Project Leadership, Managing Project Teams, and Stakeholders
Order ID 53563633773 Type Essay Writer Level Masters Style APA Sources/References 4 Perfect Number of Pages to Order 5-10 Pages
Project Leadership, Managing Project Teams, and Stakeholders
The ability of the project manager to communicate effectively, coordinate activities, and be the source of the truth for stakeholders of the project is essential to project success. With that in mind, he or she manages the scope, schedule, budget, and project risk. More importantly, the project manager is a leader; providing data and information so that stakeholders can make informed decisions and team members can achieve their goals.
Leading Versus Managing a Project
The origin of the word management and leadership provides valuable insight into the difference between management and leadership. The origin of manage comes from the Italian, maneggiare (to handle, especially tools or a horse), which derives from the two Latin words manus (hand) and agere (to act) and influenced the development of the English word management in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its origin demonstrates its tactical nature, a handling approach that drives for results, like a horse being managed in the dressage ring. The word leadership comes from prehistoric West and North Germanic laithjan, which was derived from laitho, meaning way or journey, from which comes the English word load. Etymologically then, lead means cause to go along one’s way.
At its foundation, leadership is about influence and causing others to proceed in a certain way.
“A research report published by Business Improvement Architects, “From Crisis to Control: A New Era in Strategic Project Management,” identified that while organizations are looking to develop leadership talent with special projects, in fact, the lack of project management competency is a huge concern for them as individuals are asked to lead projects without any tools or processes to validate their skills, knowledge and experience. There is also a lack of process to identify developmental opportunities to increase the competency level of these leaders and of their team members.” (Stanleigh,2005)
Leadership is cited most often as the most important attribute that a project manager can have. Developing that leadership comes from the application of the discipline of project management.
Qualities of a Project Manager Leader
Leadership is, in fact, the essence of project management. Management in this context is a misnomer, project managers provide project leadership, and as leaders, they should have the following attributes.
- Extraordinary communication skills
- Problem solver
Leaders understand their constituents.
*Stakeholder: An individual, group, or organization that may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project, program or portfolio.
That being the case, the project manager must understand what each stakeholder, individual, or group requires in terms of communication and involvement in the project. Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization, having different needs and different levels of involvement. To that end, the project manager develops a picture of the stakeholder group or individual, including influence with respect to the project, attitude, and decision-making authority.
Categories of stakeholders include the following.
- Primary stakeholders—those who are directly impacted by the project
- Secondary stakeholders—those who are indirectly impacted by the project
- Key stakeholders—may be primary or secondary, and are those who have significant influence or interest in the project
Questions to consider when identifying stakeholders are as follows.
- To which stakeholder category do they belong (primary, secondary, key stakeholder)?
- What is their interest and influence level (high/low)?
- What is their support level (support, neutral, against)?
- What do they need from us?
- How do they want to receive information and communication?
The graphic below is from the Stakeholder Management Plan template located in the Files section of this course.
A leader must be an effective and skilled communicator. Project communications management involves the timely gathering of project information and presenting that information in a manner usable by the project stakeholders. Accurate and timely communication about all facets of the project goals, scope, planning, status, and team performance is critical for project success. Projects are units of change within an organization. So, project communication is analogous to communicating change: every change has a sender and a receiver, what a sender says and what a receiver hears can be two different messages. See the illustration below.
Understanding the process shapes the nature and quality of the communication to be included in the project communication plan. Understanding that your stakeholders are the receivers of communication impacts the content and nature of the messages. As you can see, the stakeholder management plan is critical for effective communications management because it defines the methods and frequency of messaging to specific receivers.
Project Communication Plan
Effective communication is more than making documents available. Communication can be broken down into four distinct types.
- Formal Written: Documents used to solve complex issues, such as the formal project plan, including the charter, scope, and contracts
- Formal Verbal: Formal presentations to senior management or to the project’s stakeholders
- Informal Written: Items as memos, e-mails, and personal note
- Informal Verbal: Meetings and general conversations
Because so much of a project manager’s time is devoted to communications, it is important for a project manager to understand when various methods are appropriate. In this way, the project manager can better improve the project’s communications. Here is a look at the communication plan matrix that you will be using for your project to include communication vehicle, target audience, description/purpose, frequency, sender, distribution vehicle, internal/external, and comments.
