Situational Awareness for Project/Program/Portfolio Managers

Situational Awareness for Project/Program/Portfolio Managers

The business world is unstable and ever-changing. Changes in competition and client preferences affect every organization. So, business leaders cannot rely only on competitive advantages to continue their businesses; thus, leaders must be aware of evolving business conditions.

Typical questions of employees and others in evolving business conditions

Typical questions of employees and others in evolving business conditions

The following are typical questions that employees and others in similar situations may have:

  • Was the company’s leadership aware of market developments?
  • Was the leadership self-centred?
  • As a market leader in the industry, did leadership think the company was not vulnerable?

Project/Program/Portfolio managers may help firm leadership by developing situational awareness and emotional intelligence to deliver essential leadership.

  1. The portfolio manager must understand the enterprise’s situational awareness.
  2. The program manager analyses the program for strategic goals and enterprise understanding and how the projects may be appropriately implemented as a program.
  3. The project manager must identify which strategic aim the project will assist in implementing or will accomplish.
In the dynamic environment managers want to know

In the dynamic environment managers want to know

Understanding the professional environment helps project leaders comprehend the politics of their projects. In today’s high-pressure, dynamic environment, managers want to know the following:

  • What impacts the bottom line of the business?
  • What are the profits?
  • Can we fulfill our quarterly targets?

The project management professional must have the emotional intelligence to understand the company’s situation. Those unable to comprehend emotions, influence a project, program, or portfolio, and have a high emotional intelligence quotient are more likely to be attentive to how essential stakeholders perceive their competence.

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is defined as “the perception of the elements in the environment in a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status shortly.”

In many project management scenarios, situational awareness is essential for success. It is the capacity to observe what is happening around you and understand how it will affect your endeavor. Situational awareness is based on a simple observation. The tools, techniques, behaviors, and approaches that work well in one scenario may not work well in another. Simple best practices may sometimes be appropriate for the context and result in a positive conclusion; other times, they may result in disaster.

Emotional intelligence and situational awareness are skills that could be taught. However, situational awareness is a dynamic, ever-changing process, not a linear one. Depending on how the scenario progresses and one’s capacity to integrate existing information in the ongoing observation, interpretation, projection, and prediction process, one may have excellent situational awareness one moment and severely poor situational awareness the next. As a result, constant practice and training are required for portfolio, program, and project leadership skills in both emotional intelligence and situational awareness.

Situational Leadership

The Situational Leadership approach established by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard is a useful technique for project leaders to employ when choosing a leadership interaction style.

The core premise of situational leadership theory is that there is no single “best” leadership technique. Instead, effective leadership is task-relevant, and the most successful leaders adapt their leadership style to maturity (“the capacity to set high but attainable goals, willingness and ability to take responsibility for the task, and relevant education and experience of an individual or a group for the task”) of the individual or crowd they are trying to lead or influence. Effective leadership changes not just with the individual or group being influenced but also with the task, job, or function that needs to be completed.

The Situational Leadership approach can assist you in developing relationships with your team members since you will tailor your leadership style to their degree of development. Each team member necessitates a specific amount of hands-on, communication-based leadership. It is up to you to evaluate your team members’ skills, confidence, and motivation and to decide which leadership style to employ.

Every team member has different abilities, degrees of confidence, and motivation levels at work. Some team members may like your leadership, while others will feel underserved if you employ the same leadership approach for everyone. The Situational Leadership method is adaptable, allowing you to tailor your leadership style to match the demands of everyone.

The key to Situational Leadership is determining the followers’ readiness level. Readiness is classified into four categories based on the followers’ motivation and ability to complete the assigned project activity.

Categories of readiness level

Categories of readiness level

Readiness 1: Low Motivation, Low Ability – This person is incompetent at the provided task and does not wish to complete the work or engage in the project.

Readiness 2: High Motivation, Low Ability – This person is eager to work on the project yet is incompetent at the tasks.

Readiness 3: Low Motivation, High Ability – This person is capable of performing project activities but does not choose to do so for personal or commercial reasons.

Readiness 4: High Motivation, High Ability – This person is capable and motivated.

Situational Theory of Leadership

Situational leadership theory assumes that the most successful leadership style varies depending on the context. Therefore, a leader must be able to change his style and approach to the evolving conditions to be most effective and successful.

Some employees, for example, perform better under a more dictatorial and directive CEO. Others will be more likely to succeed if the leader can step back and allow his team to make choices and carry out plans without his direct participation. Similarly, not all sectors and corporate contexts need the same abilities and leadership attributes.

Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory

The term “situational leadership” is most generally associated with the Situational Leadership Theory developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. This leadership strategy indicates that two main factors must be adequately matched: the leader’s leadership style and the followers’ maturity or preparation levels.

