by Dave Wakeman
Care to do a little thought experiment with me? Let’s imagine what the new and improved next-gen project leader should look like. And let’s come up with a few key attributes that would make this new and improved project leader successful.
Here are a few of my ideas about how to achieve success in the future of project management:
1. Emphasize strategic ownership of your projects and your role in the organization.
I know that I’ve been hitting a constant drumbeat over the last few months about the need for project managers to become more strategic in their thinking and their actions. For good reason: As our businesses and organizations become more project-focused, the need to think and act strategically becomes a key factor in our success or failure.
One way you can jump on this before everyone else does is by always taking the initiative to frame your projects in a strategic manner when dealing with your sponsors and key stakeholders. Work with sponsors on ways that you can manipulate and focus your projects strategically.
2. Less domain knowledge and more business acumen.
The project management role in an organization has changed. Even in industries that have long embraced project management principles and the job title (e.g., IT), technical knowledge aspects have become less important because of specialization.
What has replaced the emphasis on specialization in the project manager’s role? An emphasis on strategic thinking and business acumen. This is likely to accelerate to become the new normal.
You can take advantage of this trend by working to think about your projects as tools to increase the value of your company and its products and services to your customers and prospects.
3. Communicate or die.
This last point shouldn’t be a surprise. Being a good communicator has been the differentiator between successful and unsuccessful project managers as long as project management has been a thing.
But as our world becomes more interconnected through technology, with teams dispersed across continents instead of floors, the ability to effectively communicate is going to be more and more important. And the ability to be that communicator is going to have a bigger and more meaningful impact on your career and your success in your organization.
What qualities do you think next-gen project leaders require? Please post your comments below!
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By Conrado Morlan
The number of credentials offered by professional associations, hardware and software vendors and other organizations has grown sharply in the last decade. So have the number of credential holders.
There’s much to be said for certifications. Many companies require a certification to advance along their career path. In addition, salary surveys show that, overall, credential holders earn more.
On the other hand, some professionals and employers are not fans of certifications. They argue that many people have forged a career and reputation without them, that accelerated changes in science, technology and government regulations makes certifications hard to maintain, and that the cost and time of pursuing credentials are too high.
I see the value of certifications from two perspectives: the value given by the credential itself, and the value of my contributions to the credential.
The value given by the certification is the importance of the knowledge gained through earning it, the reputation of the institution or professional association that awards it, and the certification’s years on the market.
The value of my contributions to the credential has to do with how it engages me to actively research trends within my profession. This process can help experienced practitioners turn into thought leaders who share their experiences leading and managing projects across the globe. In other words, the value of a certification can cascade beyond the credential holder. Knowledge is shared with other practitioners, helping them to advance in the profession.
Yes, it’s true that some credential holders fall behind and don’t keep up with the latest knowledge and/or renew their credential. Other credential holders don’t follow the established code of ethics, which harms the reputation and value of the credential. But such misbehavior or lack of up-to-date knowledge isn’t the fault of the credential or the credential-awarding organization.
PMI, for example, has a strict renewal process for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification that requires certification holders to earn a specific number of credits per cycle to keep the credential current. And over the 30+ years since the PMP was created, those requirements have been updated to cover market and industry demands.
You may be wondering why I didn’t mention the cost of certifications, and whether they’re worth paying. To me, it’s a no-brainer. I take my professional development personally and always recall former Harvard University President Derek Bok’s quote, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
If you’re a certification holder, how do you measure its value?
Project Leaders as Ethical Role Models
Human Aspects of PM,
New to Project Management,
Nontraditional Project Management,
PM Think About It,
Reflections on the PM Life,
Categories: Best Practices, Career Help, Communication, Communication, Complexity, Ethics, Facilitation, Generational PM, Human Aspects of PM, Leadership, Leadership, New to Project Management, Nontraditional Project Management, PM Think About It, PMI, PMOs, Portfolio Management, Program Management, Project Delivery, Project Failure, Project Planning, Project Requirements, Reflections on the PM Life, Roundtable, Social Responsibility, Stakeholder, Strategy, Talent Management, Teams, Tools
By Peter Tarhanidis
This month’s theme at projectmanagement.com is ethics. Project leaders are in a great position to be role models of ethical behavior. They can apply a system of values to drive the whole team’s ethical behavior.
