Seventhman Blog

The Fine Line Between Project Managers and Project Leaders

"project manager"There are no bad projects, only bad management. While I would love to debate on this line with a fellow entrepreneur over a cup of our favorite brew, it made me think of what really caused a project failure.  Is it really about lack of management.. or leadership?  While mistakes can often be time-consuming and costly to deal with, many projects often take longer to complete than what was expected.  When your project manager cannot consistently deliver on time and within budget, you begin to wonder:  Is it the people, the methods, the tools – or.. all?  While creating your own business may seem like a dream come true, know that in the rat race of the business world, your team is the greatest investment you can ever have.

Looking Through the Eyes of a Successful Project Manager

While I’d rather call them ‘project leaders’, a good project manager is someone whose passion for the job reflects in his/her every action.  This enthusiasm is highly contagious that it inspires the entire team.  Experience leading people to succeed is just one of the prerequisites.  The best project managers around have the gift of foresight enabling them to anticipate issues before they even happen.  They listen closely at what is going on right now, analyze things to the last minute detail, and communicate every milestone clearly to everyone involved.  They organize each goals to make sure work is done one step at a time.  The only difference perhaps is that great project managers trust on others to be successful.  Everything is about team work; not a one-man team.

Project Management Mistakes Do Happen

For the sake of the argument that ‘nobody’s perfect’, the hardest thing to do perhaps is admitting a mistake when it is done.  It is not just skill set that defines good management, but people skills as well.  This is why it is important to have a balance – from drafting realistic timelines, being flexible to change and ideas, consistent and clear communication, having an organized system to track progress, involving the team behind the project.. to being transparent.  Above all, that person needs to respect and trust every player to do their best.  Meetings can be noisy, no doubt, and it is the project manager’s job to stay engaged and motivate even the most shy of introverts to participate in the process.

Quantifying Success Through Cost Effective Innovation

Staying ahead of the innovation curve is a tough challenge for business owners.  Having worked in the IT field before transitioning to the business world, I’d say that failures do happen because the CEO has a different concept of success vs. that of the project manager.  This is why it is crucial to measure the success rate of a project by knowing if it is within schedule, budget and scope.  In the end, the quality of work will be the silent testament to it all.  All that effort done where the business landscape is concerned may be futile if you don’t have a blueprint to follow.  Project managers can always choose to keep the team happy, or struggle in misery.

And if you ever have an awesome project manager right now, perhaps it’s time to give that person your appreciation.  It doesn’t cost much to say ‘Thanks for a job well done!’  The reward doesn’t have to be monetary all the time.

 

Related Readings:

Bridging Outsourcing and Innovation in the 21st Century
Innovation: Managing Risks and Portfolios Explained
Managing Virtual Teams: Five Keys to Success