Four leadership styles

Four leadership styles

The theory recognizes four primary leadership styles:

  1. Telling (S1): Leaders must provide close supervision and precise directions to team members on what to do and how to accomplish it. When working with team members who are unwilling or unmotivated and need more knowledge and abilities, Style 1 is excellent.
  2. Selling (S2): The leader explains their decisions and allows team members to raise questions. Style 2 is best suited to followers who are driven to finish the work despite a lack of necessary information or skills.
  3. Participating (S3): Team members are encouraged to provide ideas and participate in decision-making. Style 3 suits followers with the necessary knowledge and skills to finish a task but who need more drive or motivation.
  4. Delegating (S4): The leader delegated greater responsibility to team members, allowing them to take ownership of the work. When dealing with high-commitment team members who are highly skilled and driven, Style 4 is acceptable since they have the knowledge, abilities, and desire to finish the assignment without much input from the leader.

While knowing the different situational leadership styles is important, their implementation may determine how effective a leader seems to their team. Examine its impact on team loyalty and the qualities of effective situational leaders.

The qualities of situational leaders

The qualities of situational leaders

The qualities of situational leaders

  1. Flexibility: Situational leaders are adaptable enough to change their approach depending on the level of growth of each team member.
  2. Trustworthiness: Good situational leaders are capable of acquiring the trust of others.
  3. Ability to delegate:You must be able to delegate successfully to team members with high levels of competence and commitment to employ the situational leadership approach.
  4. Coaching skills: When working with team members who lack confidence or ability, one must deliver clear directions for task accomplishment.
  5. Courage: It takes courage to change your leadership style when everyone else is comfortable with the same stale approach.

Situational Leadership: Team Development

Situational leadership is a wonderful way of establishing your team. But first, figure out how you’ll address the learning needs of your project team members, who make up your core team.

Leadership team development provides your core project team with the abilities necessary to complete the duties assigned to them. As a situational leader, you can examine what is needed at any given time. One of the most critical areas to concentrate on is assisting the team in overcoming complacency.

Final Thoughts

Successfully using the situational leadership theory is an excellent method for becoming a competent leader. The idea divides leadership into several parts, explains each, and makes it simpler to increase one’s leadership skills successfully. It also demonstrates that leadership skills may be developed with appropriate training.

Situational leadership is a concept that may help any company, especially those that are already successful, enhance its performance and development. However, when done right, incorporating situational leadership into daily operations cannot affect a company. Instead, it can only help the company’s employees and, thus, its growth.

Finally, a leader must first come to know the employees to lead and inspire them successfully. Understanding leadership and motivation is the theoretical cornerstone of being a successful leader, but knowing one’s followers is equally important. To properly apply leadership and motivating concepts, leaders must understand their members’ personalities, cultural backgrounds, and developmental levels. Frequent personal interaction with their employees is the best way for a leader to get to know them, which is quickly done when the leader becomes a team member.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Justin Buckwalter in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

 

The Exciting Future of Project Management

The Exciting Future of Project Management

Project management “is the application of tools, knowledge, processes, and competencies to ensure the successful completion of a project.” Projects are time-bound endeavors that seek to generate value through products, services, or outcomes that meet the project’s objectives and success parameters.

Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people.”

Project management is leading a team’s work to achieve all project goals within the constraints set. The primary rules are scope, time, and budget. The secondary task is to optimize the allocation of required inputs and apply them to achieve predefined goals.

Project managers are essential to a project’s success and are in high demand. They employ various skills and knowledge to engage and motivate others to achieve the project’s objectives. By 2027, employers will need 87.7 million individuals in project management-oriented roles as per the “Job Growth & Talent Gap 2017-2027” report.

The Future of Project Management By Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., and J. LeRoy Ward International Institute for Learning (IIL)” article discusses four new principles to determine what types of project management training we believe are available to project managers in most of today’s successful business models.

Four Principles of Project Management Training

Four Principles of Project Management Training

  • First and most importantly, project management is now viewed as a business process in which project managers are expected to make business and project-related decisions.
  • Second, project management is no longer viewed as a collection of operational or tactical activities to produce a deliverable or outcome.
  • Third, project management is now a delivery system for achieving the desired business benefits and value.
  • Fourth, project management is no longer just another career option within a company.

As more and more digitization is growing, project management has never been as exciting as it is now. The overall trend is an increase in the need for project managers. Project management is no more a job that deals with Gantt charts and ticking off a checklist.

Project management has always been a great profession to be in. It allows one to work with people, deal with risks and conflicts, and the ability to manage the outcomes for the business. It always gives you a feeling of importance and provides the opportunity to take leadership to drive the business goals. It greatly enhances your soft skills and helps you work with people to improve their capabilities along the project.

Apart from this, a project management profession helps you develop yourself and constantly provides new challenges every day. As the business grows dynamically, newer challenges and opportunities are managed by the project managers of today’s times. It provides career progression in terms of becoming a project manager, program manager, portfolio manager, and so on.

