|MBA 513 – Project Cost Management | |Project Manager: Manager or Leader? | |How the collaboration of management and leadership skills makes a great Project Manager. |
| Ednaline Concepcion | |12/12/2009 |
To Be or Not To Be…A Successful Project Manager
There is no question that one of (if not) the most important aspect ultimately determining of project success and completion is the cooperative efforts of those who are serving the project. It is important to also know that the project’s success isn’t necessarily correlated with the performance from the project manager. The success (or failure) of the contracted obligation results from an array of contributions from tiered levels of management, including functional managers, customers, suppliers, and contractors. Let’s compare the project manager to the director of a movie. The finished product cannot just be credited solely to the work of the director. Without the help of the screenwriter, actors, technical crew, makeup, wardrobe, editors, producers and so on, the film would just be idle idea. Understanding and appreciating the dynamics of the supporting forces allows managers and professionals alike to better understand how vital it is to how a well-rounded support system. This can only be achieved through proper delegation of roles and responsibilities within project. As the director, the project manager must recognize the depth of this responsibility and properly orchestrate the necessary means to efficiently and effectively carry out the tasks at hand.
Managing vs. Leading
In a perfect world, the project managers would only adhere to the implementation of the project plan. In a realistic world, that is not always the case. Throughout the course of project implementation, barriers are likely to barnacle in and around the project itself, positively or negatively impacting its productivity. Variables include the temperament of the project participants (e.g. getting testy) lack of communication on project direction, disagreements with the delegation of roles and responsibilities, and other unavoidable circumstances (e.g. technical glitches, project rescheduling). It is the job of the project manager to get the project back on track, to realign the framework of the forecasted mission.
In order to minimize changes throughout the process, managers need to command a sense of order and stability by adhering to their objectives, designing structures and procedures that will maximize potential and minimize limitations, monitor their results against plans, and take corrective action when necessary. Leadership involves recognizing and articulating the need to significantly alter the direction and operation of the project with minimal changes (Gray 2008). This can be done by conveying trust toward the new direction, and emphasizing the need for teamwork to acclimate to any changes inspired by realignment of the project in accordance to newly realized objectives. According to the Small Business Administration, managers “view work as an enabling process, establish strategies and makes decisions by combining people and ideas” while leaders “first use their vision to excite people and only then develop choices which give those images substance” (SBA 2009).
Project managers need to recognize the amount of leadership provided within a project does not always guarantee successful project completion. Well-defined projects that encounter no significant modifications require little leadership (Gray 2008). When a project adopts a higher degree of uncertainty throughout the course of its completion, a...
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