Project managers come in all shapes and sizes. They come with different experiences, skills, and strengths. But they are often treated as a one-size-fits-all resource. They’re not. There are four types of project and as many types of project leadership.
We need project leaders. Project managers that inspire and motivate. Project managers who play to their skills and strengths.
Do a search on project management training, and you’ll find that most of the courses listed talk about methodologies, roles and responsibilities, project planning, documentation, reporting and so on.
A few mention communication skills and team building.
And fewer still describe the project leader.
When I think about someone who consistently delivers on projects, I don’t think of the times they produced a great Gantt chart or the quality of their progress reports.
No, I think about their qualities, attitudes, and behaviours. Their tenacity. The way they act, and the way they inspire and motivate people: their project leadership skills.
While I’m not knocking the need for a disciplined approach to project management processes (they are important) I do think we place too much importance in methods and certifications over the soft skills needed when delivering change.
Sending someone on a five-day course doesn’t make a project manager. Nor does a standard document and templates guarantee success.
Projects continue to fail. They fail to meet the needs of the business, and they fail to come in on time. More often that not, they cost too much.
Is there is a mismatch between what people perceive to be important and what works? I think so.
What we need is project leaders!
Projects are vehicles for business change. They are key to creating benefit, and clearly, project management is a core competence for any organization implementing change.