Project Management Trends 

The project management industry rapidly evolves with the latest trends, tools, and technologies as the changes in trends in project management are dynamic and unavoidable. Therefore, understanding current project management trends will help us stay on top of the profession or business.

Project Management Trends 

Project Management Trends

Trend 1: Resource planning is becoming increasingly important.

Trend 2: Knowledge sharing is increasing.

Trend 3: Agile and hybrid methods are becoming more popular.

Trend 4: Working remotely and in hybrid work, such environments are here to stay.

Trend 5: Change management is becoming increasingly important.

Trend 6: The PMO is evolving into a more strategic organization.

Trend 7: Using project management tools is becoming easier.

In a post-pandemic world, employing top project managers is more important than ever. Remote working, upskilling, and the pandemic’s lingering effects will shape the future of project management.

Increasing Emphasis on Soft Skills

Traditionally, the value of project managers was determined by their certifications and ability to implement various methodologies. However, many organizations are shifting their emphasis to soft skills. This project management trend is understandable, as AI-powered solutions have advanced to the point where they can handle the more challenging technical aspects of project management.

The Future of Jobs Report 2020

The Future of Jobs Report 2020

The Future of Jobs Report 2020 states that “Critical thinking” and “Analysis” are the two top employers’ skills in the next five years. 40% of workers will require reskilling within six months or less. 94% of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills.

Project managers must now focus on improving their soft skills in conflict resolution, stakeholder engagement, negotiation, mentoring and training, decision-making, and team building. Practicing these skills will enable project managers to add more value to their organization.

Predictions for the Future of Project Management

“Change is the only constant,” as the adage goes. Project teams are no longer smaller, and the projects are no longer more straightforward. It appears to be true in the project management industry. The project management landscape is rapidly changing with evolving technologies, tools, and the latest trends.

Unlike the olden days now, there are a lot of tools, techniques, and methods that project managers can adopt to make the job much easier and more effective. Three major factors that would impact are:

  1. The Dynamically changing technology landscape.
  2. Increasing organizational complexity with Remote & Hybrid Work.
  3. Sustainability/Ecological concerns.
Factors Impacting Future of Project Management

Factors Impacting Future of Project Management

1. The Dynamically changing Technology landscape

We will look at how the future of project management is evolving and exciting as the future holds concerning some of the changing technology components which are emerging.

a.) The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation

According to the Project Management Institute, 81 percent of professionals believe that AI impacts their organizations. Project managers are given a chance to focus their efforts and energy on tasks that will most significantly benefit their businesses. Automation can help project managers to effect more significant change and increase the chances of each project achieving its strategic goals.

By 2030, AI will have taken over 80 percent of the work of today’s PM discipline, including data collection, tracking, and reporting (Gartner, 2019).

PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report emphasizes the importance of data science skills, an innovative mindset, security and privacy knowledge, legal and regulatory compliance knowledge, the ability to make data-driven decisions, and collaborative leadership skills.

According to PwC’s ’22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, in the next five years, 85 percent of CEOs believe AI will significantly change how they do business. Even though it is still in its early stages of development, AI can be used in project management to reduce highly complex issues and play a significant role in their success.

In recent years, organizations have adopted AI on a larger scale to ensure successful project completion in a variety of ways, including:

  • Producing performance insights
  • Assisting in decision-making processes
  • Estimating and forecasting
  • Optimizing resource allocation
  • Making data visualization possible
  • Conducting risk analysis

AI with chatbots can even be integrated for project management reports and status on tasks. Also, the status can be updated from anywhere and anytime. It can help as an intelligent project assistant. Already products like PPM Express are working in this space. In construction and engineering space, AI can be used for monitoring sites and site inspection with the help of OpenCV, Drone cameras, etc. Large enterprises are using AI for intelligent resource deployments for projects.

b.) Rise in Data Analytics Focus for Data-Driven Project Management

Every day, organizations of all sizes generate massive amounts of data as it is only logical to use that data to notify decisions. Data analytics and reporting can assist project managers in identifying early signs of scope creep, calculating project progress rates, and other tasks.

AI-powered analytics provide a comprehensive picture of the entire organization and all projects. They provide granular visibility into activities and generate custom reports to assist project managers in visualizing data as required. With these tools, project managers can make informed decisions in real time rather than making gut-based decisions based on manually compiled reports.

c.) Advanced Project and Resource Management Tools 

According to a 2020 report from Wellingtone, 54 percent of organizations lack access to real-time KPIs for their projects, and more than a third spend more than a day collecting data. This result demonstrates that project management tools can no longer be overlooked. When combined with AI-based automation capabilities, project management software can positively change how organizations manage their projects, regardless of their complexity.

