The Paradox of Project Sponsors to Stakeholders

The Paradox of Project Sponsors to Stakeholders

A project is deemed successful when it meets or exceeds the expectations of its stakeholders. Every project has a unique set of stakeholders—sometimes far too many. Trying to meet all of their requirements is more often an impossible task. Nonetheless, the project manager must deal with all stakeholder situations smoothly because the stakeholders and the people they represent often evaluate the project’s success.

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

But who are the stakeholders? According to PMI, “Project stakeholders are individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of project execution or successful project completion.”

Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization that is carrying out the project.

“Project Sponsor” is also a stakeholder, typically an organization executive with authority to assign resources and enforce project decisions. Project sponsors are called internal stakeholders in the project. Stakeholders include the project manager, project team members, and managers from other departments within the organization. Identifying all project stakeholders as early as possible in a project is critical. Leaving out key stakeholders or the department’s function and not discovering the fault until the project is well underway could be disastrous.

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

There are two types of project stakeholders:

  • Internal Stakeholders
  • External Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are individuals or businesses whose relationship with a company is determined by their position within its structure. As the name implies, these individuals are involved in a project from the inside. They are as follows:

  • A project sponsor
  • An internal customer or client
  • A project team
  • A program or portfolio manager
  • Management
  • Another team’s manager of the company

External stakeholders are those interested in a company’s operations. Still, they do not necessarily have a role in the decisions of the business. However, they can influence success or failure based on their vested interests. They can be just as powerful as internal stakeholders. These stakeholders are not directly involved in the project but are affected by its outcome.

  • An external customer or client
  • An end-user
  • Subcontractors
  • A supplier
  • The government
  • Local communities
  • Media

Characteristics of Stakeholders in a Project 

  • When contributing to a project, stakeholders have varying levels of responsibility and authority. This level may change as the project progresses. It can range from one-time contributions to complete project sponsorship.
  • Some stakeholders may also actively or passively undermine the project’s success. These stakeholders require the project manager’s attention throughout the project’s life cycle.
  • Stakeholder identification is a continuous process throughout the project’s life cycle. Identifying them, understanding their level of impact on a project, and meeting their demands, needs, and expectations are critical to the project’s success.
  • Just as they can positively or negatively impact a project’s objectives, stakeholders can perceive a project to have positive or negative outcomes.
  • A project manager’s most important role is managing stakeholder expectations, which can be challenging because stakeholders often have different or conflicting goals.

Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder management is the process of organizing, monitoring, and improving relationships with stakeholders. It entails systematically identifying stakeholders, analyzing their needs and expectations, and planning and carrying out various tasks to engage them. In addition, a good stakeholder management process will allow them to coordinate their interactions and evaluate the status and quality of their relationships with various stakeholders.

A critical component of running a successful project is developing and maintaining positive relationships with the affected communities and other stakeholders.

Investing time in identifying and prioritizing stakeholders, as well as assessing their interests, provides a solid foundation on which to build the stakeholder engagement strategy. In addition, good stakeholder management includes ‘business intelligence.

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

  • Build Reputation
  • Competitive advantage
  • Corporate governance
  • Risk management
  • Social license to operate
7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

Clarkson Centre created the seven principles of Stakeholder Management for Business Ethics under the leadership of Max Clarkson. The Clarkson Principles are, in many ways, “meta-principles” that encourage management to embrace specific stakeholder principles and implement them according to the norms.

  1. Managers must acknowledge and actively monitor all legitimate stakeholders’ concerns and consider their interests in decision-making and operations.
  2. Managers must listen to and communicate openly with stakeholders about their respective concerns and contributions and the risks they face from their involvement with the corporation.
  3. Managers must implement processes and behaviors sensitive to each stakeholder constituency’s concerns and capabilities.
  4. Managers should be aware of the interdependence of stakeholder efforts and rewards and make an effort to fairly distribute the costs and benefits of corporate activity among them while taking into account their risks and vulnerabilities.
  5. Managers should work with other public and private entities to ensure that risks and harms resulting from corporate activities are minimized and compensated appropriately where they cannot be avoided.
  6. Managers should avoid activities that could jeopardize inalienable human rights or create risks that, if clearly understood, would be patently unacceptable to relevant stakeholders.
  7. Managers should be aware of potential conflicts between their role as corporate stakeholders and their legal and moral obligations to all stakeholders and address such conflicts through open communication, appropriate reporting and incentive systems, and, if necessary, third-party review.

Understanding the Stakeholders

A good understanding of the stakeholders is the key to successful stakeholder engagement. In addition, understanding stakeholder concerns and interests can lead to product or service ideas that address stakeholder needs while allowing the company to cut costs and maximize value.

1. What else can you learn about stakeholders to better understand their needs, priorities, preferences, and concerns? Consider:

  • Demographic data- Ensure to engage with a diverse community and stakeholder groups.
  • Social networks- Focus on the important, often undocumented, social connections between stakeholders.

2. Stakeholder Mapping – Stakeholder mapping is the visual process of depicting all stakeholders of a product, project, or idea on a single map. The main advantage of a stakeholder map is that it provides a visual representation of all the people who can have an impact on your project and how they are connected.

3. Salience model – investigate the power, urgency (need for immediate action), and legitimacy (appropriate stakeholders), as well as the interaction or groups of stakeholders that result.

4. Determine stakeholder expectations and compare them to the scope and expectations of the project or organization for which the engagement program is being run. Is there a mismatch in expectations, and how will this be addressed? Consider the following:

  • What information do they need from you, how often, and in what format/channel do they want it?
  • What is their financial/social/emotional stake in the outcome of the work? Is it favorable or unfavorable?
  • What primary motivations will shape their perceptions of your project or organization and their interactions with you?
  • What are their current feelings about the organization and project? Is it founded on reliable data?
  • Who influences their thoughts, and who are they influenced by?

