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Internattonal Journal of Project ManagementVol. 16, No. 1, pp.

43-50, 1998
Pergamon ~: 1997 ElsevierScienceLtd and IPMA. All rights reserved
Printed in Great Britain
0263-7863/98 $19.00 + 0 00

PIh S0263-7863(97)00016-1

Strategy implementation and project


management
Tony Grundy*
Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, BedJbrd, MK44 OAL, UK

To date, strategy implementation and project management have largely developed quite separ-
ately and independently. But there are many opportunities for cross-fertUisation which are cur-
rently under-exploited both in theory and in practice.
A number of tools from strategic management, value management and from organizational
change can he imported into project management to enrich traditional techniques considerably.
These tools are particularly powerful when applied to complex, multi-functional projects which
are entailed when attempting to turn business strategy into implementation. These tools can also
be imported into mainstream project management practice. ,© 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd and
IPMA

Over the past few years there has been increasing inter- process-based school of strategic management stresses
est in project management as a vehicle for strategy im- the primacy of:
plementation. This interest has resulted in significant • Incremental management (over and above bolder,
advances in: bigger strategies. 5
a) our understanding of how strategy can be • Cycles of deliberate and emergent change--as
more effectively implemented; opposed to linear strategy development. 6'7
b) our notion of what 'project management' can, • Implementation and strategic thinking as inseparable
and should, stand for. vs discrete phases of strategic analysis and strategic
action/
Dealing first with (a), it has been recognised for
many years that implementation is frequently the By blurring the boundaries between strategic analy-
graveyard of strategy.' But although implementation is sis and action we now see a much more central role
touched on by core texts on strategic management (for for project management in strategy implementation.
exampleZ), implementation rarely gains the prominence This is especially the case where we are dealing with
which it deserves. Arguably strategic management major cross-functional projects like TQM and Business
should achieve its very own 'paradigm shift '3 by mov- Process Re-engineering (BPR).
ing from a 90:10 concern with strategy formulation Increasingly, project management is being applied
relative to implementation to at least a 50:50 concern outsides its core domain of improving the "competitive
with each. hardware' of businesses to their 'competitive soft-
Turning next to (b) the role of project management, ware', 7 and to the process of implementing strategic
project management's core concern is to deliver a change, s Project management in the arena of strategy
implementation needs therefore to embrace a number
specific result in a particular time and at a particular
of more complex, interdependent and fluid factors in
cost. Traditional project management 4 focuses on deli-
order to be genuinely effective. Managers are, in many
verables (or 'outputs'), on scheduling and co-ordinat-
cases, only beginning to learn how to process change
ing tasks, and on mobilising resources. Principally,
issues effectively and to turn them into projects. This
traditional project management deals with 'hard' task-
article addresses how they can actively do this in a sys-
based business issues, as opposed to 'softer', less tangi-
tematic way.
ble factors, except perhaps for defining the role of pro-
In this article therefore I outline a number of im-
ject manager and the project team. plementation analysis tools which have been developed
The 'design' theory of strategic management pro- in the context of implementing strategic change. These
motes the notion of a neat strategic analysis-choice- tools provide a coherent and robust framework for
implementation process. However, the 'alternative' dealing with strategy implementation projects. But
they can also be applied to the more mundane, but no
*Tel. 01234 751122. less important field of operational projects. We illus-
43
Strategy implementation and project management: T Grundy

