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Effective project leadership

Chokchai A. PMP
• What is good project leadership?

• The project team

• The project lifecycle

• Practical project planning

• Responsibility assignment matrix

• Risk, issue and change

• Stakeholder management

• Project communication

• Successful project leadership

What is good project leadership?
On your table discuss…

• What is a project?

• Agree a short definition of a

What is a project?
Projects are unique, temporary endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired
outcome. Projects bring about change
Undertaking a project is a way of achieving an objective or strategic goal.
Running a project is different to day-to-day work, often referred to as Business
As Usual (BAU)

Projects BAU
 Unique  Repetitive
 Defined start and finish  On-going
 Involve uncertainty  Based on experience
 Have a specifically  Established resources
assembled team
 Stable environment
 Dynamic environment
What is project leadership?

Project leadership is the process by which

projects are defined, planned, monitored,
controlled and delivered so that the agreed
benefits are realised
Projects bring about change, and project
leadership is recognised as the most efficient
way of managing such change
Page 2, APM Body of Knowledge – 5th Edition, APM
Current Use
• Most if not all organisations run projects
• Projects vary in size, complexity and risk
• In “mature” use in industries such as construction, IT and
• Some organisation have a clearly defined approach to
identifying, selecting, planning, running and closing projects.
This is their project management methodology
• Subject matter experts (SMEs) are often asked to perform a
project leader/Manager role with limited knowledge of best
• Many organisations yet to gain the full benefit of best practice
project leadership
On your table…

Identify as many reasons as you can for

projects failing.
Write your reasons on the flipchart
Common reasons projects fail
• Lack of clear scope of work
• Management of changes (scope creep) to the
• Not defining the project success criteria and
• Inadequate planning
• “Meddling” by senior managers, going around the
• Lack of clarity from senior leaders
• Lack of buy-in from senior leaders
• Poor estimating
• Insufficient allocation of resources
• Poor understanding of requirements
Scope & time management

• The end date often feels miles away, so

other priorities take over… then it’s all
hands to the pump in the 11th hour!

• Clarity on what is in the project…
“what’s in the box?”

• What is in scope and out of scope?

• What does finished looked like?

Good project leadership

• Agree scope of work

• Break complex project into manageable


• Control time, cost and quality

• Manage risks, issues and changes

• Manage stakeholders

• Consistent approach enables comparison across


• Run successful projects!

The project team
project roles


Project Leader

Team Members Team Members Team Members Team Members

The project sponsor
Project sponsorship is an active senior leadership role, responsible for
identifying the business need, problem or opportunity.

The sponsor ensures the project remains a viable proposition and that the
benefits are realised, resolving any issues outside the control of the project
Page 12, APM Body of Knowledge – 5th Edition, APM

Every project must have a clearly identified project sponsor. The sponsor
provides oversight, guidance and support to the project leader. The
sponsor is the business champion behind the project.

your line manager may be your sponsor

It is common for the sponsor to be unaware of their true role and there is
then a need to “manage upwards”.
The project sponsor
• Ensure the project objectives and benefits are aligned with strategic objectives

• Provide clarity on the exact scope and resulting benefits of the project

• Approve of the project proposal

• Participate in regular status reviews

• Is the point of escalation for key risks and issues that fall beyond the capabilities of
the project team to resolve

• Approve or reject change requests

• Support the project leader with stakeholder management. This is likely to include
liaising with senior stakeholders to ensure the needs of the business have been
fully considered and consensus has been reached on requirements

• Support the project leader with resource management to make sure that the project
is properly supported with appropriately skilled and available people
The project leader
The person responsible and accountable for the successful delivery of the project
Page 151, APM Body of Knowledge – 5th Edition, APM

The project leader leads and manages the project and project team and is
responsible for ensuring the scope of work is delivered within the agreed
timescale to the correct level of quality within the resource and budget
The project leader…
• Prepares the project proposal
• Identifies the required resources (and skills)
• Ensures the project objectives are clearly understood by all concerned
• Ensures the stated benefits are monitored through the project lifecycle
• Monitors change requests and assesses the impact of proposed changes
• Ensures risks & issues are assigned and actioned or escalated if required
• Highlights areas of slippage and takes action where required
• Provides timely reporting on project status to identified stakeholders, including the
project sponsor
• Ensures project team members are clearly aware of their role and responsibilities
within the project environment, including task deadlines and quality standards.
• Ensures regular progress updates are scheduled with project team members to
enable monitoring of performance against the plan
• Completes project closure documentation
The project team
• works with the project leader to develop a full and detailed task list
• commits to work plans and project schedules
• provides progress reports to the project leader
• provides functional expertise
• communicates identified risks and issues to the project leader in a timely
• provide expertise to the project leader for the assessment of change requests
• identifies impact on current organisation and processes
• communicates openly with other team members and the project leader
• Is committed to success.
 Remember that people on your project may assume they are “wearing the
same hat” as they do on a day-to-day basis, when you actually want them to
fulfil a specific project role that’s different to their BAU role
 Remember that YOU might be “wearing multiple hats”; the hat of the project
leader and the hat of a team member doing some of the actual work on the
project. So put your head above your work trench and survey the wider
landscape of your project on a regular basis (perhaps every Friday or once a
 Clearly define who is in the project team as opposed to having an interest in
the project (a stakeholder). Ensure your regular project team meetings
involve the correct participants. Perhaps establish a separate stakeholder
Project management lifecycle
Project methodology
Pre-Project Phase Project Phase Post-Project Phase