Ways to deal with common stakeholder problems and challenges

  • Stakeholder conflict occurs when different stakeholders have incompatible goals. It causes a “problem” for the company because it can impact its performance and success.
  • Conflict necessitates that businesses effectively manage stakeholder interests. Not all stakeholders are strategically important to the company. As a result, businesses must determine which ones should be prioritized.
  • Potential problems can be avoided by conducting an upfront analysis of who the stakeholders are and how and when to involve them in the project.
Analysis of common stakeholder issues

Analysis of common stakeholder issues

Analysis of common stakeholder issues 

As no two stakeholders are the same, the issues they may introduce into a project will be vastly different. This factor means there could be many reasons why a project encounters stakeholder resistance or the project team struggles to gain traction. Identifying stakeholder issues during the project can help with planning ahead of time and preparing an appropriate response.

  1. Trying to align different stakeholders.

It is generally a good thing to have a variety of interests in the project and its outcome, but having a lot of different stakeholders can also pull the project team in too many different directions. In addition, it can be challenging for project managers to coordinate too many different stakeholders, which could add new difficulties to the project.

  1. Competing priorities between stakeholders

Stakeholders bring their objectives and expectations to the project. However, at least a few of these priorities frequently conflict with or compete with one another. In addition, priorities may vary depending on the department, the role, or the professional backgrounds of the individuals.

  1. Resource constraints 

It’s possible that the team lacks some of the resources they require or that the project is utilizing resources that other stakeholders consider crucial to their projects. Resource competition is common in organizations and can lead to conflict.

  1. Breakdowns in communication

Effective communication between stakeholders and the project team is crucial for everyone to achieve their objectives and for the project to be successful. When there are communication breakdowns, the project may be delayed, or the team may not receive the necessary information. Without deliberate communication, stakeholders might unintentionally hinder the project’s success.

  1. Stakeholders are resistant to sharing information. 

At times, important project sponsors are more focused on their success and fail to promptly or completely provide the stakeholders with the required information. As a result, stakeholders may attempt to disrupt a project unintentionally or on purpose.

  1. Potential implications of conflict with a sponsor

Conflict with project sponsors may have many consequences on the project management, such as these typical ones:

  • The project’s progress is being slowed
  • Reducing the effectiveness and timeliness of decision-making
  • Putting team cohesion in jeopardy
  • Undermining a project manager’s authority
  • Fostering hostility and encouraging uncooperative behavior
  • Creating a fearful environment for other stakeholders
  • Obscuring the project’s vision
Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

  1. Stakeholder analysis 

Stakeholder analysis can offer insightful information and guidance, just as project managers must carefully examine resources and specifics. It can be helpful to respond appropriately by taking the time to consider how stakeholders affect the project’s progress.

By conducting a stakeholder analysis, one can learn how to control expectations, channel stakeholder influence toward project objectives, and deliver the information and updates that stakeholders expect from their team.

  1. Identify stakeholders

One must first identify the stakeholders to analyze them effectively. List every stakeholder that comes to mind, then include more individuals and organizations as necessary. As stakeholders, all parties involved in the project, those with authority over it or an interest in its success, should be listed.

  1. Prioritize stakeholders

The list of stakeholders can then be ranked according to impact, interest, and power. For instance:

  • Key stakeholders: This first group heavily influences and controls the project. This group is frequently accurate for executive leadership at the company.
  • Primary stakeholders: The project immediately affects the key stakeholders. This pack may include team members, departments, and internal or external clients who stand to gain from the project’s outcomes.
  • Secondary stakeholders: The secondary stakeholders are those who play a supporting role, are indirectly impacted or have a less significant stake in the project.

Understand the key stakeholders

A few stakeholders are usually critical to the project. Key stakeholders invoke more power and may have a more significant stake in the project’s success than primary or secondary stakeholders. For example, key stakeholders could include their boss, company executives, or team leaders.

Finding the key stakeholders and understanding what they need can help keep the project on track because they may control important resources, have a significant impact on the project, or grant the necessary approval.

Create a communication plan 

With a communication plan, project leaders will be better prepared to manage their stakeholders on the fly and keep the project moving forward.

  • Create your communication strategy based on what the project leader knows about their stakeholders.
  • Keeping track of what the stakeholders require from themselves allows project leaders to stay organized and focused on managing the project.
  • Gaining the stakeholders’ trust is essential once the developed strategy has been implemented. Rather than dictating the project to them, make each stakeholder a priority – as appropriate – and give them space to contribute.

Final Thoughts

Different stakeholders in the project have different expectations. Project managers should look for potentially hazardous situations when those expectations might clash. Then, they must address and resolve the conflict or risk endangering the project and themselves.

Resolving stakeholder expectations conflicts is always linked to project success. Furthermore, using various forms of communication among the project team, such as senior management and stakeholders, increases the likelihood of mutual understanding. These techniques help project managers align stakeholder expectations and reduce the possibility of project distress.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta 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 http://talktodharam.com/

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 

“Project Loyalty” Might Be Losing

“Project Loyalty” Might Be Losing

To be successful in project management, professionals must adhere to specific values like honesty, responsibility, respect, and fairness, which are central to the project management profession and are encompassed by ethics in project management. Therefore, understanding these values and how to apply them is essential for working in project management.

Ethics is important in day-to-day interactions and behaviors in the project management world. “Ethics is about making the best possible decisions concerning people, resources, and the environment,” according to the PMI (Project Management Institute). Ethical decisions can reduce risk, advance positive outcomes, build trust, determine long-term success, and build reputations.

Ethical decisions

Ethical Decisions

Corporate leaders are responsible for ensuring that their employees practice ethics in the workplace. Failing to follow ethics might result in numerous scandals. The project manager must ensure that all projects are managed and executed efficiently and ethically. If a project manager is ethical, they can influence the project team to work ethically and ensure that all project work is done ethically.

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct:

PMI has identified four values for ethical behavior in the project management profession, which can be applied amongst project team members to maintain project loyalty and ethics.

Honesty: Be genuine in your communication and behavior

Responsibility: Take responsibility for your decisions and actions and the consequences that result from them.

Respect: Admire yourself, others, and the resources entrusted to you, such as people, money, and reputation.

Fairness: Decisions and actions should be unbiased, and behavior should be free of favoritism, self-interest, and prejudice.

Therefore, project management professionals must follow the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics to ensure that all decisions taken are in the best interests of stakeholders and the project team.

