Delivering your strategic agenda; project management – Part 2 of 3

In the previous article we looked at 3 elements which will help in delivering the overall business agenda: having your own project management system, training and creating your own project office. In this article we look at 3 further elements that will help you and the company deliver your overall agenda.

Senior managers, are they on board?John Kotter suggested that: “When is the urgency rate high enough? From what I have seen, it is when 75% of the company’s management is honestly convinced that business as usual is totally unacceptable” Harvard Business Review 1995.

In this case, “business as usual” is an ad hoc approach to project management where delivery to time, to budget and to specification is as a much a matter of good fortune as good practice.

Senior managers need to ensure that projects are properly commissioned, are delivered effectively, and that the benefits set out in the business case are really delivered. They also need training to ensure they fulfil their roles in projects effectively.

In other words, continuing to do projects as we have done them before is not acceptable.

Develop project leadership skills: senior managers need to play their leadership role in project management effectively. Senior managers will set the tone of the project management culture and will need (as many people on our courses request) to lead by example.

This group need to be trained and developed to:

  • sit on project boards
  • act as a project sponsor
  • ensure project governance and accountability is effective – monitoring and controlling the project

With trained senior managers leading your project culture, the organisation has a solid example to follow.

Project boards: are they really adding value to the overall project management process? When groups are asked this I often get a resounding no!

Many effective project organisations have Project Boards – sometimes called Steering Groups. These are small groups (5 people ideally – we suggest 7 as a maximum) who:

  • provide direction and oversight
  • make critical project decisions
  • can obtain access to project resources for the project manager

Project boards play a significant role in larger projects and it is important to ensure that:

  • you have the right level of people on Project Boards
  • the Project Board are very clear about their role and in turn the project manager is clear about their role and accountabilities
  • they add real value to the project
  • Board members have the right skills to play thier role effectively

Tthink about the training needs of those who sit on project boards or steering groups. A well run and effective project board can really make a difference to delivering your agenda.

This is the second of three articles. Article one can be found here. Look out for article 3 in this series. It will appear here very soon.

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One Response to Delivering your strategic agenda; project management – Part 2 of 3

  1. Christine says:

    Thank you for a great post. For interested in more from John Kotter I recently participated in a great program by John that is still available on-demand. It came with a great participant guide filled with activities to work on the skills neccessary to drive change in an organization. Below is a clip from that program

    http://www.linkageinc.com/disl/preview_demo.aspx?a=311bdf60-d837-4ea5-80f9-7b53bfa9b26f

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