Idea Benefits

Implementation Starts





Progress Change Project


Proposal Report Request Closure

Provides Prepare as part Use if Captures
clarity on the of regular significant lessons
scope Progress Cycle change is learned
The project proposal…

• is a high level document

• gets the idea down on paper

• is a short explanation of the need for the project, an

overview of how it will be delivered, its goals and
expected benefits

• ensures everyone has the same understanding of the


• is prepared by the project leader

• protects the project leader from scope creep.

The project implementation phase
• This is when work starts on producing the project
• This phase may consist of a number of sub-phases or
• The focus should now be on project monitoring and
• The project leader will be involved in:
• progress tracking
• issue, risk and change management
• project reporting
• document management
• team communications
• team management.
Tracking project progress
Fortnightly progress cycle

Start of cycle Team members undertake work on deliverables End of cycle

Issues, risks and actions identified, logged,
assessed. Owners and deadlines defined.
START OF CYCLE Any change requests are logged, assessed and What does the project
What does the project submitted for approval. leader collect?
leader communicate?  Updates on what has
 Planned tasks and their Continuous stakeholder management been actually achieved
deadlines versus plan
 Risk reviewed and  Updates on actual
mitigation deadlines resources and costs
 Issues and actions incurred versus forecast
deadlines  Updates on progress
against risks, issues,
 Issue highlight report
Project closure phase
• May move to the closure phase at any time, not just “at
the end”. The project should be closed if the business
case is no longer valid
• Completion and filing / archiving of all project
• Formal handover to support organisation
• Lessons learned fed back into future project briefing
• Completion of the project closure report
• Handover of benefits tracking to clearly identified
…and onto the next project!
project planning
Project Planning

The nicest thing about NOT planning is

that failure comes as a complete
surprise and is not preceded by a period
of worry and depression
Sir John Harvey Jones
The planning process

Estimate durations and

logical sequence

Build detailed structured plan

Project team develops high based on logical WBS
level “post-it note” plan

Ensure plan has buy-in of

Refine plan & save as
deliverable owners, including
baseline once approved,
external dependencies
Work breakdown structure
New payroll system for
selection of data training of comms to testing of
software preparation staff employees software

Define requirements

Review market place

Invite tenders
Complete evaluation
Submit recommendation
Establish contract with selected vendor
The post-it notes technique
• Write down deliverables & key tasks
onto post-it notes
• Put them in lifecycle order
• Show dependencies / relationships
between them
• This provides a high level roadmap
for your project
 Once the scope is understood build a high level post-it note
 Use this plan to define phases, deliverables and key
 Plan complex deliverables in further detail by identifying tasks
 Plan can then be entered into Microsoft Excel or Microsoft
 Everyone should be bought into the plan
 At end of the planning stage the project plan should be base-
 A regular progress cycle should be established (often weekly)
 Then the updated current plan should be regularly compared
to the baseline plan

 The project schedule is a tool to help the project team run the
 The plan must reflect best known information at that time
 If uncertainty exists on longer term tasks (planning horizon) plan
up to that point in detail, then schedule another planning
session. Often useful when results of investigations or research
define the next stage of a project
 Every task should have an owner
 Don’t lose site of the critical path
In your group …

Develop Your High Level Project Plan

 Write down your project deliverables onto post-it
 Stick them on the paper
 Put them in lifecycle order
 Show dependencies / relationships between
Responsibility Assignment Matrix
A diagram or chart showing assigned responsibilities for elements of work. It is
created by combining the work breakdown structure with the organisational
breakdown structure Page 242, APM Body of Knowledge – 6th Edition, APM

Clarity on who is doing what on a project is critical to success. Identifying the

person responsible for completing each task or deliverable, along with an
agreed deadline, is a fundamental part of successful project leadership

Rather than just adding a name against each task, the project team can
undertake a more sophisticated solution. This involves identifying not just the
person who will “do” the task, but others as well

A Responsibility Assignment Matrix provides a mechanism to identify these

Recommended CARS RAM
Code CARS Summary Details
Individuals to be consulted or informed as part
In the loop or keep
C Communicate informed
of the successful completion of the deliverable.
Often the end user or client.
Does this piece of work need approval? Who
The buck stops approves the completed deliverable to ensure
A Approver here it attains the appropriate level of quality?
Could be more than one person.
The individual who actually completes the
R Responsible The primary doer task. This person is responsible for action /
implementation of the deliverable.
Individuals that work on the deliverable
Work alongside
S Support the primary doer
alongside the primary doer. These people
support the primary doer.
An Example CARS Matrix
Project Technical HVAC Electrical
Task Architect Client
Leader Lead Contractor Contractor