Project Management Institute's (PMI) Code of Ethics

Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics

Transparency & Integrity in Project Management

Project management transparency characterizes a team’s open communication and visibility culture. Information in project management is on a need-to-know basis and is not readily available to everyone. A lack of transparency can lead to resentment or even distrust within the team. Transparency can advance a manager’s career, but it can harm the project manager’s reputation and career if carried out improperly. Therefore, there are many facts to believe that project managers should place a high value on openness and honesty.

The project manager’s transparency can lead to:

  • Better performance and accountability
  • Eliminates project derailment
  • Enhancing teamwork
  • Make sure people understand their tasks.
  • Communicate openly and explain changes
  • Provide and encourage feedback
  • Promote knowledge-sharing
  • Increase visibility with the right tools
  • Focus on project budget

Project Integrity

As a project manager, acting with integrity with other project team members entails being open and honest about their expectations, intentions, and thoughts on their work. In addition, one must have the integrity to make the project team complete the project on time, within budget, and within the project’s scope.

Here are suggestions for acting with integrity with team members:

Be Impartial: 

  • Be objective and fair.
  • Listen to both sides of the tale and different points of view without becoming attached to one in particular due to prejudice or favoritism.
  • Rather than patching problems, objective decision-making fleshes them out and allows teams to get to the bottom of them.

Be Thorough:

Complete tasks entirely and thoroughly and validate the steps against a project management methodology of choice. This action ensures that a much more comprehensive project management plan and supporting documentation are created.

Be Focused on the End Business Result:

Regardless of when team members are introduced into the team, they should confirm initial business requirements and the work requested within the scope of their project role. This process enables them to provide their input based on their subject matter expertise, increasing the likelihood of project success.

Influence is a key component of leadership

To influence means to impact other people’s behavior, opinion, and choice. Influence is not the same as power or control. Instead, it is about recognizing what motivates employee commitment and applying that knowledge to boost performance and positive outcomes. The ability to influence others is a necessary leadership trait.

A leader’s ability to influence others is founded on trust; the project manager’s influence grows directly to the level of trust in a relationship. An effective leader motivates team members to act not through coercion but by eliciting their desire and conviction in the leader’s vision and goals. A leader who positively influences others through focused and deliberate effort will gain trust and become a driving force toward excellence.

Let’s look at how leaders can effectively build trust and influence with others.

  • Establish credibility
  • Engage with team members and build a connection
  • Clarify expectations and practice accountability
  • Share process knowledge
  • Be open to influence

Relationship between stakeholders and project manager to maintain trustworthiness

Communication accounts for up to 90% of a project manager’s job. Conflicts can arise, and projects can fail if there is ineffective communication within the project team. Transparency in the project requires open, two-way communication with stakeholders about the status of a campaign. It keeps clients and stakeholders informed of campaign developments and other project activities.

Why is transparency important for stakeholders?

Transparency is essential in a client-facing project for one simple reason: it fosters trust. When project leader gains the trust of their stakeholders, they are more likely to gain their cooperation and guidance. Maintaining positive stakeholder relationships requires trust, and project stakeholders’ importance cannot be overstated. The support of the stakeholders is critical for project success.

Six Tips To Increase Project Transparency With Stakeholders

Six Tips To Increase Project Transparency With Stakeholders

Six tips to increase project transparency with stakeholders

  • Create a stakeholder register to track stakeholders
  • Communicate the level of transparency upfront
  • Inform the stakeholders of the expectations.
  • Involve them in key decisions and milestones
  • Be proactive about difficult stakeholders
  • Communicate consistently

Digital Transformation’s Impact on Project Management

Project managers have continued to manage project planning, acquisition, and execution, but their work is evolving with digital transformation.

Most project managers have already incorporated workflow and process automation technology in a few specific areas, like reporting and scheduling. And the majority of them are using digital platforms for project management which can help them stand separate.

How does a project manager acquire the knowledge and experience necessary to lead a digital transformation? What qualities are essential for this type of leader?

PMI’s 2018 Pulse in-depth report ‘Digital PM Skills’ survey conducted by Forrester Consulting for PMI among HR professionals and project managers and identified the top 6 digital-age skills required to get adapted in the digital transformation, like:

  • Data science skills
  • Innovative mindset
  • Security and privacy knowledge
  • Legal and regulatory compliance knowledge
  • Ability to make data-driven decisions
  • Collaborative leadership skills

Cybersecurity’s impact on projects

Project management and the need to establish objectives that protect information security are necessary for today’s project management world. Organizational fragility and vulnerability have increased due to digital transformation, and the proliferation of data and information has become abundant, so it is necessary to safeguard the data from getting misused. Therefore, many businesses are incorporating new elements into their projects to protect their information’s vulnerability, like:

  • Security Plan: For the project’s security, a project leader must be aware of the risks to be addressed to develop a security plan. Taking them into account will help them chart the course of the plan and focus on the project’s objectives.
  • Business requirements: The project manager must understand the project’s security requirements and business objectives to ensure its completion and success.
  • Responsibilities: Each team member should be clear about their responsibilities in terms of security. The well-known RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) responsibility assignment matrix is used by many project managers, which aids in ensuring that project objectives are met.
  • Security by design: Information security must be considered from the start of a project and throughout the process. Automating processes will improve project success and builds project security.

 Pointers to incorporate cybersecurity in project management:

  • Determine the project’s sensitive information.
  • Evaluate the members’ responsibilities.
  • Implement a level of information sensitivity.
  • Understand security standards and regulations.
  • Include security goals in the project’s objectives.
  • Determine the company’s legal responsibilities to the information.

Technology vs. Ethics

Every facet of an organization disrupted by technology shows a possibility of gaining or losing stakeholders’ confidence and commitment. Technology advances can easily outrun the ethical standards that govern their application. Technology’s impact on project ethics is progressing similarly, with employers establishing ethical boundaries that violate employee privacy rights and limit communication abilities.

Some of the technology’s impact on project ethics

  • Monitoring Team’s Communications

Project team leaders have monitored employees’ communications during working hours to keep employees focused on work tasks. In addition, because of digital technology and Internet access, there are more chances that project team members can get diverted and utilize the facilities in their personal activities.

