Friday, October 09, 2009

Project Management ... should it be Project Leadership?

The more I work on project management roles, the more I think it should really be project leadership. While the management aspects of PM are significant, the results most of the times depend on the leadership skills of the PM much more than on the management aspects.

Why? Well, team members have a lot to do. Many times they are in multiple teams or roles. While a Gantt chart, to do list, or some other tool you may use as a PM may tell people what they need to do when, it's those items that people know how they fit in the overall scheme of things, those that the leader expects them to deliver on, that are done.

It is critical that team members understand how their piece of the project fits in the overall effort and why it is important. This understanding provides additional motivation that will ensure they continue delivering even if the PM is not monitoring them.

But other considerations come into play too. Recently I've been asked to lead a couple of non-profit volunteer efforts. I've found myself having to regularly work to keep the teams discussions focused, as they tend to ramble otherwise. It is not that the team members don't care, they do. It is not that they don't understand how their piece fits into the effort, they do. But they also want to share a lot of information, some of it relevant to the subject. As PM/PL (project leader, probably a better term) I need to drive the conversation while not being dictatorial so that we get the goal accomplished in the time available.

So, PMs, keep your management skills sharp but work on those leadership skills to ensure success.

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