trate both with reference to examples, for instance mode. These phases of the strategy (and equally pro-
from Cellnet (a U K cellular telecommunications com- ject life-cycle) are characterised thus:
pany), Dowty Communications and Hewlett Packard
• Deliberate strategy: where the project has well-
(UK).
defined end goals and a clear and specific means of
To explore how strategy implementation processes
achieving these goals.
can inform project management (and vice versa) we
• Emergent strategy: where the project's end goals
examine the implementation framework: enriching pro-
(and intermediate goals) are necessarily fluid, and
ject management. This is explored as follows:
also where the means of achieving these goals can
• Project definition change in new and sometimes surprising ways.
• Project diagnosis • Submergent strategy: where the project is losing its
• Project planning and implementation way--its original goals now seem distant and unrea-
• Lessons and conclusion. lisable, and project activities are beginning to frag-
ment.
• Emergency strategy: where the project is truly frag-
menting into near-random actions and where the
The implementation framework: enriching project project as a whole appears to be overtaken by
management events.
Project definition • Detergent strategy: where the project is recognised
as off-course and by now being steered back onto its
Before we look at an overview of the implementation
original track, or onto a new track.
framework we should first examine the issue of project
definition. Not only is this rarely self-evident with oper- The 'strategy cycle' is not intended to be a determi-
ational projects but it is even harder to define for nistic series of phases destined to always go around
major strategy implementation projects. clockwise. Indeed, projects may alternate between
To begin with, these strategy-related projects may be deliberate/emergent modes as they are guided to (an
poorly scoped or time bounded. Paradoxically strategy often moving) target. But more frequently an emergent
implementation projects should actually be defined phase decays into submergent/emergency when the
with much more rigour than usually is the case. But at project goes wrong. Even then projects may continue
the same time there needs to be some latitude in terms to fly off-course rather than being grasped firmly once
of fluidity of scope and focus within the project defi- again in the 'detergent' mode.
nition. Strategic implementation projects need to be Next we take a look at the definition of projects,
refined and steered continually. In effect these projects particularly to map out their interdependencies with
need to be guided much more sensitively towards their other strategy implementation programmes. We should
target relative to the more traditional, 'fixed' notion of also at this stage be very explicit in defining the stra-
a project. (Here our mind-set should be moving from tegic objectives of projects. Where these are left fluid,
the Scud-missile type of project to the Cruise-missile.) or taken-for-granted, there is carte blanche to organiz-
Just as strategic management has had to come to ational confusion. Also, it becomes even harder to per-
terms with this greater fluidity and ambiguity so must form meaningful financial analysis of the project
project management. Indeed, the notions of "deliberate' within a business case--particularly of the anticipated
and 'emergent' strategy in strategic management can benefits. 8
be applied in an extended way to strategy implemen- Figure 2 now explores a decision path for deciding
t a t i o n - a n d to project management. 9 Not only do at what level to analyse the project. Where there are
these terms apply to project strategy but also to pro- many and complex interdependencies between the pro-
ject value--which can be partly deliberate, and partly ject and other projects, and where these interdependen-
emergent. cies are hard to cost/benefit analyse we should look at
Figure 1 displays an analytically useful (and man- the wider set of projects as our desired unit of analysis.
ager-friendly) approach to understanding project strat- This is sometimes called the 'strategic project set'.
egy. 7 Project strategy may start off as deliberate but Projects do often have value in virtue of their mem-
rapidly move through phases of being emergent, sub- bership of a group or set. This is sometimes likened to
mergent, 'emergency' and possibly even detergent a collector's set of scarce bone china: even to break
the milk jug will have a disproportionate effect on the
overall value of the set. Obviously when dealing with

~ SIMPLE
~ e r g e n t ~
' .'NO~
._I I W HATINTER- II
5"6;
EN~';~C,[E-S- t
co,,p,...I
~1-1[ TS
~kSSESS- I--I
1 ~
I BENEFIT/COSTS?I I I UNITIS
[ J n I STRATEGIC
NOI.~ PROJECT
I SET

Figure 1 The five forms of strategy Figure 2 What is the unit of analysis
44
Strategy implementation and project management." T Grundy

Closed Informal Formal


organizational projects, few projects are actively irre- Management Communication Communlcabon-
placeable. But quite often the potential value of the set Style nfe ng=d
is undermined simply because certain things which you
would anticipate as being there are actually absent.
For very major strategic implementation pro- Untargeted~~ ~ Symptom =poor

grammes there may be so many interdependencies


between project clusters that we go up a level more to
find the appropriate level at which to appraise the pro-
/ / Commumcat~on"

