Projects are not strategies

It's a common phrase: "strategic project". It's used a lot, but what does it mean? All too often, it's used to mean that a company's strategy is coincident with a project. But, this is exactly the wrong way of thinking. Simply put, projects are tactics. They are always tactics. If you're doing it right, they support a strategy. So, they can be strategic in this sense only. When projects are used as strategies, not only does it confuse the issue, it sets the company up for failure. Strategies set out goals and define a plan to achieve them. They also establish metrics for measuring success. In this sense, they must stand outside and above any particular project. If you try to establish this level of strategic planning within a project, it won't work. A project makes sense only when the goal, plan, and metrics are pre-defined by some other activity. So, when you're working on a project, keep in mind that it will be most successful only when it's being used to execute some pre-defined strategy.