Project managers of the future cannot survive without digital skills. The learning and experience on these tools will help appropriately present data and enhance decision-making with stakeholders. Current project management tools have become digital. Collaboration is seamless. For making effective decision making, the project managers need to have a good hold on the areas like the following:

  • Data analysis, analytics, and management
  • Security and data protection
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Online collaboration and leadership (JIRA, Confluence, etc.,)
  • Knowledge management (Sharepoint, Google Docs, etc., )
  • Data-driven decision making. (BI Tools – Power BI, Tableau, etc.,)

Here are some examples of how the appropriate software can make a significant difference in future project management:

  • Use historical project data to improve bids and plans for future projects.
  • View resource availability, skills, and other details to make resource allocation easier.
  • AI can automatically track all time spent on tasks and projects.
  • To stay on top of finances, quickly allocate and track budgets.
  • In real-time, capture all expenses with invoices for all projects.
  • Track all projects using customizable dashboards to make better quick decisions.
  • Maintain real-time communication with all stakeholders and team members about the project’s status, progress, and changes.

d.) Internet of Things:

The Internet of things is a network of electronic sensors and actuators that can help interact with each other and exchange data for numerical applications. We already see its application in the form of Alexa, Digital watches, Smart Vending Machines, and many more. The Internet of things can provide useful real-time data and help in various ways in project management. Assuming you are working on a team or sensitive project with technical and regulatory characteristics that need real-time data with a higher speed of reporting. IoT can help improve process control and also manage the explosion of valuable data on the project from sensors and devices. Project Managers can use these IoT technologies to reduce the workload in collecting data and streamline the reporting efforts.

e.) Digital Twins:

The Internet of things has been evolving, and it has been contributing to a lot of industries in terms of monitoring, real-time analytics, etc.; Projects involving Infrastructure, Construction, and industries would need a lot of physical presence. Digital twins can work with CAD and BIM (Building Information Modeling) data sets. Projects executed on these domains also call for ensuring the safety of the stakeholders involved in the project. In such scenarios, a digital twin can provide digital replicas of the physical objects or the location, which can encompass the project’s design and engineering aspects, which should help minimize travel/physical presence at the engineering sites. This action would also greatly enhance the better visibility of the sites in digital means for faster and more responsive actions on the project, yet contributing to sustainability via fewer carbon footprints. Digital twins provide intuitive visuals of the project situation with context and help to make decisions faster.

2. Increasing organization complexity with Remote & Hybrid Work

Remote working was already popular, but it has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels in recent years. While the global pandemic forced organizations to allow employees to telecommute due to safety concerns, remote work tends to continue for the foreseeable future. This aspect presents some intriguing challenges to project managers. According to Forbes, up to 97 percent of employees are unwilling to return to their offices full-time.

There have been renewed efforts in the post-pandemic era that many organizations have begun to experiment with a hybrid approach that combines elements from two or more methodologies. It is no longer just about agile, scrum, or lean but about combining specific attributes for increased flexibility in driving project success. This approach has enabled organizations to develop distinctive approaches to particular industries and projects.

The hybrid concept extends to the development of project team structures. The Capterra report states that 37% of teams are cross-functional and led by a dedicated PM. Cross-functional teams can share their department’s best practices for the project team to decide whether they want to incorporate them into their processes.

Hybrid project management is evolving. Projects are complex with a mix of technology, domain, people, process, and tools. Many organizations are not even ready for such a change to adapt themselves. Based on recent research by IPMA(International Project Management Association), only 47% of organizations are using agile approaches. Situations like the COVID-19 Ukraine-Russia conflict are making the environment more uncertain. Geopolitical situations can put countries and global projects at risk, increasing the challenges for project managers to be dynamic and responsive.

The project managers have to address problems like the following, which could be exciting and challenging:

a) More collaboration with contractors and suppliers

b) Higher staff turnover

c) Stakeholders having competing demands and expectations

d) Need for decisions taken faster

e) Increasing complexity in regulations and governance

Due to the inherent nature of dynamic technological changes, there is a need to manage constant training/coaching for the project members involved. This context keeps the project manager and project executives current and on the learning curve. In the future, project managers will be successful if they break the typical corporate mindset. They will be the ones who work with a hybrid approach and mindset. The term “hybrid” refers to the ability of the Project Manager to take an adaptive approach to the multiple roles and provide value with cross-functional/diverse teams.

Though technology plays a central role in project management, the project managers are expected to have great levels of emotional intelligence to manage the project members. The Project Manager needs to maneuver through social skills and empathy. This move would greatly contribute to the productivity and quality of the projects.

3. Sustainability / Ecological concerns

Project managers have to become socially responsible in alignment with the organizational culture, structure, and processes, starting with environmental analysis as per the PMBOK Guide. It would be exciting for the project managers to contribute to sustainability by adding the sustainability objectives to the project charter apart from the financial business case. This action might call for additional training on aspects like sustainability LCA(Life Cycle Assessments).

