Project Management

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The Project Management Institute's annual events attract some of the most renowned and esteemed experts in the industry. In this blog, Global Conference, EMEA Congress and experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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Viewing Posts by Annmarie Curley

How to Eliminate Your Team's Biggest Project Management Challenges

By Annmarie Curley

Are you holding your team back? 

I recently published a series of articles about what I called “duct tape leadership” - the just-in-time fixes and patched-together solutions that project teams end up using when their work is out of alignment with the organization’s priorities.

I suggested lots of things that team leaders can do to create more strategic alignment, lead more intentionally, and foster a team environment that’s more conducive to sustainable success.

But the reality is that many of the challenges faced by project leaders come from gaps in leadership. They have less to do with the size and complexity of their projects and more to do with how we are leading and engaging our team, sponsors and stakeholders.

So, as we reach the end of Q1 2021, now is a good time to consider if you are setting your team up for success -- or are you contributing to the challenges they face? 

Teams Struggle When Leaders Lack Focus and Clarity

I recently ran a survey asking managers and leaders about their biggest challenges. They shared issues like: 

  • Clarity on what’s needed
  • Competing priorities
  • Changing visions by senior management
  • Moving goalposts
  • Poor engagement / communication from sponsor
  • Scope creep
  • Unrealistic timelines
  • Inadequate budget
  • Accountability
  • Under-resourcing
  • Lack of relevant training for team members

What’s remarkable about this list is how many challenges arise from a lack of leadership clarity -- on strategy, on priorities, and on desired outcomes.

In fact, survey respondents recognized unclear leadership as a big issue.  More than 56% identified strategic planning and organizational change management as the top weaknesses of their organizations.

The good news is that getting clarity doesn’t necessarily require bigger budgets or more resources - just a commitment to choosing the most important focuses for the organization, be willing to say “no” to projects that aren’t a strategic priority and supporting your team as they do the right work at the right time.   

Doing so will enable your teams to work more efficiently, more effectively, and more successfully -- even when timelines are tight, or budgets are limited.

How to Support Your Team’s Growth and Success

In thinking about team enablement, we are often tempted to focus on the specific skills that we believe are in need of development.  We invest in leadership training, project management workshops, new methodologies, and new tools.  

All that is well and good. You should absolutely assess the opportunities on your team and provide training and enablement that’s geared to fill the existing gaps.

But it’s just as important to be conscious about creating an environment that also enables the team’s growth and success.

To do so, you’ll need to:

  1. Build and nurture the relationships that enable performance and agility
  2. Create the climate and the structure that serves as scaffolding to success
  3. Eliminate chaos and churn that distracts the team from its core work
  4. Improve team and stakeholder collaboration and engagement

Leadership has a big role to play in creating this environment. Being clear on - and supported in executing - the organizational strategy and top priorities is key to the success of every team member. 

When everyone knows the right work to do at the right times, your team can deliver the most valuable projects on time, on budget, and with better outcomes.  

As a leader, your job is to provide your team with the support, guidance, and environment they’ll need to prioritize deliberately and execute strategically.

Join the Discussion on 25 March at 10:45 a.m. ET

In my PMXPO presentation, “From Chaos to Confident: The 6 Pillars Project Leadership Framework,” I will share insights and techniques to help managers lead their teams more effectively to move from an environment that is reactive and chaotic to one that is more purposeful, setting the team up for success every step of the way. The 6 Pillars Framework outlines the power skills required to effectively lead teams and projects rather than simply manage them. You will walk away with clarity on what you need to do to boost your and your team’s performance in 2021.

Join me by registering today for PMXPO. This event is complimentary for PMI members; non-members can attend for US$29 and take advantage of the full suite of live and on-demand offerings.

Posted by Annmarie Curley on: March 12, 2021 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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