Leadership and the Large Project

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Large projects can be scary. When you are dealing with a project that may not end for years--or when there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different people involved in the project execution--it can be pretty intimidating. As the PM, you somehow have to bring this project in on time, budget and scope just as if it were a regular $100,000 initiative.

How do you do that? Fundamentally, it’s no different to any other project--it’s about making sure that each team member understands their role, that they have an environment where they can focus on their individual deliverables, they have the skills to complete the work successfully, etc. The challenge comes from making sure that you as the PM you have enough insight into the various project elements to ensure that each team member is put in that position--and that’s where good leaders can excel.

The team
Before we focus on the project manager, let’s spend a little bit of time looking at how team members might feel in a very large project. We talk a lot about building a team where everyone feels engaged in the initiative, where each person understands their role, how that fits into the overall project and as a result feels a sense of ownership over the work that will help them pull together to complete the work.

With large initiatives, this can be much harder to achieve. The size of the …

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