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Do you have the right project manager for the right project?

Do you have the right project manager for the right project?

Project management can be a complicated business. Each project is unique and experienced Project Managers will get a gut feeling about how the project will proceed, but it is good to be able to look at a project from a logical perspective.

If the business is clear on what they want, and how to achieve it, the business case is strong, and the outcomes are understood and accepted by most of the organisation, then you need a good Executor. The Executor will drive the project changes through the organisation, using a structured and disciplined framework informed by a comprehensive business case. The Executor will follow the strategy, deliver clear benefits and stay within the boundaries of the project.

While it would be wonderful to have such certainty with all projects, there are some where the business pursues opportunities that lie outside the existing strategic boundaries. These “green fields” opportunities are untested and while the changes may be very beneficial to the business there is an obvious risk that the project may not be successful. For this sort of project, you need a prophet, who can articulate the “grand vision” with support from the leadership team. They need to be able to convince the organisation to make a leap of faith and provide a roadmap to the future.

As for the gambler style of project manager, they flourish with projects that are part of the overall business strategy but lack trustworthy data or evidence that the project will be successful. Some digital programmes will fall into this category. Sometimes the project may go under the radar until there is enough proof that the business outcomes can be achieved. The gambler is willing to work in this type of environment, essentially knowing that the opportunity the project pursues is a bet.

Lastly the expert project manager is best where a project challenges existing strategy. They have solid evidence that the project should succeed but rely on the business members listening to their advice. The expert can analyse and articulate well-supported arguments for change and the business has the capability and foresight to act on their guidance. This article from the Harvard Business Review provides an outline of each of the styles, and examples where the style of project manager has been successful in a range of organisations.

At Zephyr we are very aware of the need to find the right person for the role. If you are looking for a project manager of any style give us a ring, we have a wide range of skilled people on our books.

Posted on: July 14, 2019Pamela Yates