10/06/2008 by Robert Sutz
In order to meet time and budget requirements in complex projects and to accomplish projects successfully, clear leadership is required involving all project team members. At this point, software and Internet-based leadership systems are a great support.
It´s no secret to project managers, portfolio managers and people in charge of planning: According to new statistics, about 60 per cent of all projects are not successfully completed. „Not successfully“ in this context does not imply that the project failed altogether. The point is that the project management did not succeed in achieving the goals related to time, cost and quality. What are the reasons? Or to put it the other way round: Which are the factors leading to a successfully completed implementation of a planned project?
Managing a project means leading a project
The factors enabling successful implementation of a planned project are manifold and largely depend on the particular project. But there is one aspect which is crucial to success or failure of ALL projects: targeted and efficient leadership. This being accepted, is makes sense to give some thought to what leadership should be like, and how it should be implemented. Who has which competencies? Which methods are used for leadership? At which intervals do the responsible people meet? How does the management of pending items look like? Or is there maybe an explicit leadership methodology to be followed?
In order to support those in charge of planning, project managers as well as business managers in their daily work, so-called leadership systems are starting to get more commonly used. These systems systematically map leadership and leadership tasks related to a particular project. And, more importantly all leadership information is stored in a Leadership System, contextually interlinked and prepared to support the needs of particular target group.
The leadership system maps the leadership process
Usually, a person responsible for project planning works with a number of supporting software programs such as ERP systems, office applications, collaborative environment and project management solutions. As a result, the leadership information is often widely scattered in different systems making efficient and targeted tracking of data very difficult, for example when it comes to reproducing the reasons for a certain decision or a time delay.
How then can the process of leading, the action of leadership, be mapped and sustainably documented? In contrast to the different programs from which the leader gathers data and facts needed for decisions, the leadership system systematically maps the process of leading the project planning and answers, among others, the following questions: At which point of the project are we? How can we quantify progress and recognize, define and estimate possible risks and bottlenecks? How do we – in accordance with our particular Leadership Methods – usefully and permanently map changes, requests, decisions, events, risks or measures, all in the same place? As it is the leadership meetings that best reflect how leadership is implemented, leadership systems usually offer a variety of automated functions related to the planning, calling, conducting and documentation of meetings.
In the follow-up article Efficient and Targeted Project Execution (Part 2) I will focus on leadership meetings, proactive risk management and the question if there is a way of quantifying leadership.