The Interfaces Between Strategic Management of an Enterprise

and Project Portfolio Management Within the Enterprise



By Russell D. Archibald

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico




The aim of this paper is to define the interfaces or inter-relationships between the business processes used to manage the strategic growth of an enterprise and those used to manage the program/project portfolios within the enterprise. It will clarify the boundaries between strategic management processes and project portfolio management processes, and identify who holds primary responsibilities for these inter-related sets of management processes. The main issues to be considered include:

  • Is it possible to define a clear boundary between strategic and program/project portfolio management processes? It is concluded that this is possible and a boundary definition is presented for consideration.
  • How should we differentiate between strategic project management and operational project management? An approach to such differentiation is proposed.
  • Which, if any, of the strategic project management practices and processes should be considered to be within the domain of ‘project management’? A descriptive list of these is proposed.
  • What should be the role of a typical PMO in relation to 1) strategic management processes, and 2) both strategic and operational project management processes? A definition of this role is proposed.

The importance of identifying the major categories of project portfolios and of major categories projects within those enterprises is also discussed.

Keywords: Project management, strategic management, strategic project management, operational project management, project management office.

  1. The Strategic Growth Management Processes Within an Enterprise

Building on strategic planning and related management processes developed over the past 50 years, well-managed enterprises today utilize integrated strategic growth management processes to define, approve and control their current and future growth plans and the actions – principally the execution of portfolios of programs and projects — needed to achieve their agreed strategic objectives. “Strategic management is the art and science of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that will enable an organization to achieve its objectives” [“Strategic Management” Wikipedia 2008.]

Fig. 1 illustrates a typical and widely used five-step strategic growth management process that has been developed and applied across a number of industries, business sectors, and governmental and non-governmental agencies in many countries. The integrated processes summarized in Fig. 1 incorporate and use the fundamentals of several strategic planning approaches, including competitive strategies, business environment assessment, industry structure analysis [Porter 2008]; portfolio analysis and analysis using the Boston Consulting Group’s Box [BCG 2008]; plus a number of others.

Responsibilities for Strategic Management Plans, Decisions and Processes: In the 1970s and 1980s it was common practice for a senior staff person, typically with a title like Vice President — Planning, to hold responsibility for preparing a company’s long range or strategic plan for the coming 3 to 5 years. In those years such plans were then usually elaborate projections to which the key senior executives of the company were not necessarily fully committed, and the plans were rarely fully implemented. Today in well-managed companies the same senior executives who are responsible for execution of strategic management decisions at the corporate and at major operating division levels of an organization are also held responsible for creating the integrated strategic growth plans that incorporate these strategic decisions.

These persons include the chief executive officer/CEO and other senior corporate level executives, managers of subsidiary business units, functional area managers within a subsidiary business unit, and directors or managers of major operating departments and product line and geographic units. In addition, the strategic roles of a typical board of directors are to [Thompson & Strickland (1995), slides 49 and 53]:



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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 11th Annual DYNAMICS 2010 Project Management Symposium in Istanbul, Turkey in April 2010.  It was the subject of Russ Archibald’s keynote address at that event.  This paper was previously published in the May 2010 edition of PM World Today (Vol XII, Issue V) with the consent of the author and the Istanbul Project Management Association. Russ Archibald passed away in May 2020 of natural causes.  We are republishing this paper in order to “get his work out there.” It is republished here with consent of the Archibald family. 

How to cite this paper: Archibald, R.D. (2010). The Interfaces Between Strategic Management of an Enterprise and Project Portfolio Management Within the Enterprise; keynote presentation at the 11th Annual DYNAMICS 2010 Project Management Symposium in Istanbul, Turkey. PM World Today, Vol. XII, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/pmwj94-Jun2020-Archibald-strategic-management-and-portfolio-management-second-edition.pdf



About the Author


Russell D. Archibald

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico



Russell Archibald is one of the best-known experts and consultants in the field of project and program management.  With a career spanning more than 50 years, Russ has broad international experience in engineering, operations, program and project management. He has experienced three project management related careers: Management Consultant, Corporate Executive, and Military/Aerospace.  Russ Archibald is the author of the best-selling book, Managing High Technology Programs and Projects (3rd edition 2003, English, Chinese, Italian and Russian), 1st edition 1976, 2nd  edition 1992, and the co-author of Network Based Management Information Systems (PERT/CPM) (1967).  Russ has presented many articles and papers over the years at PMI and International Project Management Association (IPMA) conferences in North America, South America, and Europe, and is widely published in periodicals on professional project management. He holds Bachelor of Science (University of Missouri) and Master of Science (University of Texas, Austin) degrees in Mechanical Engineering. In recent years, Russ has consulted to a wide variety of large and small organizations in many industries worldwide. Russ Archibald is a Fellow and Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) (member No. 6, one of the five original trustees), an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Project Management (APM) in the UK, and is listed in Who’s Who in the World.  Russ is also a Global Advisor to PM Forum and a consultant to the US government.  As a pioneer in the field, Russ received an honorary Ph.D. in strategy, program, and project management from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Lille (ESC-Lille) in Lille, France in August 2005.

Editor’s note: The above author summary appeared at the end of this paper when it was originally published in 2010.  He authored many additional works after this one.  Russ Archibald, a true pioneer and icon in the field of project management, passed away in May 2020 at the age of 96.  Find additional information about Russ Archibald along with access to Russ’ other works at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/russell-d-archibald/ .