Poldlckmg H=erarchtal Important news


ject. In this situation, we may have to evaluate the Structure filtered out
effect as the business unit strategy itself. 8
Figure 3 Root cause analysis
One key issue is to what extent it is appropriate to
target the economic value of strategy implementation
projects. We hold the view that wherever possible, ben- leverage and critical mass, and thus a greater economic
efits (however soft and less tangible) should be tar- value.
g e t e d - - a n d preferably in economic (or financial) Project definition also requires a relatively intensive
terms. 7 This does not mean that projects should be diagnosis process prior to detailed planning and cer-
exactly evaluated (in financial terms)--but one would tainly prior to commencing implementation. This diag-
want to see potential benefits illustrated financially. nosis process assesses the real or underlying nature of
Although evaluating at the strategy or programme the opportunity/threat which the project aims at
level may seem to cut across prevailing wisdom in addressing, as opposed to its symptoms or more super-
financial theory about incremental cash flow-based ficial definition. This takes us into the core of our im-
project analysis, this apparent conflict can be recog- plementation framework (Figure 2).
nised and addressed. For example, the U K cellular op-
erator Cellnet 7 appraised its Business Process Re-
Project diagnosis
engineering programme in the context of:
Project diagnosis can be greatly facilitated by a small
a) linking with other planned strategic change number of implementation tools. First, 'root-cause'
programmes: here Cellnet mapped out the key inter- analysis (sometimes known as 'fishbone analysis')
dependencies rather than seeing BPR as stand- helps managers to understand the underlying cause of
alone; a particular problem. (Root cause analysis is a tool
b) analysing the 'with investment' case: Cellnet imported from the quality management literature.)
targeted itself at a number of stretching, competitive An example of root cause analysis is shown in
breakthroughs in terms of service, product time-to- Figure 3. This deals with a typical analysis of com-
market cost, and flexibility; m u n i c a t i o n - t h i s is typically a weakness in many or-
c) analysing the 'without investment' case: this ganizations and often a prime candidate for a strategic
consisted of 'more of the past'--Cellnet came to the breakthrough project. Notice the complexity of even
view that this would inevitably result in competitive surface root causes: these would need to be pursued
erosion. further back to their ultimate cause beneath this still
Project definition thus raises even at this early stage relatively general level of analysis.
the important issue of how to evaluate (and value)
projects. Project definition may also lead to unbund-
ling the project activities within a strategic project set Project planning and implementation
into discrete projects. Or it may involve re-bundling Further tools for fleshing out project plans include
interconnected projects together to create a greater ' H o w - H o w ' analysis and ' F r o m - T o ' analysis. 7

Drop
Refocus I Channel
Distribution
Resolve Channel "Push"
Channel Marketing
Conflict Re-train Strategy
Sales Force

Strategic Product Range ~ Product


Turnaround Simplification Parts
Simplification

Process Process
Simplification Automation
Reduce
Cost Base Reduce Just-in-time
Working Capital Systems
Reduce Focused
Manufacturing ~ Manufacturing
Sites Strategy

Figure 4 How-How analysis: strategy implementation at Skil Corporation (in the USA)
45
Strategy implementation and project management: T Grundy

