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I am writing a book on project management (ElephantPM) and I have been looking for a succinct explanation of the difference between “policy” and “strategy”.

The project management function itself is operational (project managers have line managers and do the same thing everyday) and is governed by the organization’s Project Management Policy. However, projects themselves tend to be strategic in nature, or have strategic aspects.

The Management Study Guide has an excellent page on  business policy. In particular they suggest,

[…]Business policies are the guidelines developed by an organization to govern its actions. They define the limits within which decisions must be made. […]


Policy is a blueprint of the organizational activities which are repetitive/routine in nature. While strategy is concerned with those organizational decisions which have not been dealt/faced before in same form.

I find this useful because it shows that policy is most relevant to operational concerns and strategy to project management concerns.

The Management Study Guide is an excellent source of material on all business function.