Archive for July, 2009

We all dream of projects where objectives are clearly defined, mutually understood, where every team member knows which role to play, which responsibilities to fill, where constructive feedback is daily routine, lessons learned are shared across teams, and, last but not least, where teams deliver results, on time and in budget.

Way too often this stays a dream. The opposite may be the case: The scope is undefined, stakeholders expectations are not aligned, roles and responsibilities only vaguely defined but not agreed, antagonism and distrust widespread, isolated and insular work practices dominate actual team work, and deliverables are late and/or of poor quality.

The big question is how to get out of this mess, how to re-align the project.  In late spring I conducted an online survey on this topic.

In total 29 people participated in this online survey over a time period of about 8 weeks.  This is certainly not a representative number.  Still, the results indicate important insights about team involvement and project re-alignment.

Some of these insights I have incorporated in my presentation “It Takes a Team To Re-Align a Project:  Lessons from Rescue Missions” at the PMI Global Congress in Orlando, Florida (Oct 10-13, 2009) and the corresponding article.

Please go to http://www.tinyurl.com/TJEP-TeamRescue to view the results of the survey.

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Today I have finished a new book proposal.  I keep the title to myself – at least for the time being.  Still, let me tell you about its content:

The book is going to be about the 5 principles of effective project leadership and how they can be applied in daily project work.  The 5 principles are

(1) building vision,

(2) nurturing collaboration,

(3) enacting performance,

(4) promoting learning, and

(5) ensuring results.

These 5 principles are not based on another theory or management concept.  They are founded in my own experience in project management and review of literature on leadership, project management, business, systems and complexity theory.  This literature is important and valuable.  Yet, I do not want to write a literature review on the various books on project leadership.  While this, too, may be a valuable exercise, it is not my intention.

Instead I want to write a practical book.  I will explain my 5 principles of effective leadership in simple and non-technical language and show how they can help set up, manage and align projects for success.  I will not focus on a specific kind of project, say IT projects.  The project examples will come from all kinds of environments, professional and non-professional.  This way I can show that the principles are universal and independent of the nature of a project.

In the next couple of weeks I will keep you posted on the progress of the book (both on this blog and twitter).  Stay tuned!

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