Our economy is shifting towards project-based operations. Over the years, many new methods of operating and managing have been discovered. There is a consensus that this model will be a more efficient way to deliver products and value to the marketplace and help us tackle the biggest challenges of our time.
Antonio Nieto Rodriguez was the former chairman and professor of Project Management Institute and is the novelist of the Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook. How to Launch, Lead and Sponsor Successful Projects. According to Nieto-Rodriguez, many factors lead us to a project economy rather than an operation-focused one. A product’s lifecycle might now be six months, whereas it used to take six years. This constant innovation and need to change has led many companies to adopt a project management model.
But what does it mean to work for this kind of economy or organization? Nieto Rodriguez shared some tips to help you be a project manager in this model.
Link the project with the overall business strategy.
Nieto Rodriguez said to me that “Project management was a little neglected.” It is possible to simplify it, make it more user-friendly, and be more valuable to leaders and individuals. Another way to accelerate its adoption is making sure it aligns with your overall business strategy.
He suggested that projects be chosen directly related to the company’s higher purpose. He stated that projects are not “islands” that need to be built, and then that’s it. Projects can be more lucky if they are integrated into the culture and structure of an organization. Suppose there’s no connection between the company’s goals and the project’s contribution to them, the chances of failure increase dramatically.
Establish projects and teams to achieve success.
Overscheduling their team is one of the most common mistakes project managers make. Although it may seem surprising to some managers, Nieto Rodriguez suggests limiting your team’s involvement to one project. This can help people avoid becoming overwhelmed and encourage them to choose the project that they are most passionate about. It is also a way to get your team members involved in the best possible projects.
“The volunteers who are most involved in a project’s success are the ones who have been engaged. He stated that if you are launching a project but no one is interested in volunteering, then it’s probably a bad project to move forward with.
Assign one project to each team member and help them prioritize. Managers need to understand the effects of multiple projects on employees. “Senior leaders don’t grasp the complexity of projects. They need more courage when making decisions and choosing where they should focus.
For project managers to keep their team motivated and on track, they must have well-developed soft skills. We have seen a rise in the prominent of these soft skills over recent years. Even with highly talented members, many a project or team is doomed to failure if there isn’t enough leadership to harness their potential.
Project Management is not linear.
There is no clear end, middle, or beginning to project management. It’s easy to believe that project management is like a game of Chutes and Ladders. There are two possible outcomes: you could hit a roadblock or face an unexpected divergence. Nieto Rodriguez says that soft skills are essential for project managers.
“Transparency is essential when things are going sour, being able to say to your team: We have a problem, and we must work extra hard. Honesty will build trust in your team and help you build resilience. Projects are always exciting because there will be difficult times.
You can think of it as an internal gig economy.
As the gig economy has transformed how people move, order food, find lodging, and many other aspects of their lives, project-based organizational management will require flexibility and willingness for change from leaders and executives in established companies. Nieto Rodriguez said that while this will be a challenge, it will also help us get to the future.
“I recommend that you choose the top five projects within your organization and allow them to be free. Please give them the freedom to leave your company and give them a dedicated team sponsored by an executive. Allow the team to be focused on value, delivery, and experimentation. It’s a difficult task because many leaders are not used to it.
As we were about to end our discussion, he pondered whether current leaders are ready–or able–to make these changes. Is it possible they aren’t prepared? “Maybe, we need to make room for future generations,” he suggested. While it is uncertain whether this project-based approach will prove to be the only option or a viable alternative, there are no doubts about its disruptive and exciting impact on global businesses.