Project Management Strategy and Leadership

By bcummings

business professional leading a meeting

Project strategies and project management leadership are becoming increasingly important to employers and will be a key component of a higher education project management curriculum. As a portfolio or program manager, you must align project strategies to business strategies as you develop enterprise project roadmaps. Roadmaps are a tool that enable enterprise and project leaders to formulate long-term plans. Enterprise leaders increasingly use the roadmaps to ensure that programs and projects support business strategies (Recker, Holten, Hummel, & Rosenkranz, 2017).

Project Alignment with Organizational Strategy

In response to an enterprise’s focus on project alignment with business strategies, project managers and project teams formulate project strategies that support achievement of business strategies to guide project work (Shenhar, Milosevic, Dvir, & Thamhain, 2007). For instance, you might formulate project strategies during the initiation phase of a project and document them in the project charter (a document that initializes a project). You can use project strategies developed during the initiation stage to inform and guide the project team through the remainder of the project life cycle. Figure 1 displays how the organizational strategies impact and align with the project.

Figure 1.

project management strategy diagram

Educating for Project Management Leadership

Leadership has been an important element to achieving project success and has been the subject of research since the start of the 20th century (Northouse, 2013). As a result, project and program managers will continue to study project leadership. In addition, as a project management student or project manager, you will need to develop personal learning and leadership skills to encourage others to continually learn. Project managers will help their project team members learn and transfer knowledge among project teams in an organization (Jugdev, 2012; McKay & Ellis, 2015). Ongoing organizational learning and leadership will always be a powerful means to empower project teams.

Educators need to help future project managers to think critically, develop leadership and communication skills, and to provide virtual opportunities to manage projects (NewsRx, 2015). Project Management curricula will likely include courses on developing project strategies and leadership. For example, students may be taught to develop roadmaps that include projects to meet organizational strategic objectives as well as projects to improve short-term profitability (Bengtsson & Lindkvist, 2017). Curricula will continue to include leadership as an integral part of a degree program in project management. Students may work in teams on short-term projects to help them practice developing project strategies and their leadership skills. Degree programs may also include opportunities to connect with a community or provide virtual internships to support students who attend online universities. As project management curriculum is updated, students will be exposed to opportunities to gain a wider set of project management skills in the upcoming years.



Written by Dr. Donald McKay, Associate Dean for Management Studies in the Forbes School of Business & Technology™.



Bengtsson, M., & Lindkvist, L. (2017). Mapping the road to future projects: Roadmapping as a balancing and transformation process, Project Management Journal ®, 48(2), 39-54.

Jugdev, K. (2012). Learning from lessons learned: Project management research program. American Journal of Economics and Business Administration, 4(1), 13-22.

McKay, D., & Ellis, T. (2015). Measuring knowledge enablers and project success in IT organizations. International Journal of Knowledge Management, 11(1), 66-83.

NewsRx. (2015, February 25). Project management; New project management findings from University of Calgary discussed (Project managers and the journey from good to great: The benefits of investment in project management training and education). Technology News Focus, 836.

Northouse, P. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Sage Publications Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA.

Recker, J., Holten, R., Hummel, M., & Rosenkranz, C. (2017). How agile practices impact customer responsiveness and development success: A field study. Project Management Journal ®, 48(2), 99-121.

Shenhar, A. J., Milosevic, D., Dvir, D., & Thamhain, H. (2007). Linking project management to business strategy. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.


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