H o w - H o w analysis can be used to work through


the detailed implications posed by strategy implemen-
tation. F o r instance, in a now famous Harvard
T
Enabhng
Forces
~°eW~¢
t 'reSentun ' Tnghter
Business School case study, Michael Porter describes ommunlcatlons T finanoal
l New MD / controls
how a US corporation, Skil, a power tools business,
tried to achieve a turnaround (or detergent) strategy.
installed
/
This strategy had two main planks: refocusing distri- Case's Case's
bution channels and reducing Skil's cost base in an rewards
strategic I system
attempt to become market leader. Implicitly, Skil man- I posrtaon ~dafferent Integrabon
Constrammg B~g l~m~sunderstood deferred
agement worked out the logic of implementation Forces differences
nnculture
unconsciously using a " H o w - H o w ' approach. The key
ingredients of this implementation strategy can now be
depicted through the H o w - H o w methodology (see
Figure 4). H o w - H o w can act as a very fruitful brain- Figure 6 Dowty case communications force field analysis
storming tool to encourage managers to think through
(in a progressive degree of detail) the implications of Implementation forces analysis is the diagnosis and
the strategy. evaluation of enabling and restraining forces that have
Next, ' F r o m - T o ' analysis is a simplified version of an impact on a project.
the organizational paradigm, 1'2 or analysing 'how we
do things around here'. ' F r o m - T o " is perhaps a more I M F analysis is a tool which brings to the surface
manager-friendly approach as it can be readily tailored the underlying forces which may pull a particular
to managers' view of their w o r l d - - a n d couched in change forward or which may prevent progress, or
their terms (and thus not in more academic language). even move the change backwards. These 'forces' can
' F r o m - T o ' (or ' F T ' analysis) focuses on some of the be separately identified as 'enablers' or 'constraints'.
But neither set of forces can be adequately identified
key shifts which one is trying to achieve in progressing
a particular strategy implementation project. FT analy- without first specifying the objective of the strategy im-
sis adds value through: plementation project. Put simply, enablers are the in-
fluences on the project which makes it easier to
• Capturing in a much richer way the broader (and implement, and the constraints are those influences
sometimes less tangible) shifts implied by the pro- making it more difficult.
ject. Turning back now to I M F analysis, the most effec-
• Focusing not merely on concrete organizational out- tive way of evaluating the forces enabling or constrain-
puts but also shifts in processes. ing achievement of the strategic development objective
• Analysing not merely 'where we want to be' but sim- is to do so pictorially. This picture represents the rela-
ultaneously 'where we are now'. tive strength of each individual change force by draw-
FT analysis can also be used to track progress in ing an arrowed line whose length is in proportion to
both implementing strategic change generally, and in that relative strength.
progressing specific projects. One way of operationalis- A horizontal version of I M F analysis is depicted in
ing this is to score different aspects of the F r o m - T o Figure 6. Note in this case that, on balance, the
on a 1-10 and then drawing up a profile of "where we enabling forces appear less strong than the constrain-
are now' vs future vision. This highlights key gaps (see ing forces. This particular analysis is of Dowty
Figure 5 for an example of organizational structure Communications strategic plan for the early 1990 s. It
change). shows that although m a n y of the plans, processes and
programmes had been put in place, it was nevertheless
difficult to envisage implementation being a complete
success. Subsequent events suggest that implemen-
Implementation forces tation difficulties at Dowry Communications were very
severe.
Implementation forces (IMF) analysis is derived from As a rule of thumb, one would wish to see the
the original notion of 'force field analysis' from Lewin enablers outweighing the constraints by a factor of at
(1935). least 1.5 to 2 overall. Otherwise we should be con-
Implementation forces analysis can be defined as fol- cerned and potentially worried that implementation
lows: droop will set in.
Also, any stoppers really must be addressed, other-
FROM ;- TO wise implementation really won't happen. During (and
Structures* before) implementation the key implementation forces
should be continually monitored to ensure that none
Goals* threatens to 'go critical' and become a stopper.
A number of pitfalls need to be avoided in the use
Behaviours* of force field analysis, which include:
Cost base* • Focusing primarily on tangible (as opposed to less
tangible) implementation forces.
Responsiveness* • Missing our major constraints because the team
* You need to identify shifts relevant to you
wishes to paint an 'ideal' rather than a realistic pic-
ture of the change (we return to these issues in a
Figure 5 Using 'From-To' (FT) moment).

