Elements Of Project Leadership

Andrew Filev , Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Category: Collaboration
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This is a guest post by Bas de Baar, the author of ProjectShrink.com. This article originally appeared on his blog. The ideas of this post are aligned with my personal philosophy in many ways, so I felt that you would benefit from reading it here, on the Project Management 2.0 blog.

As a Project leader you are dumped in an organization you have never seen before. You get people assigned you don’t know. The organization prescribes methods and tools you don’t like. And of course, there are a gazillion of unwritten rules.

Welcome to your project life.

You run on partial Information, partial Influence and partial capability.

But how do you actually run a project under these circumstances?



Answer: Project Leadership.

The elements of (my version of) Project Leadership are:
  • Goals and Means on individual, project and organizational level
  • Alignment of goals and means on all levels by communication

Goals

A project has a goal, an objective. This is part of the larger context of the goals of the organization.

Individuals have goals, ambitions, interests. If peoples goals are met, they work happy; if not, they don’t.

Job for the Project leader is to align the goals on all levels. Keep on tweaking and adjusting. Make sure everyone understands. Make sure they are all in balance.

Means

Means are the strategies to reach the goal. This is the set of rituals, artifacts and values shared among the group, the organization and individual. The culture.

The culture can be used to create a strong group; it can be in conflict with the dominant structure.

Job for the Project leader is to align the means on all levels for maximal effectiveness. Balancing deviance with compliance. Making sure there are rules of engagement the entire team uses.

Communication

You think that if you are dropped into foreign territory like this, you would get a lot of equipment.

Sorry.

You get your Swiss Army knife: communication.

But in the end, that was all MacGyver needed.

About the Author

Bas de Baar discusses Project Management in a global, mobile, virtual and multi-cultural world through his popular blog and video podcast “The Project Shrink”. With over a decade spent in the trenches as Software Project Manager within the publishing, financial and public sector, running multi-national teams, he has a lot to talk about.

Bas holds a masters degree in Business Informatics and lives with his wife in The Netherlands. He is author of the book “Surprise! Now You’re a Software Project Manager” and is a member of PMI’s New Media Council.

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Andrew Filev

Andrew Filev is an experienced project manager and a successful entrepreneur. He has been managing software teams since 2001 with the help of new-generation collaboration and management applications. The Project Management 2.0 blog reflects his views on changes going on in contemporary project management, thanks to the influence of collaborative web-based technologies. More >>

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