  • Working From Anywhere

The changing definition of the workplace impacts the ethics that underpin the traditional eight-hour work time. It is not ethical simply because technology allows project leader to access their employees and request work at any time. Increasing the working hours to nearly more than their actual hours also blurs the ethical lines in employee compensation.

  • Using Company Property

Employees with restricted access to company property, such as a cell phone or personal computer, may treat it as personal property. An ethical issue may arise when an employee uses office property for non-work-related activities, such as looking for a new job or making personal calls. An employer must establish a clear policy regarding using company property loaned to an employee for business purposes only. This policy enables an employer to develop an ethical standard for using technology.

Ethical Decision Making in Project Management

Decision-making in project management is essentially a great reminder to project success. A truly accomplished project leader inspires, motivates, and builds a strong group that aids their team objectives. The concept of ethical decision-making has also been a focal point in improving project decision-making.

The ethical decision-making process and its roadmap

Every day, a project manager might make thousands of decisions and can come up with the best solution within nanoseconds of hearing about a problem. However, managers must regularly make major decisions incorporating more diligence, forethought, and collaboration with their colleagues. The failure in decision-making can create severe implications and chaos. Thus, organizational performance depends on good decision-making.

Decision-Making Process for Project Managers

Decision-Making Process for Project Managers

Four steps that can comprise a basic framework for project managers’ decision-making process are:

1) Identify the problem

2) Generate alternatives

3) Decide on a course of action

4) Implement

Ethical Dilemmas in Project Management

The bigger the project, the greater the potential for people or businesses to compromise their moral standards to finish the project on schedule and within budget. The outcomes of project managers and other stakeholders ignoring debatable activity are disastrous, like blown budgets, legal concerns, and even criminal charges, which are too frequent in today’s project environment. Moreover, many businesses are aiming for 100% automation and implementation in the project management process. The project managers need to take charge of these initiatives, which might result in ethical dilemmas involving stakeholders, technology, or communities.

Ethical dilemmas arise when circumstances contradict the project manager’s professional standards or moral values. The project managers must ensure that a project fulfills its social responsibility and well-being commitments by keeping its long-term goals in mind.

Ethical Dilemmas in Projects

Ethical Dilemmas in Projects

Some Ethical dilemmas in projects include

  1. Conflicts of interest

For project managers, conflict of interest is a major ethical concern. A conflict of interest occurs only when an individual or group has multiple interests in a project, which may hinder the integrity of the process.

  1. Accepting responsibility

When a project goes wrong, managers may be tempted to blame workers, supervisors, or vendors for protecting their position. The manager may also consider concealing any evidence that could implicate them in the project’s failure. However, when a project does not go as planned, project managers have an ethical responsibility to accept their failures and start focusing on finding solutions to problems and getting the project back on track.

  1. Maintain safety standards

Project managers who limit safety standards to save money eventually discover the high costs of not enforcing safety standards with their team. Conversely, a project manager who follows proper safety standards can save a project from incurring costs ranging from minor errors to severe injury or death.

  1. Favoritism and prejudice

A project leader must not “pick winners” or show bias toward team members. Project managers should choose the participants based on their abilities, not personal preferences. A project manager who shows prejudice toward workers based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or other criteria compromises the project’s integrity and exposes the company to a discrimination lawsuit.

  1. Health and Safety Concerns

Large enterprise projects have high risks and intense deadline pressure. This pressure, unfortunately, can occasionally cause stakeholders to overlook or even hide problems that could endanger the health and safety of project associates or the general public. Although these problems are more likely to occur in the manufacturing, healthcare, or construction sectors, project managers in all sectors should be ready to notify authorities whenever they spot a potentially dangerous situation.

Does project loyalty depend on the individual?

Ethical behavior is essential in all aspects of life, personal and professional. Being an ethical professional benefits everyone, both individually and on a societal and organizational level. Organizations that practice ethics can make their employees optimistic, boost their confidence, and increase their dedication. They can easily draw new clients and consumers due to their honest and ethical behavior, which can significantly improve the project’s sales and profits.

The project manager’s responsibility in Project Management is to manage projects effectively and ethically, as projects are the primary means by which organizations achieve their goals and objectives and develop new services and products. Suppose a new product development project is managed and executed with unethical decisions and actions. In that case, the product will fail to impress and attract customers, resulting in a huge failure and a significant loss in terms of time, project budget, and resources. Customers, clients, and employees value honest and ethical behavior. Thus, a project manager can ideally follow the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, which states that they must be honest, respectful, fair, and responsible.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta 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 http://talktodharam.com/

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 

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

 

Revisiting Project Successes & Failures

Revisiting Project Successes & Failures

A project can be a complex, nonroutine, one-time effort constrained by time, budget, schedule, satisfaction, quality, and scope to meet the customer’s needs. Today, many businesses prioritize project management because it focuses on meeting project objectives and achieving them successfully. Moreover, it got significant because it employs managerial processes and tools that give managers a good chance of achieving their project’s goal.

Project Management Today

Project management has become an essential part of various industrial segments because it crosses corporate and geographic boundaries, adapting to the unique characteristics of various businesses and teams. Here are some of the project trends on the project’s success/ failures.

Key Project Management Trends

Key Project Management Trends

The Most Important Project Management Trends for 2022

  • The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
  • Hybrid project management approaches are getting increased.
  • The significance of emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • A greater emphasis on data analytics and numbers
  • Tools and solutions for advanced project management
  • Increased use of remote working

Key Project Management Statistics 2022 (Success and Failures)

Project Success Statistics

  • Project management software is used by 77% of high-performing projects. (Hive, 2020)
  • 35% of organizations are somewhat satisfied with their project management maturity level. (Wellingtone, 2020)
  • 29% of projects are completed on time (Wellingtone, 2020).
  • Surprisingly, 54% of organizations lack access to real-time KPIs (Wellingtone, 2020).
  • Around 51% of organizations complete projects that meet the business objective or original goal. Meanwhile, 52% of organizations complete projects that meet the needs of stakeholders (KPMG, 2020).