From sourcing to day-to-day operations in the project, the project manager needs to consider minimizing the carbon footprint, and it’s no more a thing specific to governments. Sustainability involves balancing different concerns:

  • Environment, such as climate change
  • Society, such as community
  • Economy, such as affordability
  • Administration, such as health and safety

When these four elements are considered, we can build sustainability into projects. (Reference: APM Body of knowledge 7th Edition)

Four Elements of Sustainability

Four Elements of Sustainability

Project managers need comprehensive risk management when it also calls for transparent project communication. Especially when it comes to a project with a high level of material handling, sustainability aspects in terms of procurement from the right suppliers, verification of the sources, material origin, quality of the material, etc., would come into context. Project managers must look from all the above perspectives to make sustainable project management a reality.

Conclusion

The project management profession has come into an exciting phase as it’s more challenging and has more tools to make it easier. Only with an appropriate level of training on the tools and adoption of emerging trends would project managers be able to sustain it. The project managers’ skills move in the direction of having focus, multi-skill leadership, emotional intelligence, change management, and negotiation skills. Achieving certifications would be to have an aspect to prove your credentials and have a structured approach to your thought process complementing your experience and skills in these areas outlined in this article.

Understanding current project management trends and predicting the future of project management is critical for staying on top of the profession. Considering the predictions, the future looks bright for those who can adapt to changing trends by expanding their knowledge of new tools and techniques and pursuing accreditation for project management in their specific industries.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

Achieving Project Success with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Achieving Project Success with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Two relevant quotes which quickly strike our minds when we think about the Entrepreneurial mindset are:

“Building a business is not rocket science; it’s about having a great idea and seeing it through with integrity.” Richard Branson

“At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train.” S.L. Parker

Ideally, a project’s success is based on the critical success factors identified during the initial stages of the project, which would fall in various areas such as Process, Product, Project Management, Business, and Strategic. When the project can make a positive and long-standing impact on business value, a culture deeply imbibes into people’s minds. It creates an undeniable mark in the overall scheme of things.

Benefits and stakeholders’ satisfaction are the key factors that measure a project’s success. It’s also defined by the level of efficiency the project creates based on the set project objectives. Project success is based on the project success criteria and outcome. Typically, these criteria fall as Meeting the Scope identified, Deadlines and Milestones on time, Within the given budget, excellent satisfaction to the stakeholders, both internal and external, and with specified quality criteria.

Essentially, we all know that various tenets of project management contribute to success. Here, we will discuss how the entrepreneurial mindset would impact project success. Entrepreneurs have some unique characteristics such as being adaptive, decisive, risk-tolerant, persistent, able to handle failure, experimenting, building teams, etc.,

Mindset

One must believe that we can be malleable to unlock our growth as project managers or portfolio managers by transforming into an entrepreneurial mindset. We need to understand what mindset is, then understand the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset and how we can embark on that transformation journey from where we are to bring on project success in our project management career.

Mindset is an essential set of beliefs that provides a shape in terms of the view one has on the world and themselves. It influences how we think, act, feel and respond to a given situation. Typically, mindset falls into two categories as introduced by Carol S. Dweck, which we are all aware of: they are a) Fixed Mindset and b) Growth Mindset.

An entrepreneurial mindset is a growth mindset. Intelligence cannot be developed with a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is all about the belief that intelligence can be developed through personal effort, good learning strategies, and lots of mentoring and support from others. As introduced by Heider, the interpersonal process equation is a product of Ability, Motivation, and Environment.

An entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that allows people to recognize and capitalize on opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed amidst challenging backdrops. An entrepreneurial mentality is a method of thinking that helps achieve your business objectives. Entrepreneurs who learn from their mistakes and failures have a better chance of future success.

Entrepreneurs boost the economy by creating jobs and developing new products and services that benefit the entire world. A great entrepreneur must be able to think outside the box and come up with out-of-this-world ideas.

Entrepreneurial mindset and project management

7 Entrepreneurial Traits

7 Entrepreneurial Traits

Though there is a common belief that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, and they should be born, studies have proven that it’s a myth. Typically, entrepreneurs search, seize and exploit the opportunities while mitigating them through engagement, courage, and perseverance. The following are the entrepreneurial traits that are generally encompassed in an entrepreneur:

  • Commitment and Determination
  • Courage
  • Obsession with opportunity
  • Risk tolerance
  • Creativity
  • Motivation to excel
  • Leadership

An entrepreneurial mindset fosters more value for projects. Your project teams are encouraged to solve business problems and develop creative and innovative ideas. When a leader allows the teams to be creative and innovative, they will be more productive and engaged in the project.

The journal “People’s confidence in innovation” indicates that confidence in innovation is a component of the entrepreneurial mindset. In several ways, confidence in innovation can be considered part of the entrepreneurial mindset.

