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Project Leadership

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This book traces the development of project leadership as fundamental to completing projects effectively, delineates the leadership tasks that must be accomplished at each step of a project's life, and helps the reader develop wisdom in making decisions both by learning the ramifications of certain decisions and by seeing how those decisions are made in an example project.

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CHAPTER 1 The Origins of Project Leadership

ePub

In this chapter we first discuss the basics of management and then review the two “children” of management that evolved in the latter part of the last century: leadership and project management. As we help the reader understand the basics of these three key disciplines, we will pave the way for discussion of a new approach that is evolving in the twenty-first century: project leadership. Figure 1-1 illustrates this evolution from management to project leadership.

The practice of management, defined for many centuries as planning, organizing, directing, and controlling, has existed since early times. Building the Great Wall of China, running the Roman Empire, and preparing armies for battle all required management skills; until the late nineteenth century, however, management was usually viewed as an art that was passed on from generation to generation by oral tradition. In the last hundred years, the science of management has developed. While management was once defined as “the ability work through others,” today most definitions are similar to the one offered by Courtland Bouee, in his book Management: “Management is the process of attaining organizational goals by effectively and efficiently planning, organizing, leading and controlling the organization’s human, physical, financial and informational resources.”1 This definition is presented graphically in Figure 1-2.

 

CHAPTER 2 Project Initiating

ePub

Project leaders have responsibilities related to setting and enforcing priorities, ensuring that project details are planned and executed, and ensuring integration both within and outside the project. They are also responsible for the formal human resources and personal human relations aspects of acquiring, overseeing, and rewarding project personnel. Project leaders also need to promote the project in order to secure and maintain the commitments of key project stakeholders at each stage in the project lifecycle. These responsibilities are summarized in Table 2-1, with the initiating stage highlighted.

Chapters 2–5 cover the four project lifecycle stages. Each will be divided into the seven major categories of project leader responsibilities. Each section will start by demonstrating project leaders’ challenges using the fictitious example of the company introduced in the case study, California Semiconductor Manufacturers (CSM). The project leadership considerations will be presented to help project leaders use the CSM project to assist them in resolving real-life issues on their own projects.

 

CHAPTER 3 Project Planning

ePub

Project planning is the second of the four stages in the project lifecycle model (as highlighted in Table 3-1). This is when detailed planning of the project is completed. During this stage of the project lifecycle, the scope, activities, resources, communications, and budget are planned. Large, complex, unfamiliar projects will require more in-depth planning than small, simple, and familiar projects. Depending on the size of the core team, different subteams may plan details and then the core team will integrate all the individual sections to create a complete project plan.

TABLE 3-1 Project Leader Responsibilities: Planning

Regardless of the size and complexities of the project, all projects share common project leadership tasks during project planning. These include:

•  Understand and respond to the customer

•  Oversee detailed plan development

•  Integrate the overall project plan

•  Select remainder of project participants

 

CHAPTER 4 Project Executing

ePub

Project executing is the third of the four stages in the project lifecycle, as highlighted in Table 4-1. This is the time when most of the actual hands-on project work is accomplished and most of the money is spent as plans are implemented. In many types of projects, this stage is divided into more detailed stages. For example, on many information systems projects the executing stage may include development, coding, test, and deployment. Construction projects may include procurement, construction, and start-up as parts of project execution.

TABLE 4-1 Project Leader Responsibilities: Executing

Regardless of the substages that may be included in a particular type of project, all projects share certain types of project leadership tasks during project execution. These include:

•  Authorize work

•  Monitor progress and control changes

•  Coordinate work across multiple projects

•  Supervise work performance

•  Lead teams

•  Maintain morale

 

CHAPTER 5 Project Closing

ePub

Closing is the final stage of the project leadership responsibilities model, as highlighted in Table 5-1. Closing is a fundamental element of the management of any project. By its very definition, a project is a temporary endeavor so there must be an ending. Despite the obvious importance of project closing, the specifics are often not performed well and sometimes not performed at all.

TABLE 5-1 Project Leader Responsibilities: Closing

As in the previous stages in the project lifecycle, seven project leadership tasks are involved in this stage:

•  Audit project

•  Terminate project

•  Capture and share lessons learned

•  Reassign workers

•  Reward and recognize participants

•  Celebrate project completion

•  Oversee administrative closure.

At CSM, the project office had an audit team that reviewed all projects. The audit team evaluated the financial schedule and the quality of the project results. The audit team found that the project was a week behind schedule. The audit report noted that for IT projects dealing with online transactions, stress testing is very important. The audit team suggested that the reasons for the success of this project were senior management support and the consistency of project priorities. It was also found that not all consultants hired were highly successful and that some of them had to be changed in the course of the project.

 

CHAPTER 6 Project Leadership Challenges

ePub

People have always planned, organized, implemented, and evaluated projects of many sizes and varieties. Until the industrial revolution, this was done in a very informal manner.

By the late nineteenth century, an ever-increasing amount of work was being mechanized and the study of mass production management was born. Many of the planning, organizing, leading, and controlling concepts and techniques that were developed at this time are still in use and also form a foundation for other developments.

Beginning at about the middle of the twentieth century two new trends in how to accomplish work started to coalesce. Many leaders recognized that the “science of management” was not enough, and many approaches to leadership were developed. While leaders from different walks of life continue to publish books on their secrets of success, students of leadership have been developing the discipline by looking for commonalities in the various schools of thought.

Project management is the second discipline that started to emerge in the middle of the twentieth century. People started to realize that planning, organizing, leading, and controlling one-time work efforts (projects) was not the same as for ongoing operations. The temporary nature and unique output of projects meant that they needed to be conducted in a different manner.

 

APPENDIX A Project Leadership Assessment: Organizational

ePub

This questionnaire contains statements about the characteristics of an organization and how it is supportive and creates a culture that encourages project leadership. Rate each item on a five-point scale indicating whether you agree or disagree with the statement. There are no right or wrong answers. Mark one answer only for each question.

1   Senior management creates an environment and culture that nurtures the growth and development of project leaders and their teams.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

2   Project leaders are encouraged to use vision to guide daily actions and decisions.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

3   Decisions affecting the project are made after long, careful consideration.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

APPENDIX B Project Leadership Assessment: Individual

ePub

This questionnaire contains statements about the individual characteristics of a project leader. Rate each item on a five-point scale indicating whether you agree or disagree with the statement. There are no right or wrong answers. Mark one answer only for each question:

1   I am able to develop and enthusiastically communicate a vision for the project to the team.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

2   Conflict within a project team can be a good thing.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

3   Risk should be avoided at all costs.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

4   All corporate policies and procedures should be followed.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

 

APPENDIX C Project Leadership Assessment: Team

ePub

This questionnaire contains statements about the team aspects of project leadership. Rate each item on a five-point scale indicating whether you agree or disagree with the statement. There are no right or wrong answers. Mark one answer only for each question.



1   The project team actively participates in project planning.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

2   Project team members are treated with dignity and respect.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

3   The project team members are recognized and rewarded for their contributions.

strongly disagree

disagree

neither disagree or agree

agree

strongly agree

 

4   Tasks are not broken down into work packages that are clearly communicated to the project team members.

strongly disagree

disagree

 

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