46
Strategy implementation and project management: T Grundy

• Failing to identify a 'stopper': that is, a change FOR Coalition


building
which has such a powerful impact that it is likely to
stop the change in its tracks. 'Stoppers' should be
drawn either as a thick black arrow or, alternatively, /~Wm over/
as an arrow which goes right to the bottom of the coalition /
A~ude ~ building J
implementation forces analysis and 'off the page'. NEUTRAL Leave alone [ ~ | Winning
~ ~ ~ a r d
A stopper can be defined as an influence or change
which will effectively put an end to the initiative either
through direct confrontation or passive resistance. . . a . oo, o,°,a. (
(Many strategy implementation initiatives may fail Distract orfragment
because of 'limpet m a n a g e m e n t ' - - j u s t as one con- AGAINST
straint is loosened another reasserts itself.) Also, there LOW MEDIUM HIGH
Influence
may be cases where a specific enabling force can be ~n~4~l
s ,sbased~ eaa*erv a ~ s b~P,er~(19e9)
made strong and prove decisive in moving the change Figure 7 Stakeholder analysis
forward. This kind of force may be described as an
'unblocker' and can be drawn as a very long (or thick)
positive line on the I M F picture. has entirely reshaped the way in which strategic devel-
There may also be instances where a negative and opment has been implemented. L7'~°
constraining force can be flipped over to make a posi- Stakeholder analysis is the systematic identification
tive force, and in so doing transform the picture. For of key stakeholders and appraisal of their influence on,
instance, if an influential stakeholder (who is currently and posture towards implementation. It may also
negative) can be turned around in favour of the involve creating a strategy to reshape the influence of
change, this can provide a major driver in the strategic these or new stakeholders.
development process. Stakeholder analysis is our second type of organiz-
I M F analysis should not be used simply to reflect, ational radar which helps guide strategy implemen-
but also to re-shape strategy implementation projects. tation projects. The tool used is as follows:
At the diagnosis stage not only should it be used to • First, identify who you believe the key stakeholders
m a p the existing pattern of implementation forces, but are at any phase of the process (the 'stakeholder
also to identify what pattern of forces is required in brainstorm').
order to move the projects forward at an acceptable • Second, evaluate whether these stakeholders have
pace. high, medium or low influence on the issue in ques-
tion. (You need to abstract this from their influence
generally in the organization.l°)
Some do's and don 'ts of I M F analysis
• Third, evaluate whether at the current time they are
D o ' s include: for the project, against it, or idling in 'neutral'.
• Brainstorm all the key tangible and less tangible The above gives a good 'first cut' of the pattern of
forces impacting on the project. stakeholders. The cluster of stakeholders depicted on a
• Include key forces drawn from your ' F T ' analysis stakeholder grid (see Figure 7) should then be assessed
(see section later), and the stakeholder analysis (see to see what the overall picture looks like, particularly:
the next section).
• Do the initial I M F analysis on an 'as is' b a s i s - - • Is the project an easy bet?
show the warts and be prepared to be provocative. • Or is it highlighting a long slog?
• Where a major constraint exists, draw this in as a • Or, finally, does this seem like 'mission impossible'?
stopper (that is as a very long downward arrow) to Following the first-cut analysis managers can then
draw attention to its role in braking the change pro- move on to the next phase:
cess.
• Use the tool throughout the strategy implementation • First, can new stakeholders be brought into play to
process as the forces impacting on projects will shift the balance or can existing players be with-
change over time. drawn in some way (or be subtly distracted)?
• Second, is it possible to boost the influence of stake-
Don'ts include: holders who are currently in favour of the change?
• Confuse I M F analysis with simple cost-benefit • Third, is it possible to reduce the influence of antag-
analysis. Benefits should only be included as a force onistic stakeholders.
if they are perceived by and owned by key stake- • Fourth, can coalitions of stakeholders in favour be
holders. Often, these benefits are in the eye of the achieved so as to strengthen their combined influ-
p r o g r a m m e initiator and are neutral in driving the ence?
change process forward. • Fifth, can coalitions of stakeholders antagonistic to
• Just use I M F analysis as a tool to describe the cur- the project be prevented?
rent position rather than how the various levels can • Sixth, can the change itself, in appearance or in sub-
be re-shaped. stance, be reformulated to diffuse hostility to the
project.
• Seventh, are there possibilities of 'bringing on
Stakeholder analysis board' negative stakeholders by allowing them a
Stakeholder analysis is our next tool for analysing role or in incorporating one or more of their prized
strategy implementation projects. Stakeholder analysis ideas?
47
Strategy implementation and project management." T Grundy