  • First, entrepreneurs have more confidence in innovation than non-entrepreneurs.
  • Second, confidence in innovation is positively related to other aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset, most notably self-efficacy, opportunity alertness, risk propensity, and role-modelling.
  • Third, according to (Nochian and Schtt’s 2012) study, entrepreneurs are not like other people. Instead, their network appears to be the source of their confidence. In the same way, highly networked owners or managers are highly confident in innovation.
  • Fourth, their innovativeness appears to be a result of their confidence. The more confident entrepreneurs are, the more innovative they are.

Entrepreneurial mindset and Project success

Commitment & Determination

Commitment and Determination would encompass Decisiveness, Tenacity, Discipline, persistence in solving problems, willingness to sacrifice, and being completely immersed in the mission. In the context of project management, each of these characteristics would contribute to the project’s success. For example, it is being decisive in terms of critical path challenges and exhibiting tenacity for unblocking issues without giving excuses for the need of the project and solving problems. Being committed requires a lot of sacrifice and discipline to bring on consistency. When being disciplined, it would require more like a parenting skill which would always course correct in the larger interest of the project, though seen to be tough externally. Discipline is brought about by establishing an unalterable set of rules and regulations to follow for the project’s success.

Courage

The definition of courage is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Mish, 1994, 266). Courage could be implemented with excellent values through moral strength, fearless experimentation, unafraid of conflicts, no fear of failure, and intense curiosity amidst facing risk. A courageous project manager would tackle the controversies and conflicts in the project early. A fearless project manager could put his job on the line in the pursuit of doing The Right Thing for the project. Often, the project manager would not have the necessary support and face active resistance, which needs to be managed with resolve to move beyond personal discomfort through intense curiosity.

Obsession about opportunity

An entrepreneur constantly looks for opportunities for improvement. Similarly, project managers consistently look for opportunities for improvement daily by observing day-to-day activities seeking to do more, do better, and do differently. Obsession with opportunity would be recurring, which would preoccupy or intrude on the project manager’s mind. This obsession would naturally shape the opportunity and help focus on project needs. Obsession with opportunities drives business value through the project.

Risk Tolerance

Good project managers would tolerate risk while being calculated risk-taker and risk sharers, thereby minimizing the risks. He would exhibit the characteristic of an entrepreneur by showing the ability to manage stress/conflict and ambiguity. Especially when the project has larger integrations and frequent changes would increase the ambiguity and uncertainty proportionally. Generally, the unknowns which are in the project would cause ambiguity. The ability to understand those would help identify the risks involved. PMBOK defines these areas in terms of Risk tolerance, Risk appetite, and risk threshold. It guides the management of these effectively through appropriate processes involving planning, controlling, and appropriate level of communication.

Risk Tolerance

Risk Tolerance

Project managers should learn how to maneuver ambiguity. As ambiguity would be sinusoidal over time, it would arise and settle. The project manager must manage risk/ambiguity and uncertainty by uncovering information, clarifying roles and responsibilities, establishing clear relationships, bringing clarity to the measurement of success, removing the vagueness, and understanding the cause and effect.

Creativity

So what is creativity? In “The Social Psychology of Creativity,” Amabile (1983) defines creativity as,

“A product or response will be judged as creative to the extent that (a) it is both a novel and appropriate, useful, correct or valuable response to the task at hand, and (b) the task is heuristic rather than algorithmic” (p. 33).

Creativity can be multiple things. It would always push your limits by being open-minded, lateral thinking, ability to conceptualize by going into details, and ability to adapt. Creativity can be unleashed in project setup during Brainstorming sessions, Root Cause Analysis, Force field analysis, Affinity Diagrams, SWOT Analysis, etc. Creativity can be fostered further by open communication and providing an environment for the resources involved. As a project manager, one needs to remove the mental blocks like “Always looking for the right answer,” “avoiding ambiguity,” “I’m not creative,” “Always looking for concrete answers,” and “That’s not my area,” etc., Encourage creative aspects through “Why not like that,” “Let’s explore more,” “what value it would bring in,” etc.,

Motivation to excel

There is a popular phrase. Projects don’t succeed; people do. Typically the project’s success is always attributed to the people. People tend to have a goal and result orientation and need a self-imposed drive to achieve the results. Typically entrepreneurs keep motivating themselves and others around them despite all odds. People involved in projects need interpersonal support, understanding of weaknesses, and guidance to overcome them. Essentially aspects like having a sense of humor and perspective on the value they are adding to the project would motivate them to do better. The project manager’s responsibility is to understand individuals and adopt appropriate motivations strategy based on their needs, desires, and goals. They reward the team and its members creatively by recognizing their strengths. Make the project goals and success factors visible to the entire team. They are clarifying how the performance will be validated as an exact measure.

Leadership

Leadership is one of the essential traits entrepreneurs have. They would be self-starters and have a strong internal locus of control. Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they, as opposed to external forces (beyond their influence), have control over the outcome of events in their lives. The concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954 and has since become an aspect of personality psychology. Project managers with an Internal Locus of Control believe that every event in their life derives from factors under their control. These individuals tend to blame or praise themselves for whatever success or failure they experiment in life. They would have enormous patience, integrity, and reliability. They would build teams and more leaders. Key attributes of communicating with a project management mindset include empathy, clarity, authenticity, and flexibility.

