Effective leadership is important for projects – no one disputes that and a quick online search will throw up plenty of survey results that position leadership as one of the key factors for project success.
However, leadership is hard work. It’s also very stressful. I hear a lot about ‘being a leader’ but I don’t think the discussion is wide enough. We also need to talk about how to cope with being a project leader because it’s difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience at the top.
If you could change a few things on your project to vastly increase your chance of success, wouldn’t you do it?
Of course you would.
The problem is working out which factors to change to have the most impact.
Technology creates change everywhere it is implemented. Most of the time those changes are good, but sometimes they aren't so good. With the growth of technology people become more connected to things, rather than people and they get busier and find far more distractions.
I think that one of the benefits of knowledge work – including managing projects – is that I can be the worker for some tasks and the manager for others, sometimes at the same time. Managers decide what work will be done and sometimes even how it will be done. Workers do the work. Project managers need to do both: managing their work and the work of others and doing work too. When you wear two hats about anything you have to be careful how you split your time so that you don’t end up doing one more than the other when that isn’t the right balance. In project management, we have to balance defining the work to be done with actually doing the work and it’s a balance that can be tricky to get right.
Project managers manage projects for a living. Even if you only manage the odd project here and there as part of your day job, the chances are that you have more experience doing that than your sponsor does in sponsoring projects.
There are three simple reasons for that.
Agile principles put you ahead of the competition.
It keeps you focused, and result-oriented. The difference between a traditional project manager and an agile project manager is because of the agile principles employed. If you want to cut through the clutter and get the job done, you’ve to employ agile tactics.
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