 Project Failure Statistics

  • COVID-19 had a moderate or significant impact on 58% of organizations, causing project delays and cancellations (KPMG, 2020).
  • Organizations with low-value delivery maturity have a project failure rate of 21%, which is significantly higher than the failure rate of organizations with high-value delivery maturity, which is 11% (PMI, 2020).
  • 25% of organizations do not use technology suitable for team collaborations on informal projects, despite consuming 20% of their productive time at work (Wellingtone, 2020).
  • The most challenging obstacles to implementing agile techniques in an organization are resistance to change (48%), a lack of leadership participation (46%), and inconsistent practices across teams (45%). (Digital.ai, 2020).
  • 47% of agile projects are late, have budget overruns, or have dissatisfied customers (Scrum, 2021).
  • Understanding these statistics allows project professionals to prepare better for what comes next and make more informed decisions.

Success and Failure of Projects

The business environment is constantly changing, and meeting the customer’s ever-changing needs has become challenging. In addition, customers’ expectations increase as competition in the global market increases. This is sometimes reflected in the pressure that Project Managers face when attempting to provide the best possible value to their customers.

While project management is constantly improving, there are some challenges for which solutions have yet to be found. Global projects are typically getting complex, and as a result, a similar project may be successful in one part of the world while failing in another. Let’s look at the factors for successes and failures on similar projects, as well as how leadership style can help to improve project performance as a contributing factor to the project’s outcome.

Causes of project failure

A project is considered a failure if it fails to deliver on time within the estimated budget. Most project managers have felt the agony of a failed project. In fact, according to a Pulse of the Profession® survey 2021, 12% of projects in an organization failed in the previous year.

When a project is considered a failure?  

  1. First, the project did not meet the expectations.
  2. The client did not receive the desired deliverable.
  3. The work was not finished on time.
Reasons of Project Failure

Reasons of Project Failure

So here’s to planning ahead of time and avoiding these common project pitfalls.

  1. Unclear Goals And Objectives

Businesses that fail to set clear employee goals and objectives waste significant time and effort. The following are the consequences of ambiguous project goals and objectives.

  • Unclear objectives lead to ambiguous operational methods.
  • Individually, the level of performance can be justified.
  • It’s not always obvious when a project deviates from its original path.
  • People involved in a project cannot work to their full potential.
  1. Lack Of Resource Planning

In project management, resources refer to people, money, and materials.   Human resources are likely underutilized or overworked if you do not use a good task management tool.

Another critical aspect of project resource planning is financial planning. Projects with poor cost estimation and inconsistent tracking will almost certainly go over budget. In addition, project managers who do not understand how to track and manage finances are more likely to fail the project.

  1. Poor Communication 

Poor communication in the workplace can have disastrous consequences for the project, including poor collaboration and decreased productivity, resulting in stressed employees, dissatisfied customers, and workplace mistrust.

Whether it’s delayed communication, a lack of communication, or no communication at all, the fact is that the project is likely to fall through the cracks if the project professionals don’t have an effective communication strategy in place.

  1. Stakeholder Management Is Inadequate

Stakeholders have an inherent interest in the project, for better or worse. Project managers are responsible for identifying and communicating with all stakeholders promptly and without delays. Unfortunately, there are numerous reasons for poor stakeholder management, some of which are listed below.

  • Stakeholders are too narrowly defined.
  • Failure to strike a balance between compliance and strategic opportunities
  • Stakeholders are prematurely removing resources.
  • Stakeholders’ disinterest
  • Stakeholders are unaware of the project’s progress.

Engaged stakeholders provide support and insights to help a project succeed, whereas disengaged stakeholders can become barriers to success.

  1. Poorly Defined Project Scope

The project scope details everything you intend to do (and not going to do). In project management, scope creep refers to uncontrolled, continuous changes in the scope of a project. Conversely, a poorly defined project scope leads to scope creep, where the former is vaguely defined, documented, or controlled.

A project with an unclear project scope is more likely to fail and encounter a variety of issues, including:

  • Failure to meet customer expectations
  • Continual changes are being requested throughout the project’s life cycle.
  • The budget exceeds the allocated budget.
  • Failure to meet deadlines
  1. Inaccurate Cost And Time Estimates

Inaccurate cost and time estimate frequently result in team members making accurate predictions about the expected duration of tasks and the project’s cost based on an average duration of time and cost for previous projects.

Inaccurate estimates are frequently the result of two underlying causes:

  • Upfront planning
  • Poor estimation practices
  1. Inadequate Risk management

Risk management enables project managers to identify and analyze issues that may arise during the project and impede its progress. If risks are not effectively managed, they will likely emerge during the project’s later stages, causing significant scope creep. Conversely, poor risk management can lead to project delays, low user adoption, late assignments, overspent budgets, and project failure.

  1. Monitoring And Controlling

Monitoring and controlling the project is one of the lesser-known facts that project managers and their teams often overlook. However, a project manager needs to “track, review, and regulate the project’s progress; identify areas that require changes in the planning, and initiate the corresponding changes.”

Every effort should be made to keep the project on track, and if it falls behind budget or schedule, the plan should be adjusted to get the project back on track.

How to Recover a Failing Project?

Three key questions you can ask to quickly and clearly understand the project.

  1. Are the problems internal or external?

You can determine whether the source of the problem is internal (and thus correctable) or external (outside of your control).

Review project documents such as the charter, plan, and schedule for:

  • Requirements from relevant stakeholders.
  • A reasonable timetable with attainable goals.
  • Allocation of resources
  • A method of collecting and managing change requests.
  • Unexpected expenses (internal and external).
  • Success metrics.
  • A procedure for upholding quality standards.
  1. Why are we behind schedule?

Next, determine why the project is running late.

  • Were tasks properly prioritized?
  • Were tasks clearly explained?
  • Was the timetable overly ambitious?
  • How frequently did the project manager provide status updates?
  • Who made important project decisions?
  • Is there a record of decisions and change requests?
  • How were risks communicated and addressed?
  • Was the initial budget adequate?
  1. Is the team working effectively?

Finally, consider how well the team worked together.