First: What is ethics, exactly? It’s a branch of knowledge exploring the tension between the values one holds and how one acts in terms of right or wrong. This tension creates a complex system of moral principles that a particular group follows, which defines its culture. The complexity stems from how much value each person places on his or her principles, which can lead to conflict with other individuals.
Professional ethics can come from three sources:
In project management, project leaders have a great opportunity to be seen as setting ethical leadership in an organization. Those project leaders who can align an organization’s values and integrate PMI’s ethics into each project will increase the team’s ethical behavior.
PMI defines ethics as the moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior. The values include honesty, responsibility, respect and fairness.
For example, a project leader who uses the PMI® Code of Ethics to increase a team’s ethical behavior might:
Please share any other ideas for elevating the ethical standards of project leaders and teams, and/or your own experiences!
By Peter Tarhanidis
New and proliferating digital technologies are giving rise to new competitive businesses while transforming legacy organizations. It’s no longer just about the Internet, but increasingly tech-savvy users and inexpensive smartphones and tablets.
From an organizational perspective, it’s not just a matter of grappling with new technical platforms: The relationship between organizations and their customers is being transformed.
Before, the cornerstone of customer service was the golden rule: treat your customers the way you want to be treated. Customer relationships were facilitated and managed within just a few departments.
Disruptive technologies have enabled a shift to a new paradigm: customer empowerment. This ushered in the new platinum rule: treat your customers the way they want to be treated. Disruptive technologies integrate organizations to their digital customer experience and are simultaneously influenced by social, consumer and professional media portals like Facebook, Yelp, NetPromoter Scores, and LinkedIn.
Now, much of the work and measurement of this activity is shared across the entire supply chain of the customer journey, which requires more cross-team collaboration to report on the customer experience.
So the importation question has become: How can we make the digital customer experience flawless? This is the new competitive differentiator for companies. Those that stand apart in this respect build market leverage.
Project managers are one asset organizations have at their disposal to ensure success with this new digital customer experience dynamic. Here’s a four-stop roadmap for optimizing your organization for the brave new digital world we all live in.
How is your organization adapting to the new realities of our digital customer age? Please take a moment and share your thoughts.
Witnessing so many unsuccessful projects these days, I keep asking myself why execution continues to fall through the cracks while organizations apparently grow in project management maturity.
If organizations are more mature in project planning, why aren’t we reaping better results? It’s easy to see we have an execution gap.
I think this is because some project managers are so immersed in the minutia of best practices that they don’t understand the big picture.
They don’t understand that project management processes, tools and techniques are only a means to an end. The final goal of every project is to jointly create value by engaging stakeholders to build a unique result under constraints (scope, time, cost and more). In other words, a successful project delivers benefits and satisfies stakeholders.
Execution demands proactivity. Project managers should embrace change, keeping their eyes wide open to take their project plans out of the paper. Making things happen is easier when you have a good plan, but it still demands a lot of energy and motivation.
Practitioners sometimes put their well-crafted, detailed plans on a pedestal as trophies of great project management. In fact, planning is only half, or less, of the way to the finish line.
To paraphrase the boxer Mike Tyson, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” The real world is volatile and complex; missing and incomplete information is the norm. Will your plan survive the challenge? It depends on how well you execute. As many in the military learn, strategic, tactical and operational plans need to be executed with maximum agility. Adjustments, adaptations and unexpected decisions must be made along the road to project completion.
To execute well, you need clear goals, resilience, flexibility and a high degree of “alertness.” The OODA loop, created by John Boyd, revolutionizes goal-centered execution by adding flexibility and velocity in the decision-making process. Here are the four steps.
Figure 1- OODA loop (Source: Defense and the National Interest)
Next time you start execution on your project, put the OODA loop to work for you. It will guide you through the project plan as a series of linked decisions to help you make sense of the environment, update the plan and observe results.
If you have any comments—or perhaps a negative or positive story about execution—please share below. Thanks!