FOR "~ HIGH

~ MEDIUM
Attdude
NEUTRAL

LOW
©
AGAINST
EASY DIFFICULT VERY DIFFICULT
LOW MEDIUM HIGH Implementation difficulty
Influence
Figure 9 Attractiveness/implementation difficulty (AID)
Figure 8 Stakeholder analysis--Dowty communications analysis
• Eighth, is the pattern of influence of stakeholders
sufficiently hostile for the project to warrant re-defi-
nition of the project? good deal of testing (a) of the net benefits (is it really
that attractive--would it be much harder than we cur-
An example of stakeholder analysis in use is con-
rently think?).
tained in Figure 8. This is again based on the position
Project C is relatively e a s y - - i t will probably end up
as assessed by internal managers of key stakeholders
being zapped unless it can be reformulated to make it
at Dowty Communications.
both a lot more attractive and easier.
Stakeholder analysis can invite as m a n y questions as
Project D presents the biggest dilemma of all.
it yields answers. These questions can be used by man-
Although it appears to be very attractive it is also very
agers to track potential positions of stakeholders (and
difficult to implement. Yet managers will tend to focus
their agendas) in specific meetings and chance conver-
on the attractiveness of the project rather than its
sations. Often a particular stakeholder may be difficult
actual difficulty. And that can occur even though they
to position. This may be because his/her agendas
have gone through the I M F and stakeholder analysis
might be complex. It is quite c o m m o n to find that it is
thoroughly.
only one specific blocker which has made a stake-
When piloting the A I D tool at Hewlett Packard this
holder into an influential antagonist.
happened on two occasions. Quite separately, two ' D '
Where there are very large numbers of stakeholders
type projects were identified and as managers spent
at play on a particular issue, this may invite simplifica-
more time analysing them, commitment to action
tion or even dissolution or re-formulation of the pro-
levels built up.
ject.
Although neither of the projects went a h e a d - - i n
their existing f o r m - - b o t h myself and the internal facil-
itator Stuart Reed, had to be relatively strong to con-
Attractiveness and implementation difficulty vince the teams that some further refinement was
N o w that we have led you through the three key tools necessary.
of implementation analysis, it only remains to look at Stuart Reed reflected at the time:
the trade-offs between attractiveness and difficulty.
I had gone through with them (the managers) both the
The three implementation tools tell us little, if any-
implementation forces and the stakeholders. Although
thing, about whether a particular strategic implemen-
it did seem to be an attractive project our two organiz-
tation project is beneficial. The tools are concerned
ational tools were telling us 'it is not going to happen'.
purely with the implementation process. Benefits are
I think because the managers were going through the
only relevant in terms of shaping implementation
analysis tools for the first time (and hadn't actually
forces insofar as they are perceived and shared by key
tried to implement the project) they hadn't quite re-
stakeholders in the organization. Only if that is the alised that it really wasn't going to happen.
case can they legitimately be introduced as enabling or
constraining forces.
It is perfectly possible, for instance, to find a strat-
egy implementation project which is attractive and Scenarios
which also has clear benefits, and yet where the im- Finally, we turn to the use of scenarios for steering im-
plementation difficulty is extremely great. plementation. Scenarios are:
Alternatively, a project may be relatively easily im-
• Internally consistent views of the future.
plemented, but not particularly attractive or beneficial.
• Which focus on discontinuity and change (not on
The attractiveness/implementation tool ('AID" grid)
continuity).
enables these trade-offs to be achieved. Pioneered in
• Which also involve exploring how the underlying
conjunction with Hewlett Packard, this tool enables a
systems in the business environment may generate
portfolio of possible projects to be prioritised. Figure 9
change.
illustrates a hypothetical case.
• Views of how the competitive players (existing and
Project A is seen as being both very attractive and
new) might behave.
relatively easy to implement. This project is non-con-
tentious and will probably be given the go ahead. Just as 'strategy' is frequently defined as a pattern in
Project B is somewhat more difficult. It is only med- a stream of (past and current) decisions, so a 'scenario'
ium-attractive and is difficult. Project B requires a is equally a pattern of future events and of the inter-

