Project Management

“Tone at the Top” – How Management Support Makes a Difference in Project Success

Diane Haubner

When we talk about what makes a project successful, where does ”Tone at the Top” fit in? In other words, how does management commitment and support truly enable and enhance a project’s success? In looking at the critical need for “Tone at the Top,” what challenges/risks do we see? Among all project management’s rules of the road, “Tone at the Top” may be the most important for project success. What is the difference between “Tone at the Top” and “In-Tune Tone at the Top?”

Where Did We Go Wrong? (A Bad Example)

Project XYZ, initiated to replace the existing financial and operational systems with a new software solution was approved by the management team earlier this year. The selected product was one that wasn’t necessarily the preferred product for all the voting team; however, it was chosen based on its capabilities to quickly and easily meet the majority needs of the finance department, which had always had significant issues with the old system. The production departments resented this decision in a couple ways but ultimately agreed to go along.

A project team, which consisted of technical and business subject matter experts from all areas of the organization, was assembled. A project sponsor was identified from the finance area and a steering committee of management representatives…

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"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

- Voltaire