Delivering a Project as Organizational Development
By Eric Veal
Managing projects in enterprises isn’t easy. Someone has to have focus and sometimes focus is very hard to find. Defining goals and objectives can be easy but getting buy-in from the people that are required to implement the plan is again not always easy or possible. The project manager is left, then, in a position where he/she must continue to ‘plod along’ and lead that thing until that thing is real; or give that thing up, or give that thing, successively, to others.
Making forward motion. In this article I argue that the basic job of the project manager is to delegate and create forward motion. The project manager needs to promote their project and tweak it as necessary to finish according to the people involved, gracefully. One goal of a project, therefore, is to do it in such a way that you have a good core team at the end of it, meaning you have freed up resources for your general use and that they support you and you support them (symbiosis).
Deliver to the performance context. In total, it is my opinion that the project manager must create the project that the stakeholders will accept and will allow him and the team to see another day or another project (move to program-level status). This means creating a performance context and set of expectations that are beneficial to the performance of the team and business (there is a shared vision).
An example. I recently did a project for Microsoft Xbox where we enabled a key account management function (AutoRenewal management) on xbox.com for the 15 million users worldwide. There were a lot of stakeholders involved with the project and many pieces of leadership (technical, communication, and business measurement) were required to deliver. We have all now bonded together and have a core team that is ‘high functioning’, I believe. What this means to me is that we:
- Did it. (Delivered what we said we would)
- Are in control in operation. (Have a way of measuring and tracking what we did (Business Intelligence dashboard)), and
- Are still together and respect each other. (Have a high functioning, high communicating team that can communicate effectively and grow as required.)
A simple process for creating high-performing teams. Creating high functioning teams like this may follow a simple pattern. That pattern is:
- Choose. Pick a project, any old project
- Deliver. Do a project together with the people who will participate
- Finish. Finish that project and deliver to some larger audience
- Improve and Adjust. Figure out what worked and what didn’t in the team and project and how to react.
Concluding thoughts. Managing projects is fun when they’re good. It’s hard and it’s fun and it’s an adventure. Choose your’s wisely and keep improving. Get to that place where you have a growing team–both inside the organization and out–that continues to deliver great results into a variety of contexts!
Eric Veal, MS, MBA, PMP is a managing member at Efficitrends, a company specialized in evaluating, improving, and automating business processes. Eric has 15 years of experience planning, selling, building, applying, and supporting commercial and custom IT solutions for Fortune 500 and smaller firms. You can read more from Eric on his blog.