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Once you have a strategic plan defined, the team can shift focus from “definition” to “doing”. The real success happens here – when leaders decide which projects will catapult the team to the next level and which routines foster operational health. 

Unfortunately, many leaders do not discuss resource allocation and investment towards routines and projects nor track how they contribute to the high-level strategy.

How can you avoid this common pitfall? Here is a good starting point:

Understand the Difference between Projects & Routines

Business projects are temporary endeavors aimed at achieving a specific goal or objective. These projects have a definite start and end date and are designed to produce a unique result or outcome. Examples of business projects include developing a new product or service, implementing a new system or process, or launching a marketing campaign.

On the other hand, business routines refer to the daily activities and tasks that keep the organization running. These routines are ongoing, repetitive, and standardized, and they are designed to maintain the status quo. Examples of business routines include answering emails, updating spreadsheets, attending meetings, and fulfilling customer orders.

One of the most significant differences between business projects and business routines is their duration. Business projects have a clear end date, whereas business routines are ongoing and continuous. Projects require a specific amount of resources, such as time, money, and personnel, while routines require a consistent amount of resources to be sustained.

Another difference between business projects and routines is their level of complexity. Business projects are usually more complex and involve more significant risks than business routines. Projects often require a higher level of expertise and specialized skills, while routines are more straightforward and can be performed by most employees.

Lastly, business projects tend to have a more significant impact on the organization’s overall success than business routines. Successful projects can drive growth, increase revenue, and improve market position, while routines are necessary for maintaining day-to-day operations.

Tie Routines & Projects back to Strategic Goals

This is a simple mapping exercise. Take each project and routine and determine if it either (1) contributes to a strategic goal or (2) is a necessary business admin operation.

Then estimate the annual hours required for each item. Note that only 10% – 15% of all projects and routines should be tied to non-strategic administrative duties. The rest should be tied to growth, production, and efficiency initiatives.

So what if there is a goal not tied to either required operations or a strategic goal? Toss it in the backlog – it is not important right now.


Both business projects and routines are crucial to the success of any organization, but they differ in their duration, complexity, and impact. Business leaders must understand these differences to allocate resources effectively and manage their teams’ priorities.

Identifying these items is not enough – the second step is mapping them directly to your strategic initiatives. Be honest about whether these items (even if exciting) are true drivers of your business.

Next Steps

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