Project leadership qualities and competencies

Project leadership qualities and competencies

Successful projects come as an outcome of a well-coordinated team effort. Project managers as leaders know their team very well.

The entrepreneurial mindset’s key aspects of a project’s success

Being confident and open-minded is crucial for a project professional with an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s about being self-assured, optimistic, and never afraid to take risks. Every day, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you will be ready to take action to achieve your goals and acquire project success.

While some scholars have examined aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and provided general insights into its attributes, qualities, and operations, the question remains how people tap into it.

  • The cognitive aspect—how do entrepreneurs use mental models to think?
  • The behavioral aspect—how do entrepreneurs engage or act for opportunities?
  • The emotional aspects—what do entrepreneurs feel in entrepreneurship?

Project leadership qualities and competencies

When the project requires success, both project managers and project sponsors should take up the role of a project leader by demonstrating leadership talents, competencies, and entrepreneurial mindsets. The following are the most significant features of effective project management:

  • Project management technical skills
  • Product development and domain expertise
  • Strategy and business acumen
  • Leadership and change management skills
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Ethics and values

Conclusion

The entrepreneurial mindset is an important factor leading to project success. Many leading authors agree with this point of view and are researching to substantiate this grounded theory. This endeavor to bring out the factors associated with the project manager’s leadership style profoundly impacts project success.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

An encapsulation of my life’s journey

An encapsulation of my life’s journey

Walking down the memory lane

When one reaches the pinnacle of one’s career, one begins to reflect upon the difficult journey that led one here. This is precisely the frame of mind that I find myself in, now that I have reached a new era in my life, today being my 50th birthday. As a mentor and life coach, I believe that it is my responsibility to share my life experiences and leave behind a legacy for future generations to look up to. Hence, I have decided to shed some light on my personal life, starting with my childhood which is a topic that I have rarely discussed before.

Humble Beginnings

To set the scene, imagine a simple village in the Indian countryside in the year, 1970. My childhood was marked by the simple pleasures in life just as it was by the lush foliage and greenery that encompassed me. Despite one’s tendency to view such memories through rose-tinted glasses, my childhood was not entirely a bed of roses, for I was born with a congenital physical deformity which materialized in the form of clubfoot on my left limb. It is important to note that society wasn’t very open-minded or progressive back then, especially in the rural parts of the country. Those who had my condition oft ended up as paupers who begged on the streets, with little to no prospects of landing a decent living. To top it off, I was an introverted child who shunned large gatherings and dreaded the stage. One can only imagine how lowly I regarded myself at the time, for I had not the ambition to yearn for an estimable livelihood. Hence, I owe my current success to my parents and teachers, and I am eternally grateful for their timely guidance and perpetual upliftment. I am also indebted to yoga, which entered my life during this trying period, for imbibing me with the spirituality that has served as a coping mechanism for helping me deal with my physical condition.

A spark was lit, From India to Australia

A spark was lit, From India to Australia

A spark was lit, From India to Australia

With a specific focus and determination to succeed in my education, I successfully achieved the National Talent Scholarship (NTS), in 1987. Conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) I was one among the 700 nationally to achieve this scholarship by passing the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE). Spurred by my parents, I began to dream big, and I set my sights on the prestigious Harcourt Butler Technical University (HBTI) for my higher education. After graduating, I bagged a lucrative government job as a Junior Manager at a Public Service Undertaking (PSU), viz. The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). For most professionals, this would be a jackpot and a gold mine because government jobs offer numerous amenities and benefits in addition to a solid retirement plan. However, I was not like most people. When I say that I had dreamt big, I really meant it. After four years, I left the security of my cushy government job and re-entered the job market in a project manager role. However, my career pushed me to the next level and pushed me to Australia because of the immense opportunities. This was unquestionably a gamble on my part because I was risking my job security through my decision to migrate to a foreign country. Program/Project managers need to continually find success because our jobs are meted and evaluated based on the success of each project. But, my efforts paid off as I was able to consistently land my desired postings at established Multinational Corporations (MNCs) such as HCL Technologies and Westpac, where I spent a year each and HP, where I spent seven years. This was no small feat, as it was the late 1990s, and immigration was still a vague concept in India.

Moreover, I was an Indian-origin manager at Australian firms managing professionals from diverse origins but majorly native Australians. Meanwhile, I was working on obtaining professional certifications, starting with the Project Management Professional (PMP). I was able to land a government contract within Australia at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC Canberra) which was a significant milestone for a person of Indian origin such as myself. Alongside other contracts at major firms such as the NSW BusinessLink, AAPT and the City of Gold Coast, I was also rising up the ranks within the Sydney chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI), where I volunteered to serve as the Certification Director and Secretary, which is one of my most monumental achievements. In a wonderful turn of events, I got to work with HP for a second time where I was able to leverage my newly acquired skill set to good effect. Subsequently, I got to work at Infosys, Westpac and then, Telstra, which is Australia’s largest telecommunications company.

