Effective project management facilitates the smooth running of horizontally oriented work in organizations that are traditionally vertically oriented. Projects require the co-operation of line managers both across the departments involved and throughout the various levels of seniority.
In large scale projects, an almost entirely self-contained project team can be created, either by assigning line staff to the project on a full-time basis or by hiring in external resources. Often a mixture of both is used but in either case, because the venture workforce is essentially complete-time, the conflicts between line and project management are minimized.
In these situations, the project team member has only one boss, the project manager. Even in these large self-contained projects, it is likely that there will be a requirement for some resources that are outside of their control. The very fact that the project is used to operating in isolation, may accentuate any communication problems that then arise.
However, it is more typical for projects to use staff and other resources that remain under the control of a departmental or line manager. This type of project environment raises both the opportunities and potential hazards of integrating line and project management. The challenge is to create an environment that fosters cooperation and not one that breeds counter-productive competition.
Business Leadership Skills – Keeping Sight of the Goal
Project-based working involves the efforts of a group of people dedicated to achieving a specific goal. A series of factors will contribute to the success of the project:
The appointment of project leaders at all levels who are committed to the project and respected by the team.
A shared belief in what the team is attempting to achieve and a regular focus at the goals.
A willingness to negotiate with those outside of the team for the benefit of the project.
The single most important factor in determining the success of the team is a constant referral to the question “What are we trying to achieve?” It is all too easy for project teams to lose sight of the overall aim of the project.
Business Leadership Skills – Effective Project Management
Projects often require resources which are not under the direct control of the project manager. The project manager will, therefore, need to negotiate with the relevant line manager to borrow and control these resources as and when they are required.
The cooperation of line managers is critical for the success of the undertaking and task management body of workers must paintings hard at growing an awesome operating relationship with them. The staff assigned to the project will often be reporting to two bosses – their line manager and the project manager; it is important that their position is clear at all times.
Effective project management is characterized by the following:
Clear leadership and direction
Seamless integration of new members into the team
Ability to communicate clearly
Arbitration skills when problem-solving
Ability to handle interpersonal conflicts
Capability to plan and secure commitments
Project management staff should have the proven ability to assimilate and prioritize individual demands to make effective decisions. Conflict is a common occurrence in a project environment and project management staff should be skilled in conflict resolution. They will be judged heavily on their personal experience and the credibility that they already possess within the organization.
Business Leadership Skills – Is it a Single Project?
Every project should be placed under the overall control of a single project manager. Large or complex projects may well be divided into a number of sub-projects and sub-project managers can then be used to control them.
The division of a project into sub-projects is the responsibility of the project owner, who should work closely with the overall project manager when determining this. Sub-projects are often defined in terms of discrete areas of work, which can be allocated to sub-project managers with relevant expertise. The use of sub-project managers enables a wide variety of management structures to be imposed on any given project.
This series of courses share a common theme of being based on project scenarios that justify division into sub-projects. However, projects are often smaller and more straightforward, making this sub-division unnecessary. Where this is the case, all responsibilities assigned to the sub-project manager should be undertaken by the project manager themselves, who may then decide to delegate some of these to task leaders.
It is important not to make the organization of your project more complicated than necessary. You should apply the organizational framework detailed in this course in as streamlined a way as your project allows.
Business Leadership Skills – The 3 Main Roles
There are three major project management roles: the project manager, sub-project manager and task leader. The appointment of any or all of these positions should be made entirely with reference to the needs of the project. In the smallest of projects both the roles and responsibilities of all three of these roles could be undertaken by a single project manager.
Even though all three roles could be combined within one individual the demands placed on this individual may still not justify a full-time position. At the other extreme, some projects can be enormous in scope, complexity and duration. The building of the Channel Tunnel, as one of the largest civil engineering projects in history, involved scores of project management staff, covering all three of the roles outlined.
The Channel Tunnel results were by no means atypical of such large scale and complex projects. Despite the bringing together of the best engineers, designers and project management experts available the project did suffer from significant delays and a significant overspend.
The inescapable conclusion is that to maximize the opportunities for success, projects and their corresponding management structures, should be run by staff who have gained experience in projects of a similar size and nature.