Leaders, managers and project portfolio

Have you ever been working in a project and asked yourself if doing this project was the best way to use the resources of your organization?

Have you ever been working in a project and asked yourself if that project had been correctly assessed before it was assigned to you as a PM?

Organizations, even the biggest ones, have limited resources and different kinds of opportunities. The leaders must decide which opportunities are the ones that their organizations must pursue. Managers job is to deploy those projects in the most efficient and effective way. And PMs are managers.

Organization leaders decide ‘that a road must be built’. Project managers do it the best way possible.

But even if the project that has been defined by the leaders is the best way to catch up an opportunity a proper assessment on organization capacities and capabilities is required before the kick off:

  • Do we have the required resources (profiles) for the project?
  • Will they be available when needed?
  • Is the organization ready to receive the deliverables of the project?
  • Are the stakeholders ready to support the project?
  • Is the organization ready to sustain the results of the project after the delivery?

It is frequent that organizations run into a project because of different reasons: business opportunities, pressures of internal lobbies, to follow the trends,… but it worths to loose some time before the beginning of a project to answer this kind of questions than noticing that the organization is not ready once you have wasted a lot of time and resources.

What is your experience regarding this topic? Do you feel reflected by this kind of situations?

Leaders, managers and project portfolio

Leading with our example

Some days ago I read an interesting post from Voices on Project Management. It made me think about the way our behavior can influence our team in a project, especially its young members, that can be prompted to imitate our conduct.

The way we deal with the project stakeholders or even the way we manage our relationship with managers and people from other functional areas, even if they are  unrelated with the project, are telling our team mates how we expect them to deal with these people too.

Desert leader
Image by Hamed Saber (CC BY 2.0)

For instance, if we do not control ourselves and criticize without compassion the manager from a functional area because we are having problems to obtain the resources she had committed to provide to our project we are also telling (consciously or not) our team that this behavior against some project stakeholders is accepted (or acceptable).

On a positive situation, a smart negotiation (win-win) with a project vendor can show our team that we expect them to keep a good relationship with the sellers involved in the project, we want our vendors to grow with us and we want the relationship with them to last further than the project.

Many different situations come to my mind when I think about the way that our actions or communications show our team mates what we consider an appropriate behavior:

  • the way we answer emails,
  • the way we manage meetings, especially difficult meetings,
  • the way we manage arguments between members of the team,
  • the way we react when a job mate comes to see us with a problem,
  • the way we follow the ground rules established for the project,
  • the way we act when somebody comes late to a meeting,
  • the way we accomplish our commitments,
  • the way we react when others make mistakes,
  • the actions we take when the team misses a milestone,
  • our conduct when we, or someone else from the team, receive a present from a vendor,

There are many situations during the life of a project that allow us to point out, implicitly or explicitly, the way to be followed by the team.

What other situations do you think that can help us indirectly coach a project team?

Leading with our example