With the amount of change and restructuring happening currently; it seems to us that a large number of projects are being set up – to fail. Driven by the need to cut costs, work more efficiently or cope with increasingly more demanding workloads – well-intentioned projects are often not delivering the goods. From our recent work we have seen a number of reasons why this is happening: poor leadership, lack of commitment, technical problems, insufficient resources, to name but a few – so how can we make sure Project Management really delivers results?
In reality Project Management is as much an art as it is a science. There are some excellent key principles that must be applied to ensure the fundamental elements all work effectively. And then there’s the deep, genuine understanding of the Project Manager around the nature of change and the ability to lead others through the essentially messy process of getting from A to B that only comes with insight born of meaningful experience.
The Project Manager plays such a crucial role in the efficacy of projects it should go without saying that they have the prerequisite competences – the skills, knowledge and mind-set – that produce successful project outcomes.
What makes a great Project Manager?
- Project Mangers must ensure there is real clarity around the key objectives of the Project in order to build commitment and engagement
- They must be energetic and able to demonstrate enthusiasm to motivate stakeholders at all levels – consistently throughout the project
- Project Managers need to resourceful and creative in generating solutions to problems and getting others to contribute as well
- Diplomacy is vital as they are often dealing with stakeholders from diverse functions at different levels from operations right through to the C-suite, sometimes involving external stakeholders too
- They have to be able to communicate as effectively upwards and side-ways as they do to their direct reports and colleagues, both technical and non-technical
- Project Managers must be organised themselves and able to devise and follow plans whilst remaining flexible to respond to the inevitable curve-balls
- Determination and the drive to keep up momentum when hurdles get in the way, without bull-dozing through everything regardless
- And most importantly the desire (and ability) to learn – both from their mistakes as well as from their successes – and share this learning with others