The project success is to large extend subject to its context

For all my project management career I’ve been moving sectors and verticals (starting from telecommunication through R&D – new product development / manufacturing electrical devices and financial services: setting up an office in Poland, suppliers consolidation,  technology (infrastructure & network), software development, different sets of content). At the same time I’ve been delivering a lot of social/educational/event projects, where strong leadership skills are required as they are based on volunteering. I cannot say that’s easy, but definitely if you have strong people skills plus you are aware of the project management process, tools and techniques you can succeed, but only on one condition: all people interested in project’s success support you.


Collaboration and engagement is a key to project success
I would like to share here the project management competency model Martin Price, the founder & CEO of EngagementWorks and the author of „Project Gathering Pace” book to be published soon, presented during New Trends in Project Management 2012 conference.
MOCs (Methodical & Operating Competences), that means the „process” necessities, essential schemas and HOCs (Human & Organisational Competences), the „engagement” necessities, vital behaviours). A complete Project Management needs integration of both MOCs & HOCs.
PM = getting things done= schemas (doing things right) x behaviours
(doing the right things)
Martin calls the players (stakeholders) and their organization that manage a project the „project regime” and I call these a project culture or context.
In projects we very often find ourselves in the situations than could not been anticipated. The situation is even more difficult for a Project Manager who does not have expertise in the field of the project or/and is new to the organisation. Therefore, in order to succeed a skilful dialogue is required. A conversation is needed from all the team members as we address uncertainties, ambiguity and controversy. The team is needed for their specialist professional contribution but also for their participation as a project community players in shaping project direction and organisation.


Martin and I discussing „project regime” during Thomson Reuters unconference in London
To succeed  in project management a deep understanding of the wider organisation structures, the process and people involved are crucial (and these come with the time of experience/length of service), but the human and social factors are even more important (people’s behaviour  sharing ideas, championing issues, taking decisions, keeping promises etc.).
Today slow economic growth, shifting global market priorities and a push for innovation all make for a very complex and risky business environment and put additional emphasis on the need for excellence in project, program and portfolio management. Research conducted with senior project management leaders on PMI’s® Global Executive Council found that the most important skill for managing today’s complex projects and programs is the ability to align the team to the vision of the project and
design the project’s organizational structure to align people and project objectives. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession ” Trends to Watch for in 2012.
I have been managing very complex projects and some of them were very successful and the other ones struggled, not because there were more difficult but because there was no social engagement and collaboration between stakeholders. The lack of skilful, spirited dialogue between people responsible for the success of the project is one the most reasons for project failure. The shift from micromanagement and looking at the project from a task perspective to team empowerment, self-organisation, self -motivation, trust, authority and ownership are the key to success of today’s complex and risky projects.

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