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What is strategic intent?


Strategic intent is the term used to describe the aspirational plans, overarching purpose or intended direction of travel needed to reach an organisational vision.

Beneficial change results from the strategic intent, ambitions and needs of an organisation.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

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Strategic intent

Delivering strategy is enabled through the use of projects, programmes and portfolios. Portfolios structure investments in line with strategic objectives, whilst balancing, aligning and scrutinising capacity and resources.

Programmes combine business­-as­-usual with projects and steady state activity dictated by strategic priorities. Projects are transient endeavours that bring about change and achieve planned objectives.

Together, they combine to deliver the beneficial change required to implement, enable and satisfy the strategic intent of the organisation. 

Strategic intent drives organisations to maintain competitive advantage or seek a new one (i.e. change). The strategic intent leads to the development of specific change initiatives within a portfolio structure. Specific initiatives, aligned to the strategic intent, are selected on the basis of available capabilities and resources that can be deployed. 

Hierarchy of Strategic Intent

Hierarchy of strategic intent class
APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

Watch: Translating strategy into projects

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Kotter’s Eight Steps

Dr John Kotter has been involved in change and leadership research for nearly 40 years. He identified and extracted the success factors and combined them into a methodology, the eight-step process:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barriers
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institutionalise change

(APM’s Introduction to Managing Change 2017)

Strategic management

Strategic management is the identification, selection and implementation of an organisation’s long-term goals and objectives.

Strategic direction

All projects and programmes are ultimately created to deliver change of one form or another. Key drivers of this change include strategic direction.

Introduction to Managing Change

APM’s Introduction to Managing Change is available to order from the bookshop. The book discusses the importance of managing change effectively in order to successfully deliver and realise the benefits of projects, programmes and portfolios.

Buy from bookshop
Introduction To Managing Change (1)

Related resources

Benefits realisation management and its influence on project success and on the execution of business strategies

This article looks at the success rates of projects using benefits realisation management (BRM) practices in organisations surveyed in Brazil, the UK and the USA. The aim of the paper is to test the relationship between BRM practices and perceptions of project success.

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APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams. 

Buy from the bookshop
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