions of other strategic work are very incomplete. This important subject is not well covered in the current project management literature, and thence appears to be a candidate for a ninth “potential topic”, which is suggested be added to the eight already proposed in Stretton 2023l.


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How to cite this work: Stretton, A. (2023).  Commentary on the need to focus as much attention on other strategic work as on projects in managing organisational strategic initiatives, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XI, November. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/pmwj135-Nov2023-Stretton-need-to-focus-attetion-on-other-strategic-work-in-org-strat-mgt-context.pdf

About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD     

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)


Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published 250+ professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.