Project Management

Random Thoughts

by
Uniting the passion for writing and project management

About this Blog

RSS

Recent Posts

Passing PSPO I Test

Paradigm change in the horizon

Our iceberg is melting - revisited

The Adaptation of Project Management in a Changing World

Project Management with wings

Project Management with wings

I have recently read a non-fictional book entitled “The Invested Investor”, written by the successful UK-based investor Peter Cowley. I strongly recommend the book to anyone that wishes to learn the basics of angel investing. The author covers the life cycle of an investment, from the first round of investment (seeding) until the startup closes shop (most frequent case), is turned into an operational medium-sized business (sometimes) or is acquired by a big player (rarely).

 

 

 

 

Most of concepts explained throughout the book are related to the art of investing: funding, valuation, venture capital, options, shares, CLV/CCA ratio, etc. However, some other concepts are also applied in the project management arena. In fact, the author claimed that an invested investor must have good project management skills in order to succeed. I selected and described below the top three concepts that are shared in both disciplines.

Team

Everything starts with the Team. Without a team, there is no startup and there is no project. But not any team will do the job. The features that a project manager or an investor look in their teams are actually the same: passion, drive, knowledge, willingness to learn and listen, transparency, honesty and ability to inspire. In other words, whether is developing a new phone app in a startup that has not reached breakeven or carrying out multimillion dollar projects to transform a city landscape, goals will not be met unless there is a strong and committed team behind them.

Pivot

Pivot is when a company changes direction and its fundamental offering because the original business model is not working. Pivots are expensive and difficult because they usually carry along more investments and a modified vision. It is important to note than pivoting is not a sign of failure. In fact, most businesses pivot on their way to optimizing the model. Pivoting can also occur – and actually quite often – during a project’s life cycle. At the end of the day, project management enables the translation of a company’s vision into reality. A change in environmental factors or regulations, a shift in consumers’ habits, the release of a novel competing technology… all of these are factors that could pivot the project. Pivoting is carried out by modifying project’s triple constraint – more funding, extended/modified scope, additional resources and/or time – or by killing it straight up. The same concept could be extrapolated to program and portfolio levels, where pivoting the company strategy will inevitably pivot the value stream represented by its portfolio of projects.

Documentation

Writing cheques is not something that can be done lightly. Funds are transferred from the angel’s account to another account without the certainty that it will ever produce a return. Before the money is kissed goodbye, two documents are set in place; the term sheet which is a mostly non-binding document that sets out the deal to be completed between investors and founders. And the shareholders’ agreement, which is a legally binding document signed by the investors and founders defining how ownership of the company is distributed between the parties. This gated approach resembles the two gates typically found in the initiation and planning phases of a given project. In this manner, the term sheet is equivalent to the project charter – with the difference that the latter is binding – and the shareholders’ agreement is comparable to the project plan.

Posted on: May 27, 2020 05:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Nice Project Manager

Categories: Team management

A lot has been written about leadership, emotional intelligence, empathy and a long list of traits related to a successful project delivery. Most likely, you have seen the image below several times on your LinkedIn feed. The message is clear: a leader is someone that pulls together a team and walks alongside to reach project’s goals. A boss, however, “bosses” people around  while sitting in his ivory tower.

Project Managers have the challenging task of commanding a Team which members typically report to a Line or Department Manager – this is, within a matrix organization. What are the three traits that will allow finding the sweet balance between being a genuinely nice leader and yet get stuff done?

A. Be assertive

Being the face of the Project to the Team and to all other stakeholders, a PM needs to develop the right set of skills to show that is in control. For example, it is frequent that rumors arise at some point during project’s life cycle – e.g. “I’ve heard that the project will be cancelled!”. A PM must be able to send a clear and assertive message to stakeholders to terminate the rumor. The same principle can be applied to team meetings. The Team expects the PM to guide and drive the project forward. This message can be delivered efficiently only from the assertiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

B. Be in control

Domain in Monitoring and Controlling process group is essential for a successful project delivery. A PM must make sure that he remains an effective leader throughout project’s lifecycle. Checking on status of work is an art on its own. Some people sends off e-mails containing a dry “Hi Jan, what’s the status?”, others elaborate further and add a greeting line. Whichever option chosen, show that you are in control. Avoiding micromanagement is a must for any PM and for any sort of leader. Actually, micromanagers are frequently poor and insecure “leaders”.

C. Be Human

This come without a saying and yet important to emphasize. Do you recall the typical saying attributed to Richard Branson “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”? Replace the term “employees” by “team members” and “clients” by “Project”. Proficient leaders are aware that they are leading a group of humans and their circumstances, not soul-less machines.

Posted on: January 21, 2020 03:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)
ADVERTISEMENTS

"Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can at it."

- Danny Kaye

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors

Vendor Events

See all Vendor Events