Yet, out of all this, the endeavour that is dearest to my heart is undoubtedly my very own company that I founded in 2011, viz. “vCare Project Management”. As the CEO as well as being the leading trainer of the company, I play a central role in personally training all of my students in the various facets of project, program, portfolio management and many more. I have also been an official training partner at the Melbourne and New Zealand branches of the Project Management Institute from 2015 to till date.

The United States

The United States

The United States

Having spent more than two decades of my life in Australia, I was honoured its citizenship a few years ago. This was a result of my continuous commitment to the people and the country of Australia. Today I am a proud citizen of Australia, and I carry its values wherever I travel. But time had different plans for me when, due to certain personal and professional developments, I had to migrate to the West Coast of the United States, which is where I am currently residing.

California has arguably the most competitive work environment in the entire world, but I am still able to make an impact through my work. At vCare Project Management, I train individuals to be better project-program-portfolio management professionals and also achieve success in the intense examinations that are required for obtaining the most elusive project management certifications, viz. the PgMP® and PfMP®. Through my systemic approach, I unleash their full potential, which subsequently enables them to turn their aspirations into reality. I am ecstatic to report that every single one of my trainees has landed the PfMP® certification and an astounding 86% of them has cleared the PgMP®. To put that into perspective, there are only a mere 3200 PgMP®s across the globe, 274 of whom are my alumni. In 2019 alone, 49 of the global PgMP®s were my students who constituted 20% of the graduates for that year. Backed by the statistics of such a substantial student success ratio, I can proudly proclaim to be the highest producer of PgMP®s. I have visited and conducted training programs and boot camps in most of the major cities of the world.

Given that my profession necessitates extensive travel, I believe that through my diverse experiences, I can claim to be a true global citizen. In February of 2017, I was conferred the prestigious “Global Training & Development Leadership Award” from CHRO Asia at the 25th World HRD Congress, which holds a special place in my heart. I have received hearty testimonials from over a hundred pleased students who have attended my program, and they can testify to its effectiveness. I also continue to hold free webinars on my YouTube channel where I invite other experts of project, program and portfolio management. Truly, words cannot describe how glad I am to know that I have impacted the lives of so many people despite hailing from a humble background.

Giving back

YiPEE Yoga

YiPEE Yoga

Staying true to my core beliefs, I have not lost touch with my roots. I am still an avid yoga practitioner, and in 2012, I had founded YiPEE (Yoga in Park for Extreme Energy) Yoga, which is a volunteer endeavour that aims to give back to society by raising awareness about the health benefits of yoga. Personally, yoga has played a pivotal role in my life as a coping and healing mechanism. As I had previously mentioned, I was born with clubfoot, and yoga had helped me overcome my physical limitations, so I knew that I had to spread awareness about its potential to help others who may be in a similar position. I had been holding free yoga sessions for over 60 people every Saturday morning at Liberty Grove (Sydney, AU), and everyone was welcome to be part of it. Now I intend to restart the same here in Cupertino, California once the COVID-19 crisis comes to a closure. In disciplining my body and mind, I keep every Saturday as a day for rigorous fasting, with neither intake of food nor water. I am continuously doing this since 2005. As a firm believer in spirituality and karma, I never miss an opportunity to learn more about these subjects from those who are more enlightened, and I strive to remain the ever-conscientious learner.

Reflecting back

If I were to narrate my illustrious career to my younger self, I would have scarce believed that I would transcend my humble beginnings and go on to trot the globe as a trainer and educator for so many professionals. This, more than anything else, stands as a testament to the potency of human willpower. I was, but an ordinary Indian kid with an extraordinary dream and I had managed to go from rural India to a global citizen. So, believe me when I tell you that everyone is capable of rising above their circumstances to an unfathomable extent, provided they possess the pragmatism, insight and perseverance to do so. If you take this to heart and believe in your capabilities, you can be rest assured that others will follow suit.

Note: In a mood of celebration I have decided to discount all my following online PgMP®/PfMP®/E-Learning programs purchased between June 20, 2020, to July 20, 2020, by a further 100$. Use the discount coupon code “DHARAM50” to avail this discount.

Online PgMP® Mentoring Programs – http://bit.ly/2oBKQXQ

Online PfMP® Mentoring Programs – http://bit.ly/39jOZSf

E-Learning Programs – http://bit.ly/3b2HOid

DHARAM50

DHARAM50

For any related queries, book an obligation free 15 minutes with me by visiting http://bit.ly/2SbhTOK or drop an e-mail to [email protected].