Strategic vs. tactical projects

New from the MySociety genii:, capsule the curiously-capitalised PlaceOpedia. Think Google Maps ? Wikipedia. Brilliant. Except that, as I write, all the links read

9 Comments

  1. I always thought tactics were the small-scale, day-to-day implementational, often rule-of-thumb supported, don’t-know-exactly-where-we’re-going-but-know-this-is-how-we’re-getting-there type of planning; whereas strategy was the big plan, longer timescale, do-know-where-we’re-wanting-to-head-and-some-detail-of-how-we’re-going-to-get-there-though-chances-are-its-going-to-change-before-we-get-there. IMHO, making this up as I go along, there are three components to a successful project, strategic capability (people who understand where things should be going), tactical capability (people who understand how to get things moving) and ‘do-ers’ (people who actually get stuff done). Many roles in teams are linked to one of these. Some people have aspects of each but most personalities often don’t have enough room for all three to be present in bucket-loads; people fascinated by possibilities may not be that interested in actually doing stuff.. people experienced and capable of doing stuff may not have so much interest in trailblazing.. etc.

  2. I’m a management consultant. I understand the strategic and the tactical, and how to wield an metaphor to make a point.
    Strategic plan: Let’s drive from London to Manchester. We’ll start on the M1 and take a left at M6. We’ll work out the rest when we get to Knutsford (in the trade, this is called the “planning horizon”).
    Tactical plan: I’m hungry. Let’s stop at the next services for a Burger King.
    I’ll leave the reader to contemplate what happens if too much energy is focussed on one or other form of planning.

  3. I’m a management consultant. I understand the strategic and the tactical, and how to wield an metaphor to make a point.
    Strategic plan: Let’s drive from London to Manchester. We’ll start on the M1 and take a left at M6. We’ll work out the rest when we get to Knutsford (in the trade, this is called the “planning horizon”).
    Tactical plan: I’m hungry. Let’s stop at the next services for a Burger King.
    I’ll leave the reader to contemplate what happens if too much energy is focussed on one or other form of planning.

  4. “I’ll leave the reader to contemplate what happens if too much energy is focussed on one or other form of planning”
    You end up double posting?

  5. While reading WW2 Military History I Googled up Strategic Vs Tactical just now and ended up here…
    In my reading they described it this way…When the 1st army finally pushed through the Germans out of the hedgerows..it then became A “strategic” war for the Allied Forces, figuring out how to move the army and where… vS the “tactical” day to day ground fighting of pushing the germans back and wondering where and how many there were.
    perhaps picking your battles vs battling? would that be a way to put it?

  6. In my line of work, ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic’ are the most wantonly overused words in the lexicon. For some reason, bloody everything gets described as ‘strategic’ when is is self-evidently a tactical item. You know that people have lost the plot then they use ‘strategic resource planning’ to describe a fucking holiday calendar.

  7. Well Nigel, that depends – are you a strategic resource or a tactical one?

  8. I’m both … sort of. I do strategy stuff for my clients, but that’s technically a vendor deliverable, so from our perspective it’s tactical. For the internal machinations of our company, I’m most definitely tactical. I have no real impact on the strategy of the company I work for.
    So, that holiday calendar, with every man and his dog on it, is certainly tactical as it is a tactic in a plan within the strategy to improve resources usage in pursuit of better margins.
    Nige.

  9. I am researching for a paper on strategic versus tatical management. I would be interested to see how each of you define strategic management and tactical management, and how you apply them. I am not sure the Christmas calendar is either strategic or tactical. I think it is just practical. Can’t businesses have functions that are neither strategic or tactical?

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