  • Did the team understand the project’s goal and its roles and responsibilities?
  • Was the team using the same procedures and tools?
  • Did the team meet regularly to share updates and challenges?
  • Was a clear communication strategy in place?
  • Were the right people assigned to the project?
  • Were there any issues with suppliers or vendors?
Techniques for Recovering Failing Projects

Techniques for Recovering Failing Projects

Techniques for recovering failing projects

While failures are unavoidable in project management, project professionals can always learn from the failures to succeed in the future. So, let’s look at how project managers can ensure that their next project runs smoothly and that any potential problems are identified and resolved before they become too large to cause project failure.

  • Plan diligently and identify any gaps.
  • Communicate effectively and frequently.
  • Examine your Resources
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Use the Proper Methodology
  • Monitor Project Development

Strategic alignment in project management

Strategic alignment in project management refers to aligning project goals with your organization’s long-term vision and mission.

Contrary to popular belief, strategic alignment in project management does not only refer to establishing and maintaining key financial metrics. Instead, it’s a broad concept that encompasses everything from key financial and quality indicators to customer satisfaction, brand recognition, and value proposition.

Every project has a goal. While some may seek to provide a service or product, others may seek intangible benefits such as positive customer relationships or company goodwill. These strategic goals guide a project professional’s day-to-day business operations and help them turn their ideas into desired results.

Importance of Strategic Alignment in Project Management

  • Focus the energy in the right place
  • Allow for productive team collaboration
  • Describe the organization’s competitive advantages
  • Manage priorities that conflict
  • Avoid duplication.
  • Accept market manoeuvrability

Leadership performance is significant to project success

Effective leadership in project management is the ability to persuade people of the need for change, stimulate new ways of thinking and problem solving, and encourage them to achieve project objectives. Leadership also guides team members to grow as professionals while completing their project responsibilities.

Today’s evidence-based theories of leadership can be characterized into six major classes, which include:

  • Attributes
  • Behavior
  • Contingency
  • Visionary
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Competency
PMI's Talent Triangle

PMI’s Talent Triangle

PMI’s Talent Triangle – How to Stand Out as a Successful Project Manager

Project managers must be more agile and resourceful than ever to keep up with and make an impact in a fast-changing world. PMI has always been dedicated to assisting project professionals in developing strong skills. Nonetheless, project managers now require a skill set that includes a variety of disciplines and practices, as well as other in-demand skills.

To assist project professionals in navigating this changing world of work and embracing smarter ways of working, project professionals need to focus on:

  • Ways of Working: Formerly Technical Project Management
  • Power Skills: Formerly Leadership
  • Business Acumen: Formerly Strategic and Business Management

Factors of project success

Project success has been defined as a project that meets its objectives on time and within budget. A development project’s success extends beyond meeting schedule and budget objectives. It also includes meeting the expectations of beneficiaries, stakeholders, donors, and funding agencies. However, defining these dimensions of success is more complicated and can only be assessed years after the project is completed.

Measuring project success after the fact is important because it aids in determining future strategies when planning new projects. Continuous improvement based on data from past projects enables project managers to identify problems before they occur. Using past data allows new processes to be implemented with fewer errors and greater management success.

Factors of Project Success

Factors of Project Success

Here are some of the factors for the project’s success:

  1. Goals and objectives

The project’s overall goal is specified and recognized by all stakeholders; it is not at odds with subsidiary objectives, and project leaders have a clear vision of the project’s outcomes.

  1. Capable sponsors

Sponsors play an active role in the project’s life cycle; they bear ultimate responsibility and accountability for the project’s outcomes.

  1. Secure funding

The project has a secure funding base; contingency funding is recognized from the start, and budgets are strictly regulated to ensure maximum value is realized.

  1. Project planning and review

Pre-project planning is thorough and considered; progress is monitored regularly and carefully; the project has realistic time schedules, active risk management, and a post-project review.

  1. End users and operators

End users or operators are involved in the project’s design; the project team works with users who can effectively and efficiently implement what the project has produced.

  1. Aligned supply chain 

All direct and indirect suppliers know the project’s requirements, timelines, and quality standards. As a result, the supply chain’s higher and lower tiers are coordinated.

  1. Proven methods and tools

Good project management tools, methods, and techniques are used to maintain an effective balance of flexibility and robustness.

  1. Appropriate standards 

Quality standards are actively used to drive output quality. In addition, other standards are regularly monitored to ensure delivery at the best practice levels.

Knowing what success factors are important at the end of a project is critical for assessing how that project went and making changes for the next one. It is critical to understand what distinguishes success from failure.

By investing time in learning about the future of project management, project professionals will be better prepared to capitalize on new opportunities and develop their skill set accordingly. So many opportunities for growth and success are on the horizon; use these trends and factors to propel your company, projects, and team to new heights!

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

 

 

 

 

Project Management Challenges In “DIGITAL AGE”

Project Management Challenges In “DIGITAL AGE”

Artificial Intelligence, the most common and vibrant technical term in the 21st century, has begun to rule the world stage with its intelligent functionalities. There is no doubt that AI is transforming the productivity and workflow of various industries around the world. However, there may be a constant concern about human job opportunities in the coming years. Organizations have gradually realized that Artificial Intelligence requires collaboration with human employees, and ample job opportunities are emerging.

Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Project Management

Project management has evolved significantly in the last decades. According to an IPMA & PwC report, 56% of organizations has already digital transformation projects, including AI adoption. The current adoption of AI among project professionals is expected to move from 27% to 35% in the next three years.

The organization must consider that successfully implementing projects in the digital age necessitates new skills and different focus areas for project managers. There is a growing demand for digital literacy, critical thinking, and creativity skills, replacing traditional project management skills such as teamwork, communication, and the ability to build effective relationships.

Benefits of AI in Project Management

Benefits of AI in Project Management

Benefits of AI in Project Management

Aggregating task statuses to generate weekly status reports, calculating the budget implications of increasing scope and timeline, and performing risk modeling are all functions that an AI technique in your project management software can provide. Here are a few more advantages of AI-enhanced project management:

  1. Employees receive personalized coaching based on their learning habits.
  2. Increasing project success by releasing resources from routine operational tasks.
  3. Observe how a project is progressing and make educated predictions about its future.
  4. AI can keep track of budgets and schedules.
  5. Capability to manage complex analytics.
  6. With its unique ability to monitor patterns, AI is a capable project manager’s assistant.

