Realizing strategic intentions through projects – linking internal change initiatives to the corporate strategy

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: Background When projects and programmes are becoming ever more present in many of today’s organizations, these are also playing an increasingly important role in implementing the corporate strategy. This thesis is focusing on internal change initiatives, named BT initiatives, which aims at implementing substantial changes to the current organization. Due to the size of the initiatives and their impact on the organization, they need to be thoroughly linked to the corporate strategy. To evaluate how well this linkage works today, and if there are room for improvements, this thesis starting point was to get a comprehensive understanding of the fields of strategic management, programme and project portfolio management, and benefits management. The chosen theoretical framework has then been used to direct the gathering of the thesis’ empirics and in the analysis of the findings. Following the analysis is the conclusions, derived from the preceding work done. Problem definition To ensure that the large BT initiatives don’t have adverse consequences, they have to be evaluated against the Company’s strategy. The evaluation will show how strongly linked an initiative is to the different strategic goals put up. After an initiative is initiated, it will be a matter of utmost importance to ensure that the benefits the initiative plans to bring is really delivered in full to the organization. This is something that needs to be focused on both during the initiatives duration, but also after the initiatives are closed. The strategic linkage and how to realize initiative’s benefits are the two underlying aspects on which the following master thesis rests upon. Delimitations The initiatives that have been focused on are those categorized as BT initiatives. These initiatives aim at implementing internal changes to the organization in order to be more efficient, and they all have a budget exceeding €1M. Smaller internal changes initiatives, R&D projects, customer projects or any other projects are excluded from this thesis. Purpose The purpose of this thesis is to be: (1) descriptive in a survey over today’s processes, policies, and tools utilized for the running of BT initiatives, (2) normative based on read up on theories, and (3) give recommendations for how the BT initiatives role can be strengthened in order fulfil strategic goals. Method The thesis project has been conducted as a case study at the Company, and is based on document studies and qualitative interviews that are supposed to give a contrasting view on how the formal processes, policies, and tools are utilized today. Thesis conclusions Based on the theoretical body of knowledge used as a foundation for this thesis the Company is overall doing a good work within the studied field. That being said, there is a recognized need to improve to gain better results. The key areas for improvements are to implement a formal programme management approach for the BT initiatives and to implement a benefits monitoring dashboard. A suggestion on how the latter can be structured is given, and is advised to be implemented in order to keep a focus on benefits realization even though the actual initiatives has been closed. This prolonged focus is considered to be the guarantee for reaching full benefits, which is equated with getting maximum pay-back on the money spent on the BT initiatives. The current linkage between the strategy and the initiatives are deemed as good enough.

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