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2018-09-01

when a project is strategic?

According to the tasks of projects of strategic and operational projects. Both types of projects according to the following classification criteria:

  • Goal alignment: Strategic projects are aligned with overarching objectives, such as securing the long-term success, the very existence of the company, or the development ability of the company. This goal orientation is also referred to as effectiveness. Operating projects are used for proper implementation of the day-to-day business resulting decisions are therefore based on the efficiency.
  • Reference period: Strategic projects, a longer observation period is based, while operational projects in the short term, to solve specific implementation tasks. Accordingly, strategic projects are subject to a much more dynamic, than operating projects.
  • Level of detail: Strategic-oriented projects deal with the fundamental orientation of a company. Accordingly, these projects are less feasible, project objectives and project tasks do not fully detail can be modeled. The stronger projects in operation are being deployed, project objectives and project tasks can clearly be described in detail, the more likely it is to operational projects.
  • The structural quality of the problems: While strategic projects i. d. R. by a high complexity are characterized so poorly structured project issues capture, operational projects to well-structured, i.e., relatively simple and well definable problems.
  • The degree of information precision: the Strategic projects are dependent because of their long-term nature and dynamics of long-term forecasts. In addition, the information about the relevant environment of the company are in addition to information about the company. Often, the required information is qualitative and there is little concrete information. Operational projects are characterised by a specific, more accurate information of the project problem, often even fully quantitatively to describe.
  • The degree of the problem scope: strategic projects will be attempted, the long-term development of the entire company anticipate, while operational projects are related only to the anticipation of individual well-defined problem areas.
  • Environmental reference: Strategic projects describe the successful long-term development path for a company. This can only succeed with the involvement of the relevant to the company environment. Strategic projects are therefore characterized by a much higher degree of external orientation as the operative, i.e., closed implementation projects.


Not all of the projects the reality according to these criteria, sharp as a strategic or operational projects to classify. For each criterion, rather, an expression of the continuum can be used as a basis for the development of the project profile defined, on the basis of which a classification of different tasks is possible. The more the projects studied approach the one or the other Extreme of the profile, the more likely it is a strategic or operational project.

This Text comes from the book project management by Professor Dr. Franz Xaver Bea, Professor Dr. Steffen Scheurer, Sabine Hesselmann: 2., revised and expanded edition, 796 pages , ISBN 978-3-8252-2388-5

The book shows the “State of the Art” of project management and innovative impulses for the further development. New is the representation of a close relationship between project and Strategic Management. The three authors draw on up-to-date discussions: on topics such as project management Assessment, Critical Chain and Agile project management. Numerous examples as well as questions and answers will help students with the understanding of control and allow you a quick applicability. In addition, the title is also suitable for practitioners who want to update their knowledge on project management.

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