Digital Skills for Project Managers

Businesses are creating better products and stronger customer relationships at an unprecedented rate. They rely on a workforce with the necessary skills and experience to deal with the effects of disruptive technologies. Organizations combine those experts with data and digital tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning that allow for agility and speed.

Digital Skills for Project Managers

Digital Skills for Project Managers

Top Six digital-age skills for Project Delivery

1. Data Science Skills

Data science is the umbrella term for data management, analytics, and big data. It focuses on Project Managers’ ability to extract meaningful knowledge from available data to improve project outcomes. Data science is expected to play an increasingly important role in all stages of project development, from planning to completion.

2. Innovative Mindset

Today’s project teams are being asked to do more with less. That means that Project Managers who can think creatively and find new ways to achieve great results will be in high demand in the job market. Skills and experience are no longer sufficient. It is now critical to provide examples of one innovative mindset in the workplace.

3. Security and Privacy Knowledge

Today, most businesses and individuals are concerned about data security. In addition to the legal requirements, there is a general expectation that all personal and project data is handled securely. This skill is becoming increasingly important as more projects rely on digital information systems.

The best Project Managers contribute to the security of the projects they manage. They are aware of the requirements and collaborate closely with their IT and legal teams to ensure that data security guidelines are incorporated into each step of project delivery.

4. Legal and Regulatory Compliance Knowledge

Ensuring the project is legal and regulatory compliant is not new. Leading Project Managers are always aware of this. The difference that the digital age brings is the growing need to act as a bridge between project teams and the IT, Legal, and Data Protection teams, all of which are critical to the process but need little understanding of each other’s areas of expertise.

5. Ability to Make Data Driven Decisions

Using data to make sound business decisions is core to the best practice of project management. Today’s challenge is synthesizing the massive amount of data available to gain useful insights that propel a project forward. Data is only useful if it is appropriately interpreted. The best project managers use cutting-edge tools to make informed decisions and gain an advantage.

6. Collaborative Leadership Skills

Because of remote working, outsourcing, and cross-functional teams spread across multiple locations, Project Managers today require collaborative solid leadership skills more than ever. Their ability to establish standards and bring team members together (even if only virtually) for the sake of the project is becoming increasingly important. Project managers who can implement collaborative platforms and work management tools to improve their team’s work will outperform their competitors.

An Emotionally Intelligent Project Manager

Emotional intelligence can be referred to as our ability to recognize, control, and communicate emotions. People with high emotional intelligence understand how they feel, what their feelings imply, and how their feelings affect others. In interpersonal situations, it is also the ability to empathize with others. Emotional intelligence is about creating a positive work environment, which is critical to the success of any project.

According to a LiquidPlanner study, most project managers commit approximately 10% of their time to people-related activities. Top project managers dedicate 70% of their time to these activities. As a result, emotional intelligence is critical to project success.

EI skills that a Project Managers require

EI skills that a Project Managers require

Some EI skills that project managers require are:

  • Intra – Personal – Ability to know and manage yourself
  • Inter–Personal – Your ability to interact and get along with others
  • Adaptability – Ability to be flexible and to solve a wide range of problems
  • Stress Management – – Ability to manage stress
  • General Mood – Ability to be positive and in a good mood
Project Managers with Emotional Intelligence

Project Managers with Emotional Intelligence

Emotionally Intelligent Project Managers

Project managers with high emotional intelligence have a better chance of success, better physical and mental health, good work relationships, and lower stress levels. Project managers with emotional intelligence can also:

  • Successfully manage difficult situations
  • Express themselves clearly
  • More flexible
  • Solution-oriented
  • Keep cool under pressure
  • Motivate themselves to get things done
  • Have a growth mindset

Project Leadership in “DIGITAL AGE”

Over the last decade, the project management practice has evolved from a simple guide for project managers to a deeper understanding of organizational maturity and business agility. However, to capture the true essence of organizational maturity and business agility, the project management practice needed to evolve again, this time by adapting to the needs of the digital world.

According to a PMI’s report, “‘The Project Manager of the Future,”‘which surveyed over 450 HR professionals, over three-quarters of these organizations recognized the importance of project managers understanding disruptive technologies. They were actively recruiting project professionals with specialized skill sets required to manage the impact of disruptive technologies. But what are these skill sets?

Skills to manage the impact of disruptive technologies

Skills to manage the impact of disruptive technologies

  • Technology
  • Mindset
  • Operating Model
  • Business Agility
The Digital Space and its Components

The Digital Space and its Components

Beyond using digital transformation as a token, project managers must gain a thorough understanding of the digital space and its various components, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR).

Qualities of a Project Leader in Digital Age

Qualities of a Project Leader in Digital Age

Along with that, the project leader must have these qualities in the digital age:

  1. A human with a “Magical wand”
  2. Continuous learning & fail fast attitude
  3. Strong affinity for novelty
  4. Work smarter than harder
  5. Breaking industry boundaries for a shared future
  6. Better Understanding of Innovation & Creativity
  7. Never consider digital as the only outcome

Digital transformation in project management is more of a collective mindset than a task that can be checked off as completed. It describes a vision that needs constant improvement and encourages future innovation and growth.

3C's need to be followed by project leadership in the digital age

3C’s need to be followed by project leadership in the digital age

Here are the 3C’s need to be followed by project leadership in the digital age:

  • Calm – Inspire more trust and better performance.
  • Connect – People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, and People will never forget how you made them feel that moment.
  • Communicate – The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

Challenges faced by Project leadership Teams

1. Disconnected & disengaged remote workforce

HR leaders and project managers nowadays, regardless of industry or size of business, assume that connecting with people within the organization is becoming increasingly difficult. Remote working, prompted by the pandemic, has only exacerbated the situation. But why is having a connected workforce important?

A well-connected workforce means employees and the company’s vision, mission, and values are connected. Employees who might feel isolated and disconnected from the business and its goals and objectives, regardless of where they work, are likely to feel disengaged and demotivated, which may affect productivity and efficiency at work. Here are some ideas for how businesses can manage disengagement and create a more connected workforce.

  • Use technology to stay connected
  • Recognize the good work
  • Implement Open Culture

2. Uncertainty in decision making

Project managers strive to conform to all elements and avoid uncertainty in project management to ensure the success of their endeavor. However, no one can predict the future. Working on large, complex projects, such as those in technology, frequently entails high uncertainty in terms of time, cost, and scope, as well as uncontrollable external forces such as inflation, regulation, and financing constraints. These factors can impact a project management system’s ability to assist managers in leading and monitoring projects. Therefore, the project management must comprehend the process of applying decision analysis techniques to the practice of project management, like:

  1. A process that can assist project managers in improving their ability to make decisions under uncertain conditions.
  2. A process that can assist project managers in confronting
  3. Resolving the realities of the project management—uncertainty, external influences, and risk.
Challenges faced by Project Leadership Teams

Challenges faced by Project Leadership Teams

3. Loss of company culture

Employee attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors, and underlying assumptions comprise organizational culture. Furthermore, culture is important because it forms the foundation of the business logic applied to any specific decision or problem; there is a minimal chance that something will be done that violates the culture because it would mean contradicting fundamental beliefs.

An organization’s culture, which is not supportive of project management, may be perceived as an additional burden and an impediment to daily work.

4. Lack of alignment

Project success begins with good project management practices and a good team. But how do you make sure they’re in sync? Especially when alignment requirements can take many forms, such as alignment to the overall strategy, stakeholder expectations, mandated processes or policy, or delivering the right things at the right time and in the right way.

Moreover, business organizations may require precise alignment of project strategy to prevent projects from duplicating work or producing useless deliverables to reduce waste and manage costs. Strategic thinking is one way to foster the game-changing power of aligned organizational strategy to project outcomes.

5. Low morale

Employee morale is employees’ attitude, contentment, loyalty, and willingness to give their all and actively contribute to their employer’s success. It’s also about how they feel about their job and workplace.

Strategies to improve Employee Morale at your workplace

Strategies to improve Employee Morale at your workplace

If the employee morale is low, it may reduce motivation and efficiency. Employees with low morale produce only the bare minimum of work. As a capable leader, improving workplace morale should be one of your top priorities. According to an SHRM survey, 67 percent of employers find it challenging to maintain employee morale. However, the good news is that the following strategies can help immediately improve employee morale at your workplace.

  • Be prepared to manage change
  • Challenge your employees
  • Conduct team-building activities
  • Pay attention to your employees’ physical and mental health
  • Spend money on training and development
Tips to improve project performance at your organization

Tips to improve project performance at your organization

Revamp Project Team Performance

A combination of managerial skills and software tools are used to improve project performance. Ensure that the team understands the goal of every project, has access to open communication channels, and understands the importance of tasks. In addition, project management software can create consistent project plans and automate time tracking and billing to improve project performance. Here are some tips to improve project performance at your organization.

  • Process Orientated to People Orientated
  • Reactive Approach to Proactive Approach
  • Binary Metrics to Holistic Analysis
  • Scheduled Retros to Real-Time Pulse
  • Individual Evaluation to Team Evaluation

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick Lencioni, the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” examines why effective teams are so rare and offer specific recommendations for removing barriers that lead to dysfunctional teams. The work of Lencioni outlines the causes of team dysfunction and what can be done to overcome each one.

5 Dysfunctions of a Team

5 Dysfunctions of a Team

The five dysfunctions which have been compared with project management are:

  1. Absence of Trust – Teams that lack trust conceals flaws and mistakes, are hesitant to seek assistance, make assumptions about the intentions of others, harbor grudges, and dread meetings.
  1. Fear of Conflict – Fear of conflict results from a lack of trust. Most companies’ employees are more concerned with politics and personal risk management than problem-solving. As a result, meetings are frequently boring because contentious issues are avoided.
  1. Lack of Commitment – When teams avoid conflict, they fear failure. These teams struggle to make decisions and constantly second-guess themselves.
  1. Avoidance of Accountability – Second-guessing and a lack of common objectives lead to an inability to develop performance standards. Team members miss deadlines and produce mediocre results.
  1. Inattention to results – When teams lack focus and clear objectives, team members become stagnant, distracted, and self-centered.

High-performance teams

High-performance work teams are critical to how most organizations perform and carry out their work, resulting in superior performance and a significant competitive advantage. A high-performance team also requires the following to function effectively:

  • Uplift the quality of work.
  • Mentor guidance to increase productivity.
  • Peer-to-Peer monitoring & building a competitive environment.
  • Facilitating & enriching the team to handle emerging project delivery practices.

Nurturing the Right Culture

Building an organization’s strong project management culture opens the door to numerous benefits and improves customer service. Organizations with solid project cultures operate under a unique value system that aligns each team member with objectives and goals on a budget, time, and target. Professionals today are expected to demonstrate a wide range of skills and juggle multiple organizational tasks.

Steps to create High-Performance Culture

Steps to create High-Performance Culture

5 Steps Involved in Creating High-Performance Culture

  1. Fostering an environment to encourage innovation.
  2. Adapting to new and disruptive technology shifts.
  3. Creating a culture that views disruptive technologies as an opportunity to evolve the best practices.
  4. Encouraging project managers to take advantage of flexible practices that allow them to evolve project scope/requirements due to rapid technological changes.
  5. Expecting project managers to adapt to new opportunities and challenges to succeed in the age of digital disruption.

Conclusion

To capitalize on all opportunities created by technological disruption, the most forward-thinking organizations rely on the power of project leaders. One significant competitive advantage is where project leaders are prepared, willing, and able to assist their organizations in surviving and truly thriving in the face of massive change.

However, innovative organizations recognize that project leaders with the necessary digital-era skill sets do not appear by chance. As a result, innovators understand the importance of investing in three key areas:

  • Skills, training, and development
  • Tools and approaches
  • Culture

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

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