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Power and Politics in Project Management

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					                             Organizing Projects for Success
                                   By Vijay K. Verma

Project success or failure depends upon human resources:
    People influence a project’s success or failure
    Project’s problems can only be solved by people

Typical roles of project managers:
    Interpersonal roles as a figurehead, leader and liaison
    Informational roles for assembling, selecting, monitoring and disseminating
       information and acting as a project spokesperson
    Decisional roles for allocating resources, exploring new opportunities, handling
       disturbances and conflicts, negotiating, analyzing situations, setting priorities, and
       making sound and timely decisions to encourage creativity and progress

PM responsibilities during planning phase:
   Establish (with client) project objectives and success criteria
   Identify stakeholders and project requirements
   Plan for integration of interfaces and interrelationship of tasks, organization and
      hardware
   Identify risk areas and develop a risk management strategy
   Relate project’s contribution towards overall organizational strategy
   Develop integrated Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), schedule and budget
   Assemble resources from a variety of sources (internal and external)
   Organize team into integrated whole
   Delegate appropriate tasks and ensure project control and adherence to project
      plan
   Communicate across interfaces; ensure team members communicate effectively

PM responsibilities during producing phase:
   Execute the plan, solve problems, and remove roadblocks
   Direct and influence project to assure interfaces are recognized and tasks are
      completed and integrated as “whole”
   Monitor, review, and update project plan continually
   Build team, establish team norms, team roles and environment of maximum
      harmony and minimum conflict
   Motivate and assure jobs are organized to provide built-in potential motivators
   Resolve conflicts quickly and amicably
   Set priorities and negotiate trade-offs
   Forecast end results
   Ensure adequate and timely completion of project records and documentation
   Identify training, testing, and commissioning programs to achieve smooth, full
      operation on schedule




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Skills inventory of a PM:
     Leadership/Interpersonal
           o Visionary, credible, action-oriented self-starter
           o Understanding of organization; ability to manage in an unstructured work
               environment
           o Communication (oral, written); provides clear, compelling directions
           o Building multi-disciplinary teams and inspiring high team performance
               thru motivation, collaborative problem solving and effective conflict
               management
           o Ability to achieve higher visibility and priority; gaining upper
               management support and commitment
           o Sensitivity to personal goals, professional needs and growth opportunities
     Project Management/Administration
           o Planning and organizing multi-functional programs
           o Communicating effectively to expedite project communications and work
               with other organizations
           o Estimating and negotiating resources; attracting and holding quality
               people
           o Scheduling multi-disciplinary activities and preparing budgets and cash
               flow
           o Monitoring and reporting work status, progress, performance and
               forecasting to completion
           o Understanding of policies, operating procedures, regulations and concerns
               of external stakeholders
     Technical
           o Technical credibility, understanding of system perspective and “big
               picture”
           o Understanding of technology, market trends, product applications and
               ability to manage these effectively
           o Communicating with technical personnel, unifying technical team and
               encouraging creativity
           o Facilitating trade-offs and assisting in problem solving
           o Integrating technical, business and human objectives and resources
           o Understanding engineering and technical tools and methods

Common statements and their impacts:
   “Why don’t you…”—negative
   “What if we…”—positive
   “I hate it when…”—negative
   “Wouldn’t it be better if…”—positive
   “John always says that…”—negative
   “I have heard John say that…”—positive
   “Nothing of good quality gets done around here.”—absolute
   “Sometimes we’ve had problems getting good quality work done here.”—
     nonabsolute
   “We must do it this way.”—absolute


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      “Here is an idea worth considering…”—nonabsolute

   Project functional interface:
       Project manager
              o What is to be done?
              o When will the task be done?
              o Why will the task be done?
              o How much time and money is available to do the task?
              o How well has the total project been done?
       Functional manager
              o How will the task be done?
              o Where will the task be done?
              o Who will do the task?
              o How well has the functional input been integrated into the project?

Main steps of the organizing process:
       1. Review project goals and develop conceptual planning
       2. Establish major tasks required to reach planned goals
       3. Subdivide major tasks into sub-task or activities
       4. Assign specific responsibilities to individuals
       5. Provide necessary resources
       6. Design appropriate organizational relationships
       7. Evaluate results of organizational strategy

PMs should delegate:
       Routines (to get out of comfort zones)
       Tasks that require technical expertise (to offer challenges)
       What someone else can do better (to increase morale)
       Some enjoyable things to others (to motivate)
       Tasks or challenges to vary the routine of those who have boring jobs
       Activities that will allow people to cross-train one another so that they can
         manage their day-to-day crises (to increase self-confidence)
       Projects involving the critical, visible issues of quality, quantity, cost and
         timeliness to self-managed project teams or self-directed teams

What should not be delegated:
   Long range planning (although you should involve others)
   Selection of key team players
   Responsibility for monitoring team’s key project or key function
   Task of motivating fellow team members (people value how much the leader
      cares for them)
   Evaluation of team members (performance appraisals)
   Opportunity to reward team members
   Rituals such as groundbreaking ceremonies and celebrations
   Touchy, personal matters, or crises


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      Items that set precedents or create future policies

Guidelines for effective delegation:
    Explain why the tasks are being delegated and what is their relative importance to
       the project, larger projects and to organizational goals
    Establish mutually agreed upon results and performance standards related to tasks
    Delegate in terms of objectives rather than procedures. To encourage creativity,
       give people freedom to pursue tasks their own way (but establish parameters or
       limits)
    Give team members authority necessary to accomplish the tasks
    Ensure acceptance from the delegatee. Build team members’ confidence in the
       use of the delegated authority
    Provide continuous support, training, and guidance to assist in the satisfactory
       completion of delegated tasks
    Demonstrate your confidence and trust in the abilities of project team members by
       encouraging new ideas and minimizing their fear of failure
    Uncover any obstacles to delegation and develop a plan to minimize the effect of
       these obstacles
    Remember that people produce the best results when they are having fun and
       doing what they WANT to do rather than what they HAVE to do. Thus, when
       possible, delegate tasks on the basis of employee interests
    Facilitate team members’ access to information, people and departments that are
       not normally available to them. This will demonstrate the PM’s sincerity and
       confidence in team members and improve task performance




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