48
Strategy implementation and project management." T Grundy

action between customers, competitors and other key • Drive risk and (financial) sensitivity analysis--for
players both outside and inside the company. the business case.
Scenarios are not static and comprehensive views of • Ultimately, to decide whether or not to go ahead
the future. Scenarios are in many ways more like a with the project (perhaps it is simply too risky).
video film--they are of necessity selective but contain Figure 10 gives a live example of the uncertainty/im-
a dynamic storyline. Scenarios thus contain a series of portance grid. Here we see how at Cellnet certain
views (pictures) of the future. The scenario contains a assumptions underpinning its major business process
storyline which enables these pictures to hang together. re-engineering programme turned out to be consider-
The story can be run (again like a video film) for- ably more uncertain and important than had pre-
ward or, alternatively, backward. By replaying the viously been recognised.
story you can work backwards from a particular scen- Uncertainty/importance analysis thus provides a
ario to see what events might bring about a particular most valuable tool for Everyday Scenario Planning (or
outcome (or 'transitional events'). ESP). This should prove to be an indispensable ad-
Scenarios are not therefore an excuse to make broad dition to the project manager's arsenal.
or vague generalisations--as they are pictures they In order to prioritise strategic implementation pro-
have a clarity about them which will enable recog- jects it may also be advisable to prioritise their import-
nition. Managers need to know which world they are ance and urgency (see Figure 11. (This grid was
entering i n t o - - t h e resolution thus has to be sharp, not discovered spontaneously during change management
fuzzy. In AnsotVs terms, LI they are ways of picking up, work with ICI Colours during 1990. Interestingly, the
amplifying and interpreting weak signals in the en- Burton Group (Management Page, Financial Times,
vironment (external or internal). November 8 1995) also used a similar approach in its
Project-based scenarios, like all pictures, will thus massive store restructuring programme.
have a foreground and a background, some features of Naturally, the 'importance' and 'urgency' grid
central interest, and others which are more peripheral. invites the question of 'important to whom and why?'
To begin to construct a project-based scenario it is (hopefully to the business). It may also result in ques-
especially fruitful to explore the key assumptions tioning the degree of perceived urgency. Once again,
(explicit or implicit) which have been made in believing this grid can be linked in closely to stakeholder analy-
the project will be a success. This invites the use of the sis. Finally, importance and urgency analysis can be
'Uncertainty/Importance' matrix. Here some of the used to map separate projects and their interdependen-
critical assumptions are brainstormed. They are then cies pictorially--as a prelude to planning the critical
positioned in the four quadrants in the current cer- path(s) within a complex strategic change programme.
tainty/importance matrix. Then, where they are per-
ceived to be 'less important' managers can test why
they think this is the case. Equally, where the assump-
tion(s) is considered to be 'relatively certain', once Integrating the tools
again this can be challenged. It is possible to interrelate the various tools. For
Once this testing has been done, specific assumptions instance, stakeholder analysis can be used to generate
may emerge in the danger-zone or South-East of the assumptions about specific stakeholder positions in
grid. These can now be used to generate project-based order to provide input to the uncertainty/importance
scenarios where perhaps one or more assumptions are analysis. Also, IMF (implementation forces analysis)
not met to explore what might happen. This analysis can be used to dig down into the particular agenda of
can then be used to: a specific stakeholder--thus exposing factors enabling
• Generate contingency plans. vs constraining support for a project. Managers will
• Identify project 'hot spots' which need to be very no doubt find new ways of spontaneously combining
closely monitored. and applying the tools.
Figure 12 now shows how the various tools can be
integrated. Although it is not always necessary to use
them all (and certainly not all at once), it is impossible
Certain to have available the whole set for use at different
phases of any complex, strategy implementation pro-
ject.
\

