Tag Archives: PMOT

Why Project Management is Not a Democracy

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: March 3, 2013

carthage700x500The year is 216 B.C.  Two mighty armies face each other on the hills of Cannae, Italy.  On one side, Hannibal – the military genius – commands the Carthaginian army; on the other, two tribunes share the command of a Roman army outnumbering the Carthaginians almost two to one.

Within hours, the Roman army is completely decimated, despite its size and military might.  How was this possible?  Of course, a lot had to do with Hannibal’s military and leadership acumen, but what doomed the Romans most was the lack of a single point of command combined with a rigid and uninspired troop movement.

As a direct result of the battle of Cannae, the Roman military strategy changed forever.  A unified command was instantly seen as a necessity and was immediately implemented.  Led by veterans, smaller and more agile units were established and rapidly deployed in the field.  These changes gave birth to one of the most successful and precise fighting forces of the ancient world.

Project management implements similar strategies to those of a battle; it’s a battle where you depend on time, resources and technology to achieve the ultimate goal – completing the project within the client’s requirements.  For that, you have to make the following elements work for you:

1. A UNIFIED COMMAND SYSTEM:  Establish a single, unique authority, and avoid the confusion of shared leadership.  Even if you’re given the opportunity to work on one of those dream projects that could boost your career but your participation is conditioned on sharing leadership with another individual, simply resist the urge and refuse participation – the project is doomed to fail.  When failure happens, and it will happen, you naturally look for a cause.  Two individuals might think they can share command, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll share responsibility for the project, especially if failure is a strong probability.  On the contrary, they will blame each other during the project as well as after it fails.

2. TROOP MOBILITY & CREATIVITY:  These elements will also affect the outcome of your project.  Your group members should have a sense of purpose, an over-arching goal that needs to be accomplished.  Most importantly, you have to be the one creating that sense of purpose day in and day out.  You should also give them the latitude to take the actions necessary to meet goals; instead of reacting like robots, they should be able to actively respond to project events.

Finally, you have to motivate your staff in such way that it gives them irresistible momentum.  But before you establish momentum, you must have the talent to recognize the synergies of the group and to understand the structure and skills of your group.  You have to build mobility and creativity within the very structure of your group so that they can function on their own, adapt to fluid situations, and come up with solutions to possible problems.

Unless you adapt your leadership style to the weaknesses of your group, you will almost certainly end up with a break in the chain of command.  You are the one establishing the proper chain of command.  You are the one controlling it – it is your creation, and one that requires your constant attention and care.  Ignore it, and your project will fail.

3. COMMUNICATION LINES:  Finally, as Project Manager, you have to pay attention to the style, form and substance of your communications.  Vague orders are just as worthless now as they were 2,000 years ago in the hills of Cannae.  Pepper them with lots of minutia, and boredom will descend upon your staff.  Ignorance will soon follow.

It is critical that you are clear about the tasks that need to be completed.  You must know what you want before you ask others to produce it.  However, if your requests are too specific, full of details or even too narrow, then you will encourage people to behave like robots, and they will stop thinking for themselves.  If your orders are vague and halfhearted, then by the time they are put in practice, they will be meaningless.  Do not leave room for interpretation.  The tasks should be clear and have enough documentation that every group member understands what needs to be accomplished and, most importantly, why.

The successful Project Manager will master the art of walking the fine line of being a leader while juggling several other talents:

  • Never share command of a project.  You yourself earn and own the success or failure of a project.
  • Understand that, although communication is a two-way street, the final decision rests with you.
  • Establish a dynamic environment where troops strive to complete the project not because it’s their job but because they share your vision.

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Claudiu Geanta is currently a Sr. Project Manager for Precision Design Studios and has over 15 years of managerial experience in technology operations, systems design, software deployment and business development.

He lives in Burbank, California with his wife Andreea and their 16-year-old daughter, Bianca.

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2013 Project Management Trends to Watch

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: December 27, 2012

This is a Guest Post by Alan Dyer, PMP.

In these uncertain economic times, Project Managers, in 2013, will play an even more important role in determining the project portfolios of organizations as well as ensuring project success.  The key trends I see are:

  1. Determining the ROI / Cost Benefit Analysis on proposed projects.   I believe PMs will play an even more critical role in developing the business case and ROI analysis of individual projects prior to project initiation.  As a PM you may need to re-educate yourself on the process for developing the business case as well as employing the appropriate ROI / Cost Benefit Analysis techniques necessary for the organization to make the appropriate project decisions.
  2. Quicker Time to Market. With the uncertainty of the economic environment organizations are looking for ways to get their products to market sooner.  Therefore, development  techniques such as Agile are being used more regularly.  That being said, PMs need to better understand those methods and be able to readily apply a project management methodology that provides the appropriate documentation and control of the project without undermining or slowing time to market.
  3. The continued “projectization” of organizations. While IT departments have typically been the driver of using project based methodologies to deliver feature and functionality, Business departments are beginning to realize the that there viability will only come from project based methodologies.  More and more organizations are realizing that projects are a vehicle of change and project can be used to easily link both the Business and IT departments in using one unifying methodology that delivers success across the organization.
  4. The growth of Project Management Offices. Organization can no longer tolerate nor afford troubled or failed projects.  That being said, companies are turning to PMOs to help them develop the techniques, tools, documentation, and standard methodologies, and Project Management Standards to ensure each project has the necessary tools, process, and oversight / rigor needed to help them be successful.

Alan Dyer is the Owner / CEO of The Project Delivery Group, which provides, Project Management, Business, and Technical Consulting Services.  Alan primarily focuses on failed or troubled project recovery.  He has been very successful in turning around several failed projects for State and Local Governments as well as fortune 500 and 100 companies.  The Project Delivery Group delivers success “one project at a time.”

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Ocean State PMI Pinpoints Innovation

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: November 13, 2012

Ocean State PMI November Chapter Meeting

Last week, Bridge had the pleasure of sponsoring the November Ocean State PMI Chapter meeting. This PMI gathering was like no other we’ve attended.  Over 100 PMs in the area were present, and we think it’s safe to say everyone left feeling refreshed and ready to tackle their next project, or whatever bump in the road awaits them on their current assignment!

Attendees were treated to a very entertaining and interactive presentation by Dr. Jerry Brightman of The Leadership Group.  He spoke on the topic of “Reintroducing Project Managers to Their Lost Creativity and Innovation” and, throughout his presentation, incorporated several breakout sessions encouraging team and individual creative brainstorms.

Here are some of the live-tweets we sent out during the meeting of the takeaways we felt were most striking.  Hopefully you will find some inspiration in these abbreviated (140-character) messages.

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