One strength organizations may wish to gain is to allow leadership and management skills to co-exist within each project team. That is, rarely can a project be successful by leadership or management skills alone.
Leadership skills are different than managing skills and although one person might have both sets of these skills it is more likely that one of these skill sets is more dominant than the other. As a result, the project itself is ideally staffed by people who, collectively and collaboratively, possess these skills to the delight of the customer.
Leadership in action … Inspire and sustains confidence in an idea as being successful (i.e. innovate something different and new and that serves as a solution to a valued need).
Management in action … Identify, plan and then execute the tactical details need to transition an idea into a finished product or service that fulfills the intended requirements.
Ensuring that each project team has both leadership and management skills will help an organization to continue to bring benefit to its customers, suppliers, and itself. Key indicators include:
A growing portfolio of satisfied customers and a more diversified set of project delivery service capabilities.
An appropriately sized and qualified list of suppliers to draw upon when manufacturing and sustaining deliverables.
A work force that is growing in competency, flexibility and ability to rapidly integrate themselves into the customer’s preferred workplace.
It is important to have specific hiring practices and on-going risk assessments that ensure a competent and well trained work force.
Information is shared and communicated in a timely manner through regular team meetings.
All people (i.e. the customer, the suppliers and assigned staff) are encouraged to question if value is being correctly obtained or delivered.
Individuals are delegated tasks to ensure more of the required work is completed appropriately and on time.
Having fun, recognizing achievement, and receiving feedback is encouraged throughout the project’s duration. People want to feel appreciated and to have timely feedback.
Always pay regular attention to the customer’s requirements. For example, each team tries to focus on those 20% of the needs and actions that will generate 80% of the required results.
Don’t assume every customer, supplier and assigned staff member can be managed the same way. Don’t hesitate to leverage different types of communication styles and (project) reporting methods, techniques and forums when they are needed.
Utilize integrated project plans that define tasks and milestones to the level of detail appropriate but that do not stifle creativity or promote unnecessary paperwork.
Base decisions on the facts and the root cause. For example, it is okay to have key stakeholders vote on obstacles, schedule, and implementation, however the project team must first ensure that a known set of criteria is used as the premise of that vote.
The project plan should include time for training and improvement. An organization’s business management systems are meant to be organic. Although the various processes, procedures and tooling within the organization might be mature, they may be found in need or benefit of further betterment.
Ensure that a “customer is always right” mindset is properly enforced on each project. A customer can be “disruptive” occasionally, therefore the organization’s contract review and governance activities must ensure that project change requests are vetted and prioritized to be consistent with original goals and requirements.
To conclude, the success of a project is an activity requiring a collection of people with sound leadership and management skills. People on the project team assembled are both asked and expected to utilize these skills to satisfy both the customer and the organization’s business goals for growth and increased employee competency and process maturity.
About the Author
John Schiebel is the Manager of Quality Management Systems within Aversan. He enjoys sharing his multiple market segment and product experiences with his co-workers by inspiring passion and driving continuous improvement in an organization’s governance programs. John also loves his family, the outdoors, as well learning about green technologies. He is also committed to the growth of touch football in his role as President of the Mississauga Touch Football League and is a long-time fan of the Toronto Argonauts and Seattle Seahawks.
Disclaimer: Any views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Aversan Inc.