| If anyone could get a room full of project and program managers mimicking a jockey on a horse, it's Jim Lawless. |
The closing speaker at the PMI® Global Congress 2012 -- EMEA in Marseille, France, Mr. Lawless holds the United Kingdom's underwater deep-dive record and once became a licensed jockey to win a Â£1 bet. So when he outlined his 10 rules for taming the tiger within -- the voice inside that makes people afraid to take action -- the audience listened.
Mr. Lawless reminded the group that each person writes his or her own life story. "In the end, you're not going to ask 'Did I have a good story,' but 'Did I write it? Or did the tiger dictate it for me?'" he said.
A project or program manager might have a game-changing idea, for example, but is too afraid to take it to the CEO. The result is regret -- because the person let the tiger write the story.
Mr. Lawless' 10 rules for taming the tiger are:
| The European Commission is looking for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through technology. And it's using project management to get there.|
"Project management is at the heart of our activities," said Francisco GarcÃa MorÃ¡n, directorate-general for informatics at the European Commission, the keynote speaker at PMI® Global Congress 2012 -- EMEA in Marseille, France.
The commission's goal is to create a new generation of open, flexible and seamless e-government services, he explained. For example, e-health projects could help address Europe's aging population.
The vision calls for innovative digital services, simplified processes and better alignment between business and IT.
Yet the commission has faced many challenges, including insufficient infrastructure, higher workload and staff cuts -- even as it faces greater pressure to deliver value.
Mr. GarcÃa MorÃ¡n also said there's a new generation of workers demanding better technology. "We have to provide the Facebook generation with the tools they're most familiar with."
To help achieve its vision, the European Commission implemented an information services project management board. It also created its own approach based on good practices from around the world, including A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).
"We believe we have raised the project management capabilities in the European Commission," he said.
The greater focus on project management has helped the group achieve a more holistic point of view and strike a better balance between business and project management.
There has been some resistance, however, which has to be managed through communicating the value of project management to the staff. "Change management is essential," he said. "It's an area where we are working harder."
In a later session, Stefan Tostmann, PhD, spoke about some of the other project management work at the commission.
With 27 sovereign states, 500 million stakeholders and 23 languages, it can be difficult to identify common project interests, said Dr. Tostmann, CAPM, resource director (acting) and head of financial services, European Commission.
The type of projects addressed can cover everything from aid delivery to IT. And one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that proposed projects can actually be implemented in the member states.
Despite progress, there remains a lingering misconception that project management is exclusive to the IT realm, where project management first took hold at the group.
"There's not a project management culture in the European Commission yet," he said.
Echoing Mr. GarcÃa MorÃ¡n's comments, Dr. Tostmann said the commission is facing increasing pressure to prove its own value. "Stakeholders want to know what they're getting out of it."
That means the commission must become more efficient, he says, and like Mr. GarcÃa MorÃ¡n, he says project management can help in that process.
Read more about change management.
| There's no single definition of leadership. Whether they opt to emulate Sun Tzu or Steve Jobs, project professionals should assess their teams and organizations to carve out their own leadership strategies, plenary speaker Andy Craggs told project professionals at the PMI® Global Congress 2012 -- EMEA in Marseille, France.|
Mr. Craggs, a global business consultant at The Learning Partnership, dubbed today's business world as VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
As a result, the top-down, individual-driven leadership style prevalent 10 years ago is no longer as effective. Instead, leadership must happen at four levels: society, organization, group and individual.
That means leaders must cross boundaries to encourage interdependence, collaboration and innovation among three types of people:
Drawing on his time working with Disney and Apple, Mr. Craggs demonstrated how different leadership styles can be effective in the proper context.
At Disney, the bulk of activity takes place in the operations sector, with the focus on protecting intellectual property and the brand. In the modern VUCA world, though, Disney's top-down leadership doesn't always work. Although the company did enjoy a record box office debut for its movie The Avengers, it has struggled to compete in the application and video game development fields.
Apple takes the opposite approach. The organization's leadership, being more agile and connected across the organization, is more responsive to market changes -- which has allowed it to thrive.
Mr. Cragg concluded his presentation by identifying three types of organizational leadership cultures: