Fill the Vacuum

Proactive Project Professionals Can Help Organizations See the Value of Real Leadership

By Marat Oyvetsky, PMP

It's an odd thing to note in 2018: At many organizations, there's a project leadership vacuum. I see this in many IT business units I encounter. There are plenty of projects in motion, of course. Many companies just choose not to view project management as a core competency that supports successful planning and delivery. Instead, internal engineering teams are responsible for executing their own projects.

Although this can empower engineers, it also can lead to messes. I've seen these negative consequences in many circumstances:

▪ Undefined requirements

▪ Poor budgeting estimation

▪ Unclear project vision and goals

▪ Delivery delays due to competing company interests and priorities

▪ Unfinished projects and programs

▪ Resource gaps (and resultant frustration)

▪ Silos across various divisions, departments and the overall business

Step Right Up

However, even organizations that do not value or invest in project management occasionally bring in project professionals to run special tecÚology projects or programs critical to the business. And therein lies an opportunity to prove the power of project leadership. In these circumstances, a proactive project or program manager can align the initiatives' strategy with overall business goals and other projects in motion, and ensure its success.

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Here are three crucial steps project leaders should take to engage the business and bring strategy, alignment and process to organizations.

Map the Landscape

Go beyond the organizational chart by creating a diagram of major stakeholders and mapping them to the projects they support or manage.

Consider the Big Picture

Meet with individual stakeholders and map out the business's key tecÚology initiatives in a three- to five-year time frame. Once dates for initiatives are established, link them to specific projects to understand how they support—or hinder—the organization.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Once projects, priority initiatives and stakeholders have been identified and mapped, communicate with key sponsors within the business to ensure they will advocate for mission-critical projects. Make clear that if they want to support successful delivery, they need to get serious about ensuring appropriate resource allocation and mitigating organizational obstacles that may arise.

Some companies still have not seen the light when it comes to the power of project management. Project managers need to seize opportunities to help organizations realize the benefits of things like schedules and resource requirements. If you can do this, you won't just receive kudos for successfully delivering the project or program. You'll also be asked to help replicate that success across the organization's project portfolio—which is an opportunity to polish your profile as a true project leader. PM

img Marat Oyvetsky, PMP, is program director at Trace3, San Diego, California, USA.

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