%
I ID HIGH
4
Least x% Very
important important

IMPORTANCE
"5

Uncertain

LOW
Figure 10 Uncertainty/importance of assumptions--cellnet LOW URGENCY HIGH
BPR project
Figure 11 Prioritisations--tensions
49
Strategy implementation and project management." T Grundy

SCENARIOS
- Why Is It a problem/opportunity major organic, business development, acquisitions,
ROOTCAUSEFISHBONE
I business process re-engineering, structure and culture
- Key process I HOW
PROJECT [ - How change, quality management and continuous improve-
MANAGEMENT - Evolve strategy
ment projects. These techniques are particularly well
suited to cross-functional projects.
E ~ PUSHv PULL
STRATEGY It is hoped that writers in mainstream project man-
- Evolvestrategy
agement can carry these techniques forward--and also
to develop these further. Strategic management and
AID-ATFRACTIVEN --TO
IMPLEMENTATION - Express strategy and project management have very much a common
DIFFICULTY create VlSrOn
enemy overcoming the constraints posed by strategy
- Overall STAKEHOLDER F LD implementation.
evaluatton ANALYSIS - Overalldtfficulty
- Ascertain& & reshape plans
reshape agendas
References
Figure 12 T o o l s ~ h a t to use and when 1. Grundy, A. N., Implementing Strategw Change. Kogan Page,
1993.
2. Johnson and Scholes, Exploring Corporate Strategy. Prentice
Hall, 1989.
3. Kuhn, T. S, The Structure of Scwntil~e Revolutmns. Chicago
University Press, Chicago, 1962.
4. Turner, J R., The Handbook of Proleet-Ba,~ed Management.
McGraw Hdl, 1993.

/
PRIES~~ 5. Quinn, J. B., Strategies Jor Change Logwal hwrementalism.
Richard D Irwin, Illinois
6. Mmtzberg, H. and Westley, F. Cycles of orgamzational change.
Strategic Management Journal 13, 1992, 39 59.
7 Grundy, A. N , Breakthrough Strategw~ /or Growth. Pitman
Publishing, 1995.
8 Grundy, A. N., Corporate Strategy and Financial Decisions.
Kogan Page, 1992.
Figure 13 Strategy and projects the hierarchy 9. Mintzberg, H., The Rise attd Fall o/ Strategic Planning. Prentice
Hall, 1994.
10. Piercey, N Diagnosing and solving Implementation problems m
strategic planning. Journal o.["General Management 15(1), 1989
Lessons and conclusion 11. Ansoff, H. I. Managing Strategic Surprise by Response to
Weak Signals. Cah/'ornia Management Review XVIII(2), 1975,
Strategy implementation projects form an increasingly 21 331.
important and high profile application of project man- 12 McElroy, W., Strategic Change Through Project Management.
agement. McElroy ~z has previously highlighted a hier- APM, 1995.
archical model of aims-strategy-programmes projects
(Figure 13). What we have contributed to is the evol-
Dr TotO' Grundy ts Senior Lecturer
ution of strategic thinking at both the project level and m Strategic Management at
at the strategic project-set level. In due course a num- Crw~eld School o/ Management,
ber of strategic project-sets become these ~pro- and Director. Cambridge Corporate
grammes'. At this level major strategic projects often Development. He has ii'orked with
call for a somewhat different mix of tools to tra- BP, 1CI and KPMG, and ts author
oJ several books on strategy, finance
ditional project management. These tools can also be and change management, mchuhng
of major benefit to more tactical and everyday pro- Breakthrough Strategies [or Growth
jects. (Pitman, 1995).
We have therefore brought together a number of
tools and techniques from strategic management, value
management and from organizational change to comp-
lement existing project management techniques. This
toolkit can be applied to a variety of projects including

50