Project management connects both strategic and tactical elements. The two components of the strategic planning process are integrally connected, yet different in terms of intent and application. Strategy is designed to indicate the how of a strategic planning initiative, while tactics are more specific and cover the what of the planning process.
Strategies are broad statements of how an organization will achieve its identified goals and objectives. Strategies leverage the organization's strengths and opportunities and serve to minimize, or overcome, the organization's weaknesses or threats. For instance, a strategy designed to leverage strengths and opportunities might be: "Capitalize on recent outflux of competitors to grow market share." A strategy designed to minimizes weaknesses or threats might be: "Increase awareness of product benefits relative to competitors."
Tactics support strategies and indicate, specifically, what will be done to achieve the identified strategies. For instance, a strategy of expanding market share might include tactics such as: "Create a direct mail campaign to target non-customers" or "Create a Twitter account." In combination, strategies and tactics are designed to achieve the intended outcomes of a business' planning efforts. Tactics will also drive the development of budget and resource plans to indicate the support required to accomplish the identified tactics.
Strategy and Tactic Alignment
It is important that both strategies and tactics are aligned with the organization's mission, vision and values -- and the identified goals and objectives that are created as part of a planning process. For instance, a restaurant organization whose mission is to: "Serve locally grown and prepared food to a three-county area" would not -- or should not -- establish a strategy of: "Seek out less expensive suppliers of food around the country." However, a strategy of: "Explore opportunities to establish a farm in the area as a source of products for the restaurant" would be appropriate and aligned with the mission.
Monitoring Progress and Making Changes
The sole purpose of strategies and tactics are to support the achievement of goals and objectives. Because of this, it is important to continually monitor progress to determine if strategies and tactics may need to be changed, modified or eliminated. Regular meetings can be a good way to stay on top of results. Results that are meeting or exceeding expectations might suggest the need to continue or strengthen strategies and tactics. Results that are not meeting expectations may suggest the need to eliminate existing strategies or tactics, or add new ones.
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