Write project brief R S A

Build project plan R C S A

Document technical
Complete technical

Complete site survey R C C

List tasks in this column
and project team along
risk, issue and change
Risk and issue definitions
A risk is something that might happen
…an uncertain event or set of circumstances that, should it
occur, will have an effect on the achievement of one or more

An issue is something that has happened

Risk management is the process that allows individual risk
events and overall risk to be understood and managed
proactively, optimising success by minimising threats and
maximising opportunities
Risk management process

Risk identification
the project Risk assessment

Risk planning
Identifying risk

 Brainstorming
 Prompt lists / check lists (lessons learned)
 Previous experience
 Assumptions analysis
Risk assessment
At it’s simplest score 1 – 3 (low, medium, high) for both:
 Likelihood
 Impact on project

Rate the risk for proximity

 How soon before the risk could happen (turn into an issue)?
short, medium or long term
Risk planning
 Avoid (often significant impact on project)

 Transfer (insurance)

 Mitigation (reduce probability and impact of risk)

 Accept

 Contingency (create action plans)

If there is no clear way forward ESCALATE!

Better to escalate early than try and bury later!
Line manager is first point of escalation in many cases.
Team activity
Total Risk
Risk How Likely? Impact? Proximity So What Should We Do?
Issue management
 An Issue is something that HAS happened

 Risks can turn into issues, or an issue may arise

 Maintain Issue Log

 Identify person to resolve issue

If no clear way forward ESCALATE!

Better to escalate early than try and bury later!
Issue process
Project team
Issue identification must
critical issues
beyond their
Issue assessment
control – line
manager first

Solution development

Issue management
Importance of change control
 A change is a modification to any aspect of the project

 The project scope (and business case) must be

protected against change

 Change is inevitable

 Mechanism for allocating contingency

 Protects you against scope creep!

What is change control?
 Change to scope, approach, timescales, costs, quality,

 Change is very likely

 Must have a well defined starting point…what are we changing


 Recognise other senior managers may interfere & challenge

“behind closed doors”.

“..let me assess the impact of this PROPOSED

change and let you know the consequences….”
Stakeholder management
Who are project stakeholders?

Project Stakeholders are people or organisations who have

a vested interest in the environment, performance and / or
outcome of the project

o Not just internal

o Not just those directly involved in the project

o Not just senior management

Examples of stakeholders
• Sponsor • Sub-contractors

• Senior Managers • Vendors

• End Users • Business Partners

• Customers • External Regulatory Bodies

• Project Team • Government Bodies

• Suppliers • Local Residents

• Media • Pressure Groups

• Unions • Resource Managers

What is stakeholder management?
Stakeholder management is the systematic identification,
analysis and planning of actions to communicate with,
negotiate with and influence stakeholders

• Important part of the weaponry of the Project

• Key to the Project Managers career
• Perceived as a soft skill
Stakeholder mapping

Keep satisfied & meet Key players

High their needs Focus effort on this group
Engage & consult on areas of Involve in governance /
interest decision making
Look to increase their interest
Engage & consult regularly

Least important Keep informed, show

Inform through emails, newsletters & consideration
general comms Make use of interest through
Low May look to increase their interest involvement
Consult on areas of interest
Potential supporter / goodwill
Low Level of Interest High
Stakeholder assessment
What is their perceived view of the project?

 Positive, Negative or Neutral?

 Use positive peers to influence negative or neutral peers

What communication methods should be used with each group?

 Emails, monthly reports, weekly meetings, face-to-face

Team activity
Keep satisfied & meet their needs Key players


Least important Keep informed, show


Low Level of Interest High

Project reporting
Regular formal update on progress:

• Commentary on what has been achieved and forecast

activities for next period

• High level schedule overview (Gantt chart or milestone


• Summary of progress to date and forecast progress

• Summary of outstanding or key risks and issues

• Summary of pending changes

• Summary of key decisions to date

Communications plan
• Identify who requires communication (stakeholders)

• Identify appropriate communications mechanisms, such as:

• Progress Meeting
• Project Board Meeting
• Highlight Report
• Monthly Email Update
• Stakeholder Group Meeting
• Weekly Face to Face Meeting
• Fortnightly Telephones Update

• Define who is responsible, approves and receives each communication

• Define the audience

• Define the requirements

• Build a communications schedule

• Find the responsible team member

• Define the medium of communication

Team activity
How will this be Who will When does this
Stakeholder What Information do They Need? How often?
provided? provide it? comms start?
Successful project leadership
• Planning Phase
 Agree scope of work
 Who is involved? Identify the Project Team
 With core team , build the high level plan
 Expand into a detailed plan
 Forecast resource and cost requirements
 Complete CARS for resources
 Undertake risk workshop
 Identify project stakeholders
 Develop communications plan

• Implementation Phase
 Establish progress cycle
 Produce regular Status Report
 Use Change Control Form to manage requests for changes
Good Luck