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Leadership and Project Management
By Rodger Oren

The topic of leadership is a lengthy subject, ranging from academic research to published works and articles. The discussion of leadership can be found in Greek and Roman texts, as well as works in the new millennia. In the project management field, however, leadership has been a sleeping giant, which is just emerging as a topic of research and publication.

Project management material in the 20th century consisted of work investigating the mechanics of the process of managing a temporary endeavor. The items of concern were: (1) cost, (2) schedule, and (3) resources. Later work recognized the need to incorporate deliverables, or scope into the project equation. The author finds these items to be the “hard” aspects of managing a project, subject to analysis, with a spreadsheet or other computer software package.

Effective administration of these project factors is not enough to guarantee success. Project managers need to be skilled in “soft” areas, such as change management, emotional intelligence, and leadership. The leader needs to have experience as a project manager, and to recognize how the needs of the project change over the life of the effort.

Leader behaviors will consist of a task or relationship focus. Task focused leaders will keep an eye on the mechanics of the project, and seek to drive their team toward achieving a project that has positive schedule, budget and deliverable outcomes. Relationship leaders seek to achieve team harmony through consensus building, and to communicate with their external stakeholders, such as the project sponsor and executive committee.

The successful leader recognizes how their style-orientation will change over the life of the project. During the early phases of the work, the leader will score high on relationship factors, as the need to sell, tell and motivate others is paramount. In the middle part of the project, the leader will concentrate on task factors, such as monitoring cost, schedule, resource and deliverables. At the final third of the project, the leadership style will oscillate between both that task and relationship leader behaviors, as the need to monitor the project continues in its importance and the added need of obtaining additional assistance during project completion and closeout occurs.

With over 24 years of experience in program and project management, Rodger Oren has managed diverse teams in multi-million dollar efforts creating mission-critical applications, for domestic and international settings. He currently functions as a Director of Application Development and as an Interim Chief Information Systems Security Officer for a Healthcare Organization. He helps to oversee a facilities management contract of $200M, affecting 1.2 million people, delivering over $7B in Medicaid services in 2009.

He has functioned as a Program Manager with a Fortune 100 organization, and assisted non-profit organizations in strategic activities. He is a certified project management professional (PMP), a contributor to the rewrite of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), and a volunteer on the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) committee. He has participated in conferences on topics in Unified Modeling Language (UML), spoken on Project Management matters, critiqued books, and is an advisory panel member for a computer magazine.

He was a professor at a College and University, teaching Technology Management and Information Technology materials. He was a Principal Consultant for a boutique firm where work in compliance and risk assessment was the major topical areas of focus for the group. Email Rodger: roren@mindspring.com

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