Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

The Difference Between Really Effective Project Managers and Those Who Muddle Through

~ By Project Smart

Businessman making different facial expressions

Project management is what project managers do, not what project management software or a methodology does. No software exists that will deliver a project on time and budget all by itself. No matter how good the software or methodology, it is only as good as the people using it. Even the most expensive system is only a tool, whatever amazing tricks it can do. And no matter how sophisticated it is - software like Microsoft Project or a methodology like PRINCE2 can only be used as a tool, not a crutch. The direction must come from outside.

An effective project manager is someone who understands this and knows how to provide the necessary leadership to guide projects in, on time and budget. Hard-and-fast goals require soft skills.

Successful project management is about planning, not guessing, and successful leaders draw from their repertoire of soft skills to guide and influence project teams and stakeholders. Team members respond to leaders who persuade by example.

Good managers demonstrate strong personal ownership of a project because that is what leaders do. But ownership and oversight go hand in hand with the ability to delegate, coach and communicate to team members in ways that are clear and consistent.

Ownership applied here, moreover, does not mean doing everything yourself. That is not only exhausting but self-defeating. It is also demoralising to your team. By not delegating appropriately, you are sending a message that you lack confidence in your teams' abilities to achieve project goals and objectives.

In the pressure to get the job done, managers may be tempted to shortcut the process of team building by acting on their own or shouldering too much. It often seems quicker and easier to do something oneself than to take the time and trouble to teach someone else how to do it. But a good coach knows that team members must learn their assigned tasks to earn their self-confidence. Coaching is education, a process of explaining, mentoring, and motivating, in terms that are intelligible and meaningful to each individual.

Project teams and their leaders need time to learn how to function together, and this is a process that requires care and patient oversight. Unlike the software or methodologies they use, project managers and the teams they lead are not pre-programmed. Successful team leaders need good people skills, or they won't be very successful. And team members need leaders with good soft skills, or they won't be very successful teams. Project management software and methodologies are great tools to make projects happen, but they do not function on their own, or in a vacuum. They work because people do - together.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Is it true or false that red is a number?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Project Management Maturity Model

Five maturity levels concept

The concept of a project management maturity model has evolved considerably from the software industry. Where does your organisation sit on the maturity model?

Taming MS Project

Gantt chart and plan

Microsoft Project can become a huge overhead, even for seasoned project managers. This article contains some tips and tricks that will help you tame the tool.

How to Get the Most From Your Project Team

Project team in a huddle

Project management is people management. Here's our reminder of how to make sure you get the most from your project team.

But What is Best for the Customer?

Four business people's hands holding puzzle pieces

Ideally our project management methodology in a box process works perfectly for everyone. But clients come in all types and sizes and one size doesn't fit all.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Leanore Medrano commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Sat 21 October 6:17pm

Keith Rickman commented on…
Reasons Why Projects Fail
- Tue 17 October 8:47pm

Shertina Jones commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Sun 15 October 5:35pm

Latest tweets

Make Me a Project Manager in 2018 https://t.co/JZ67Ij6h4I Are you embarking on your career or considering a career change? #projectsmart about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Re: Tracking Multiple Projects - Best Methods? https://t.co/tSBlMWo1rt #projectsmart #pmot about 3 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Online PM Tools https://t.co/0KnjXkO7mT #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago