Monday, June 29, 2009

Sacred PM Practices – Ownership

Ownership is a psychological bond between a project team member and the outcome of a project.

The majority of respondents in the study volunteered their belief that a sense of ownership was critical to the success of their projects. Many discussed several perspectives on ownership. Respondents shared examples of project managers, project team members, the clients (both internal and external), and users exhibiting ownership of project outcomes. There was the consultant who volunteered to cancel his contract if a software release was not successfully executed at a critical time. I also remember the CEO who found a project team in the office hours after a blizzard ended. No one from the rest of his company could make it into the office because of the snow-drifted streets.

The respondents did not know how to measure the level of ownership, but believed that they could state whether project team members exhibited ownership.

When have you seen a project team show ownership of its success? Have you witnessed an especially engaged project team? If so, what made the team engaged?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sacred PM Practices – Project Leadership

Project Leadership is the ability to use interpersonal relationships to stimulate and guide people toward the accomplishment of a project.

Many of the respondents made a strong distinction between project management and project leadership. While there are various definitions offered, a leader seems to be the one who achieves goals by influencing others, has a respect for expectations and perceptions, and directs others with a shared vision. A project manager, on the other hand, simply manages a project schedule, checks on progress, and tries to contain scope. Other comments from respondents included the following sentiments:
  • While a leader may not like office politics, he knows politics is part of the work environment. He does his best to use politics to his project’s advantage.
  • A leader makes an effort to understand all the personal agendas and expectations of the key stakeholders. He tries to understand why each does, or does not, want the project to succeed.
  • A leader is successful in establishing and managing relationships

Have you also had difficulty describing how leadership contrasts with management? Pawel Brodzinski tackled this question here. Do you simply know leadership when you see it?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sacred PM Practices – Qualitative Factors Uncovered

My prepared questions were asked. Hundreds of pieces of information were organized. Trends were identified.

When I asked the successful project managers what I was missing, most project managers shared a few ideas that had helped their projects to succeed. The following characteristics were discovered to be present, to a large extent, on most of the sample projects:
  • Project leadership, as opposed to project management
  • Ownership of the project outcome
  • Trust among project members, stakeholders, and senior management

I was dumbstruck. In all of my project management courses and seminars, studying of PM textbooks, and discussions with senior management, I had never come across the importance of leadership, instilling a sense of ownership, and cultivating an environment of trust. After all, most of our status reports address schedule, budget, and risks.

When was the last time your boss asked you about your project team members’ sense of ownership? When has your status report commented on your client/customer’s trust in the project team?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sacred PM Practices -- Findings Revealed

I thought the best way to share the findings and trends of the research project would be in podcast form. Please click the podcast listed on the right panel of this page to listen. The podcast, along with the graph below, provide a concise summary of what was found.

Thank you for visiting Management House. I look forward to reading your comments.