GettaByte Software—Stakeholder Management and Communication Plan
Let’s visit the GettaByte team. Like you, they are working on their stakeholder management and communication plan. You will complete their plans for your assignment this week.
Let’s take a look.
Ima: Before we get started, we need to know who our stakeholders are?
Hugh: I thought stakeholders were vampire hunters! Haha! Get it?
Ima: Very Funny. A stakeholder is anyone who is impacted positively or negativly by the project.
Kent: The most important group- our customers are stakeholders!
Hugh: The CEO, CFO, Accounts Payable are all stakeholders.
Nonia: The team, all of us are stakeholders!
Hugh: The billing staff and accounting are all stakeholders.
Nonia: The sales team are definely stakeholders. Their commissions depend on billing.
Ima: Perfect, lets take a look at our stakeholders management plan.
Ima: Now, we are going to have to refine it so we can us it to make communication management decisions.
Ima: Now, for our communication plan….
Hugh: I know how to do that… I talk all the time!
Ima: That’s not exactly it…. We have to decide what kinds of comminication we are going to use, how ofiten and who are audience will be.
Ima: We can use our stakeholder management plan to make decisions about communication. I’ve Already taken a stab at it. What do you think?
Ima: Well, that’s it. We have a Charter, Scope, Schedule, Risk Management Plan, Stakeholder Management and Communications Plans!!
The Agile Project Leader
The Agile methodology is one of collaboration, and it is up to its leadership to build a collaborative structure within the culture of the team.
Conceptually, collaboration was enhanced by team members working from a communal conference table. From a practical perspective, it may not be possible. Most teams are distributed, including members from different geographic locations, cultures, and countries. In spite of that reality, a collaborative spirit can be built through various techniques.
The team meets daily for a few minutes for a meeting known as a standup. It was called this because teams in the same location stand and have a quick health check. Standups are 5 to 15 minutes in length. It is a very simple format. Each team member reports on what was accomplished the day before, what is planned today, and what obstacles may impede team progress. It is the responsibility of the project manager who plays the role of scrum master, team leader, or product owner, to find ways to remove those impediments.
You’ve heard it: 90% of the project manager’s job is communication. The project manager is the source of truth for the project. Let’s look at what some practitioners say about communication on Project Management Central.
“I see poor communication skills one of the main reasons for project failure, however, communication skills in and of itself is too broad of a term to be meaningful in modifying behavior. From my perspective, I consider poor communication as a series of missteps (read that missed steps) from the beginning of the project onward.” (Brian Halverson Schofield, WI, USA)
“A good PM is a good communicator, I think communication is one of the most important areas in managing projects. Lack of communication can lead to disaster.” (Kevin Drake Project Management, University of Western Australia)
“I took a project over many (many, many) years ago primarily due to poor communications between the PM and the team. The PM was exceptional at managing senior stakeholder expectations but with the team provided little guidance and expected that the team members had telepathy. Over the course of a few weeks, expectation gaps widened and the PM was facing an open mutiny. When I was dropped in, through a combination of active listening but also over communicating, I was able to regain the trust and credibility of the team.” (Kiron Bondale, World Class Productivity, Inc.)
The project manager is also a leader, often without authority, using influence and great communication to push a team to greater heights of performance and productivity. Here are some comments from Project Management Central.
“I believe that being a leader is a mindset, and in order to be a valuable project manager, you must be able to lead your team to success. Part of being a leader is honing your soft skills and understanding people fully. ” (Melissa Gottschalk, Author)
“Leadership is a direction, management is a tool. Leadership strategic, management is tactical. Both are equally important and none are subset of each other. Both can be learned. No title or position is required to be a leader or a manager.
…You cannot manage a project without leadership qualities—knowing a big picture, without focusing to the end benefits—outputs. And off course, you need management skills to manage the projects—scope, schedule, communication, cost management etc.” (Alok Anadkat, Senior Project Manager, IBM Canada)
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