Challenges

Peter Fielder, Project Management Council Chairman, BAE Systems, Farnborough Hampshire, U.K.

Peter Fielder, Project Management Council Chairman, BAE Systems, Farnborough Hampshire, U.K.

TO BE A GREAT LEADER, you have to address challenges head on. You must be able to balance the scale and complexity of the project challenge with your capability to deliver if you are to succeed. As leaders, project managers must understand what drives complexity and what drives capability, and must find the relationship between the two.

In essence, project managers are faced with a two-fold challenge: By definition, project managers must efficiently and effectively execute projects. But to excel as leaders, they also must maintain a big-picture view. First, they must balance stakeholder interests—internal and external—and keep both sides in sync over time. Second, they must understand customers' requirements, address their changing needs and manage the dynamics of those changes. However, they must also manage those changes throughout the enterprise and in the supply chain.

Succeeding requires project leadership skills and behaviors. BAE Systems is an organization of projects; our largest projects (contracts and future orders) total about £75 billion and represent 60 to 70 percent of throughput. With world-class project management processes, tools and technologies—and training people in their use—we are able to improve predictability, reliability and execute our programs consistently. So, establishing a culture and environment under which project execution is a priority was an important issue.

Leadership behavior is a critical issue in any organization, and we have invested heavily in our own leadership training. Since implementing project management training and listening to our stakeholders' concerns, our performance has improved. Essentially, by developing its leaders, BAE is better able to address any and all challenges that come our way.

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PHOTO BY BOB BARKANY

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LEADERSHIP / 2006 / WWW.PMI.ORG
LEADERSHIP / 2006

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